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Amelia SanJon Gallery
Amelia Island Artists Workshop
Sandra Baker-Hinton
218A Ash Street., Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
904-491-8040,  904-557-1195 cell
Amelia Island Artists Workshop (for workshop schedules)

"Florida Treasures by Anthony Whiting" Exhibition will open July 10 at the Amelia SanJon Gallery on Amelia Island in the Historic District of Fernandina Beach, Florida.  Whiting's love of all nature, especially the Pelican was a perfect match with Sea Turtle loving gallery owner, Sandra Baker-Hinton.  The event also pairs with Fernandina Beach's Artrageous Art Walk, making it a festive and fun evening. 
Unconventional Convention III
The show will run through August 11.  The gallery is located on the corner of 3rd and Ash Streets. 
904-491-8040 with hours of 10:30 until 5
Mon.-Sat. & 10-4 on Sunday.
News from the Gulf
Interesting Sea Turtle nesting update from the Gulf.  Finally a group which is doing something positive that will produce some results instead of sitting and wringing their hands and pointing fingers of blame, or thinking that money will fix the wetlands after the damage is done.  Under the supervision of the Fish & Wildlife agencies and the approval of the Sea Turtle Conservation groups and the vast network of willing Volunteer Groups they are going to move the approx. 70,000 eggs which will be laid this season from the Gulf to the East coast area of Florida and release them into the Atlantic.  It is a huge undertaking involving a lot of "certified" turtle volunteers who thankfully due to the existing work with Sea Turtles are already organized and in place.  The plan seems to be at this point to excavate the eggs just prior to hatching and carefully transport them to huge climate controlled warehouses at the Kennedy Space center.  It seems that FedEx is equipped to achieve this very delicate transport process.  They will be closely monitored, misted with water, and kept viable.  Once hatched they will be released into the Atlantic.  How has not been decided. This is not and easy thing to do since turtle eggs are very delicate and must not be tipped the wrong way.  The reason for waiting until such a time is so the sex of the hatchlings can be determined in the natural way by the heat of the sand in which the nest was laid.  Cool dads (near the bottom) and hot mommas (toward the top).  After all, what good does it do to have 70,000 potential dads out there without any gals? 
Lisa is back for about a month.  If you wish to join her for a beach walk at 8 am on Saturday Mornings show up at the Fort in Fort Clinch State Park.
Island Hopping
On Monday I had an irresistible invitation to tag along on an adventure which involved visiting the Jekyll Island Sea Turtle Center. 
Miss Amy, a former straggler hatchling left in the nest to a fate that would not have been good was our greeter.  Sometimes these little stragglers have problems such as plant roots in which they have become entangled, or trapped underneath debris from hatched eggs, and have become weakened or their flippers become impaired.  She was brought to the center for rehabbing where she remains for now, a young juvenile. 
 The Turtle Center is a very informative place but what interested me most was seeing the real turtles and standing at the window looking into the surgery and watching Dr. Terry Norton and his staff treat the sick and injured turtles, cleaning their wounds, applying medicines, and giving them the necessary medical care to allow their eventual return to the wild.
Here we have a Green Turtle in front and a Kemps Ridley, one of the more endangered species, in the rear.  As different turtles are brought in one of the assistants would write on a chalk board placed in the window the turtles name, species, what is wrong and how they are treating it.  I could stand there all day if the little kids hadn't kept rooting me off the risers.  I would have loved to have been lucky enough to be on the other side of the glass in a real hands on experience.
This fellow's carapace had been broken possibly by a boat impact.  The wound was being treated with honey which Dr. Norton has found greatly reduces the healing time.  It seems that honey is an effective natural antibiotic.  Some of the comb is packed into the wound allowing the honey
to remain in place longer.
This big Loggerhead was back in the adjoining room, kind of like a ward in a hospital, recovering from surgery which removed a hook stuck in his throat complicated by the fishing line which he had swallowed going all the way through his body extending from both front and rear orifices.  That is why it is so important not to just cut your line when you hook something like this.  Even if you can remove the hook they still need treatment to prevent infection.  Just dial 911 here and they can contact turtle rescue people.
The turtles seemed to sense they were being helped and remained very calm.  Possibly it had to do with the skill of the assistants.
This Kemps Ridley is having its wounds cleaned and treated.
With 6 year old Aaron in the group we could not resist having lunch at a site that not only had a marsh view but came with the promise that we could feed the squirrels as well pet the cats.  Add the further enticement of the best chocolate pudding cake in the world, and it was a win-win situation for adults and kids. Part of the goal was to get this tech oriented kid interested in nature and living creatures rather than just animated ones.
The squirrels indeed lived up to their reputation walking along the railing right next to you and sitting on the floor waiting for a handout.  The cat also paid a visit much to the consternation of the squirrels who did their growling "my space" sounds.
We drove back by way of Highway 17 which is like taking the back roads of old Florida.  I had seen this sign on a previous trip so was looking for it.  It is a pretty direct and honest description of someone who does "estate" sales.
We passed a family of Wild Turkeys, mom and little ones, hiking along the highway along the edge of the woods.  As we stopped, she decided that while she didn't mind passing cars, people getting out of the cars was another matter, and promptly led her brood into the woods.
Back on our island I took to my backyard to find my squirrel.  Several always ask if Shelly is still around and I am happy to say she still comes by to eat pecans and sit on our shoulders if not daily at least every few days.  We try to keep her doing that and she seems to hang out in our yard a bit more than she used to.  She is looking very robust and healthy.  The last time I said that, it turned out she was pregnant and it is that season again, hhhhhuuuummm, could be.  I don't know if they take a season off after birthing or not.  From the looks of all number of "tree rats" hanging around my feeder these days I would think not.
She is busy hiding nuts and only wanted the whole ones rejecting the pieces I had shelled for her in favor of begging for the "big" nuts.  What she does when full, is to turn her nose up at the ones in the dish and start climbing up and down you looking into your hands from whence all whole nuts must come.  A squirrel is very through hiding her nuts, digging, burying then carefully, covering, smoothing, and thus camouflaging the spot.
She reconsidered when she saw her dish sitting on the ground and using my foot as a leaning spot settled into eating some shelled pecans after all.
She is a pretty special girl and we do enjoy the pleasure of having a wild critter who still thinks of us as her family or probably just a meal ticket, but isn't that the same thing?
We are up to #10 so far in the park and over a hundred nests island wide.  Lets hope they all survive the tides and weather.  This one was quite low and I fear for it most of all.  Still nothing North of the Beach Boardwalk.
I seem to be attracting Katydids this week.  This is my third.  This one came out of hiding when we were over half way through the ride.  Not sure if "she" note the long thing on the back.  I am told by Lisa (her first turtle patrol this year) that the long apparatus is used in egg laying and that she is a Katydid, not a Grasshopper.  Lisa will keep me straight because if its in nature she "knows all" or so it seems most times.
It is July now and the baby birds are becoming of age.  Quite a change in the Least Tern chicks even from last week.  Mom still stands guard as the chick looks more and more like her every day.
Our Osprey chicks took their first flights this week.  This is a snag near the nest and it is agreed we had three this year although it was difficult to ever see all three at once.  There are two more in a nearby nest, probably offspring of this same set of parents.
The '4th of July' is upon us.  As First Friday arrived along with the "Sounds on Centre" concert it drew a big crowd of locals and tourists as well.  The band "A Touch of Gray" played fun toe tapping music which the children as well as adults loved, the kind of music you know the words to.  When they played "Georgia on my Mind" the dance floor was taken over by romantic seniors slow dancing to the familiar sounds.
Our patriotic red, white and blue pirate lady did a great job of entertaining the children as they danced to the music and chased after the massive bubbles she was blowing.  The glistening rainbow they reflected as they gracefully floated upward added a fleeting holiday touch to the whole town.  Today will be parades and fireworks around most of our towns and cities celebrating what is uniquely our celebration, the birth of our country.  Enjoy all this, but remember that the freedom we enjoy today cost those original founding fathers as they signed that Declaration of Independence, an act that could have resulted in their deaths if caught.  As it was it did cost almost of them their wealth, many their lives and the lives of their families before it was over.
Happy 4th of July, Independence Day !!!
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