I'm involved with gopher tortoise preservation; the World's Largest Silent Weekend/interpreter Conference and the World's Longest Group Motorcycle Rides. Retired from College of Public Health and Health Sciences as a senior lecturer at the University of Florida, I was awarded Teacher of the Year twice. In my 17 years there, I founded the American Sign Language Program -- "The World's Most Exciting Foreign Language -- ASL"! I also founded the World's Largest Silent Weekend/Interpreter Conference. 2018 will be the venue's 39th offering --- more than 500 are expected this year! The 18th World's Longest Group Motorcycle Benefit Run for July 4, 2020 already has over 35 bikers interested (As of April 2018).
When Maureen (my wife), Cole (her daughter) and I first started clearing the land a couple of years ago, turkey tracks were the only thing we saw. Over several months (and several hundred pounds of corn later), the turkeys became used to us. Now they come running up to us when we arrive! At times we have had up to 30 turkeys enjoying the corn! Watch a turkey take a dust bath!
Gopher tortoises need all the friends they can get! Here on 55 acres they are safe. A forest ranger, Gregg Dunn, is working on a land use management plan to revert several acres back to wiregrass and pine trees to accommodate relocated gopher tortoises.
Here is a rare video footage of two gopher tortoises interacting with each other. Over three hours of ritual condensed in about 20 minutes.
I may be 70 years old --- but I have plenty of life in my years! My motivation comes from my role model ... Caleb from the Old Testament! He, at the age of 85, had the same verve and enthusiasm as age 40! He said in so many words "Give me this mountain! I want a fight!"
Most of the 55 acres are high and dry with about 10 acres wetlands. A forest ranger told us that the huge stands of live oaks were most likely planted by Ponce de Leon to serve as timber for his sailing ships. There was also a Civil War camp on the premises. Great fishing on Moccasin Creek!