Florida Trail Association
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The Florida Trail

January 2020 E-blaze

January 2020
Introducing the FTA’s New
Central/South Florida Trail Program Manager
Welcome to the team, Jenna!
We are thrilled to share that Jenna Taylor has joined the FTA team as the new Central/South Florida Trail Program Manager. This position became available after the previous manager, Kelly Wiener, stepped into FTA’s Trail Program Director role this past fall.
Jenna has spent the last 8 years serving as the AmeriCorps Program Director for Big Brothers Big Sisters of St. Lucie, Indian River and Okeechobee Counties. A native Floridian, Jenna is a graduate of Flagler College where she earned a BA in Psychology and Communications. She then completed a Masters in Social Work through Florida State University with a certification in non-profit and emergency management.When she isn’t working, Jenna can be found serving her community as a coach for Girls on the Run and the Special Olympics Equestrian teams. Jenna lives in Fort Pierce with her husband James and her two hiking partners, her dogs Gracie and Magnolia.
In classic trail crew fashion, Jenna has hit the ground running in her first month with us. And she has already proven to be exceedingly skilled at meeting the demands of this position. In the past few weeks, Jenna has attended the semi-annual Trails Coalition Meeting and our recent Board of Directors meeting. She has also co-hosted a partner group volunteer work party as well as the Wild & Scenic Film Festival with our staff. It is wonderful to have someone with over a decade of non-profit management and community organizing experience on the team. Jenna has diligently been working to do outreach with all of the volunteer leaders and land managers within her region. She looks forward to supporting andcollaborating with them in the near future.
Building More Than Trails
“We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Trail Program Director, Kelly Wiener, writes:
With participation in scouting groups declining, less schools taking students on field trips, and the average American child spending five to eight hours a day in front of a digital screen, it begs the question– how will we cultivate future generations of outdoor recreationists and stewards?
Over the Martin Luther King Day weekend, we hosted a trail maintenance event at Green Swamp West with 22 students from St. Stephen’s Episcopal High School. Nearly all of the participants had never gone hiking or camping before.
We split into two crews and accomplished 7 miles of trail maintenance along the Florida Trail over the course of the weekend. In addition to teaching the students how to maintain the trail, our staff had a lot of fun teaching the students basic cooking skills and our Leave No Trace backcountry dish washing method. The students demonstrated incredibly positive and respectful attitudes the whole weekend, and were always eager to lend a hand.
The end of FTA’s mission statement states that we aim to “provide opportunities for the public to contribute to meaningful volunteer work, engage in outdoor recreation, and participate in environmental education.” At this event we successfully accomplished these aspects of our mission statement with one of the segments of our population who need it most. We look forward to our continued partnership with St. Stephens High School!
3rd Annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival
The 3rd Annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival hosted by our FTA team this past Saturday in Gainesville was another tremendous excess. 350 people attended this outdoor event set in the beautiful natural area of Swamp Head Brewery. This was the largest turnout we’ve had so far for this event! We look forward to hosting the film fest again next year and collaborating with more community partners along the way.
A bottom-of-our-hearts thank you to everyone who attended, all of the speakers who shared their moving stories and insights with the audience as well as to our tabling organizations who shared their important causes towards outdoor accessibility and environmental conservation throughout the evening. Your active roles at the event contributed to the night’s wonderful sense of community as well as to the inspiring message for citizens to take action towards honoring, protecting and supporting our scenic lands and waterways.
Be sure to check out the Film Program to review the films that were screened as well as the valuable partner organizations and sponsors who were involved in the event.
Footprint Magazine
Check out the latest Fall/Winter 2019 Edition of the Footprint!
FTA Annual Awards
Calling for 2020 FTA Awards Nominations!
The Florida Trail Association’s annual awards serve as a way to recognize members, volunteers, partners, and supporters for their incredible contributions to the organization and the trail. Every year, we ask our partners, members and volunteers to nominate people in the community for their exceptional contributions.
Please take part in helping us recognize those who have played a vital role in supporting and furthering the mission of the FTA.
CLICK HERE to submit an Awards Nomination Form and to find out more information about the Award Categories.
Note that the award descriptions have been revised with some changes to specific awards. A few new awards have also been introduced.
Volunteer Awards Nominations are due by 5PM EST on Wednesday, March 4, 2020.
Awards will be presented at the FTA Annual Meeting on Saturday, April 4, 2020 in Gainesville, FL (location and further details will soon be announced).
Choctawhatchee Chapter:
Eglin Shingling Project
Many Hands Lighten the Load: A dedicated group of FTA volunteers are making big things happen
FTA Board Member, Tom Daniel, writes:
The bridges and boardwalks on Eglin are no longer slippery or hazardous for trail users. The chances of a hikers losing their footing is greatly reduced. A big thank you to local contractor Creative Wall Products of Florida and the volunteers who stepped up and made a difference. The positive outcome speaks for itself.
The shingling project on the Eglin segment of the Florida Trail began in 2015. The trail on Eglin is not unlike many trail segments in that the bridges and boardwalks had accumulated a layer of algae and slime. They were a safety issue, often very slippery. The chosen solution was to install fiberglass roofing shingles on them. The end goal was to make these slippery trail
structures safer for trail users.
Twenty-three FTA volunteers worked on the project at Gum and Big Fork Creeks. This phase of the project included four workdays (Dec. 31 st , Jan. 7th , 11th and 12th). The work involved 48 shingle bundles (1056 shingles) covering 106 feet of trail bridges and 1634 feet of boardwalks. Of the 5300 feet of trail structures on Eglin this phase shingled over 30%.
Initially the task appeared to be a lifetime endeavor. After Creative Wall Products donated a small mountain of shingles the goal was achievable. Several years hence, 22+ workdays, 200 bundles of shingles covering over 10,400 running feet of boardwalks, the finish line is within sight. Only two structures remain on Eglin, which is less than 100 feet.
FTA Board of Directors
Cast your vote to play an important role in the future of the Florida Trail Association!
As a member of the Florida Trail Association, you have the privilege of casting your vote in the 2020 Board of Directors election. You have a voice, and we want to hear it!
By Mail: You can access and print a Mail-in Ballot HERE.
Mail in ballots must be received by the Florida Trail Association no later than March 27th, 2020.
Mail to: Florida Trail Association 1050 NW 2nd Street, Suite A Gainesville, FL 32601
Electronically: There is also option to vote online. CLICK HERE to complete the online ballot.
Online voting is currently open and will close by 5PM EST, March 27th, 2020.
Results of the 2020 elections will be announced at the FTA Annual Meeting on Saturday, April 4th, 2020 in Gainesville, FL (location and further details will soon be announced).
*You must be an FTA member in order to vote. Note, only one vote per membership. If you chose to submit your ballot by mail, you will not need to vote electronically.
Save the Date!
12th Annual Ididahike
March 6 – 7, 2020
Inverness, FL
Florida Trail Association | 1-877-HIKE-FLA | floridatrail.org