Monday, March 8, 2010

More on the Grand Opening

Here is what the new Savannah National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center and Headquarters looks like. This new headquarters is located on US 17 just over the South Caroline boarder from the city of Savannah. The picture below shows Pat Metz cutting the ribbon for the new Visitor Center and Headquarters for the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge. This has been a dream for a lot of folks but Pat Metz has been dreaming this for her career.
There were many tours offered in the afternoon but the tour for me was Pat Metz’s tour of the wildlife viewing drive. I have been going to the refuge for over 20 years still I learn more on this one tour than in those 20 years. I even got to be a master bander on a bird study in 2000 and 2001. But going out with Pat just added to the place. Below is a picture from the refuge looking at the Savannah River. Those structures are part of the Port of Savannah. Remembering Helen Tapp’s talk on the Great Pressure was evident with those structures.
But look to the right and there are Blue-winged Teal swimming quietly with a Coot behind them.
The tour was for everyone. See young people to retired people can enjoy the refuge.
Here on the refuge there is time for talking and sharing.
I was sorry to miss the Nature Walk with John “Crawfish” Crawford. But here he is pointing out Needle Palms to Gene Keferl. Gene & I ran into him as we walked the nature trail before the ceremony started. It just shows me there is so to learn and enjoy on the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Where do I sign up!

"I am inside; I am outside. I am inside. I am outside.” It was a child’s dream. This child lived in the city. Her everyday world was paved. To get outside, she had to walk down the hall to the elevator. Ride the elevators to the first floor, then out the lobby to the sidewalk. It was a simple dream. All she wanted to do was to walk out her door and be by a pond in some trees. In the summer when her family went to the lake, she spent her first few hours stepping in and out the door saying, “I am inside. I am outside.” This child grew up and joins the U. S. Department of the Interior. She spent her thirty year career being inside helping folks to be outside. Jane Lyder is living her dream and helping others to live her dream, as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
Yesterday at the Grand Opening of the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center and Headquarters, Jane Lyder was the last one to speak at the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony. She was one of six professionals who are passionate about what they do, helping people get outdoors. We were all pinned to our seat as each one spoke.

Peter Stangel is always inspiring. The first time I heard him speak back in the mid 1990’s, I decided that I was going to be on the front lines helping with bird conservation. It made me want to write about birds and lead walks to get people excited about birds and the outdoors. He did it again today. Where do I sign up!

But Helen Tapp, the Georgia State Director, Trust for Public land, spoke of the Great Pressure. She talked about the Refuge system being the true refuge for this fast paced world. Yes, the refuge system is that retreat for the whole country. These refuges are the places to go and become aware of the other side, to be aware of nature.

Mark Musaus talked about working on the Savannah NWR from 1990 to 1998. He talked about Pat Metz and her dream of this headquarters and Visitor Center.

Yes and let us not forget Pat Metz, she is a voice of reason, a passionate voice for our coast and her Savannah NWR complex. I say hers for she has just retired for the US Fish and Wildlife Service after thirty years on this refuge. Talk about inspiring, Wow! Take a tour with her; it is history, it is birds, it is wildlife and it is the ecosystem. Where do I sign up!
Congratulation, to Pat and everyone, you all put together an inspiring Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, March 6, 2010.