I am excited for the opportunity to help support Jeff host the (hopefully in-person) 2021 annual meeting this fall! I am a research biologist at Nokuse Plantation, a large privately owned conservation site located in the Florida panhandle, where our work is primarily focused on longleaf pine restoration and gopher tortoise conservation. Nokuse is one of the largest recipient sites for translocated gopher tortoises in the state and where I completed the research for my Master’s degree from the University of Georgia.
We are pleased with how well our first attempt at a virtual meeting format for GTC went, but we will be glad to leave our burrows and see others in our social network in person later this year. Our current plan is to hold the annual meeting during the last weekend in October (Oct 28-30) in St. Petersburg, FL. With it being so close to Halloween, we won’t mind if you also feel the need to dress in costume! Stay tuned for more details.
Earlier this spring marked the 5th anniversary of Florida proclaiming April 10th as Gopher Tortoise Day, a day to celebrate and raise awareness of this awesome species. Other states in the range also hosted Gopher Tortoise Day events, and we hope you were also able to celebrate wherever you live!
In other exciting news, GTC recently received the “NGO Special Recognition Award” from the Florida chapter of The Wildlife Society for efforts to promote conservation and resource stewardship in the state. We also want to give a shout-out to Ericha Shelton-Nix for the work she did during her term as GTC Co-Chair.
I am excited for the upcoming events in 2021 for this amazing organization. Best wishes for a sure-to-be busy summer field season for folks!