Early in the week I met with our newest sponsor, Gainesville Wild Birds Unlimited. In case you don't know them, Bubba (that's him in the photo) and Ingrid opened Wild Birds Unlimited in Gainesville a couple of years ago. It has become a haven for bird and nature lovers seeking everything from creature comforts and food for our birds to guidebooks to natural bugspray ~ a must for those of us who paint outdoors! Bubba is also the chair of the field trip committee for the Alachua Audubon Society. They have planned 30 field trips this season! Some of the trips are through the very prairies we are painting. The schedule will be published this week and can be found at www.flmnh.ufl.edu/aud.
Today I drove out to Prairie Creek Lodge to meet with Hutch and Lesa of Alachua Conservation Trust. It was a beautiful drive under the billowing clouds which kept the temperature manageable and gave me a glimmer of hope that cooler weather is on the way. The lodge itself was a hive of enthusiastic activity punctuated by the ringing of the telephone and the happy smiles of those at work on various projects. Soon the weather will have cooled enough for us to really get out into the prairies to explore and paint on location. Hutch told me that the normally wet prairies are so dry at the moment that in places the cypress knees are totally exposed and so tall. Perhaps it has been the very hot and dry weather, but there seems to be a noticeable absense of the plants which usually give the prairies their unique colors at this time of year. Once we have them finalized, we will share with you news of the plans which Six Artists Six Prairies and the Alachua Conservation Trust are making.
Mary Jane Volkmann