Saturday, January 14, 2012

Photo safari January 22 (sign up now!), and a nature walk's rave review

A photo safari in the GTM Reserve (also known as the  GTM NERR) is an intriguing iea on its own, but when it comes under the leadership of Craig O'Neal, you know you don't want to pass it up. Thanks to Diana Eissing, the author of the original email announcement!

A One of a Kind Photo Safari Through the Guana Reserve
Go on a one-of-a-kind photo safari through Guana Reserve's rich and varied natural resources. Led by expert local photographers, this three-hour tour is designed for advanced beginner and intermediate photographers who are ready to discover new places and new skills.  Join Craig O'Neal, GTM Research Reserve Volunteer and master naturalist whose photos appear each week in The Florida Times-Union, and Joe Hunt, an award-winning photographer from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, January 22, 2012.  Learn more during the photo walk about the techniques they use to capture nature at its best:  Proper camera settings,  composition, macro photography, landscape photography, HDR (High Dynamic Range) imagery, and post-processing software tips. Cost is $69 per person with a portion of the proceeds benefitting the Friends of the GTM Reserve. Meet at the Trailhead Pavilion. There is a $3/per vehicle parking fee and space is limited. To register and pay for this workshop and for more information visit and click on Register for Photo Tour. The GTM Research Reserve is located at 505 Guana River Road, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082, (904) 823-4500. Visit for more additional information.

And if you've been on a nature walk in the NERR, you already know how educational and purely enjoyable they are. A recent walk in the southernmost section of the NERR, not far from Marineland, was given high marks by the Daytona Beach News-Journal. Read all about it here.

One final incentive to our own Great Outdoors: the crisp winter weather offers refeshing walks and views with the added allure, through the end of March, of possible North Atlantic right whale sightings. The west winds have smoothed the surface of the ocean and made walks on the beach especially pleasant. Get out there!

Stay tuned for news about an upcoming cycling event benefitting the Friends of the GTM get back to training and we'll keep you posted.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy 2012, under blue crystal skies

It's been a quiet month or so here in blog land. There've been the holidays, and some resting and family time, and maybe a football game or two...well, you know the drill. But  we've rung out the old, and we're getting ready to ring in the new in a big way. We've celebrated so much in 2011, including our arrival here, and on Facebook and Twitter. The Friends of the Reserve held its 2nd annual OceanWise event to Fish & Wildlife who keep a special eye on the North Atlantic Right Whales who calve in our waters every winter.

2012 promises to be an exciting year for GTM NERR for a BUNCH of reasons, not least of which is the thoughtful expansion of our online presence. We're taking a look at how we meet everyone where they want to be met online, whether here at the blog, our web sites, online content like our newsletter and via social media. We've just debuted a new newsletter and will be including it here soon. More exciting events are planned, including a fundraising Run sponsored by the Friends coming in late winter/early spring and lots more.

But you don't need a reason to visit the Reserve. Wrap up in your winter gear and walk the beach or trails. Canoe. Fish. Photograph. These chilly winter days range from cloudy nor'easters to bright, stunning days under skies so blue they seem to shimmer, and our pristine beach offers as many shades of blue as Ireland is said to offer of greens. Go see for yourself. And if you see a Right Whale, be sure to call it in (888.979.4253). Right Whales don't have dorsal fins, often rest at or near the top of the water, and are dark in color, so they can be easy for boaters to overlook. Beachgoers often spot them by the v-shaped "blow", or by the simple fact of their amazing size as they break the surface of the water to breathe - they can be up to 55 feet long, and that's not a typo. So come on out!

We're on Facebook at GTMResearchReserve, and you can follow us on Twitter @GTMReserve.