For more information:
Amy Erven
(850) 414-0871

Brad Ellis
(386) 208-1462

florida-agriculture.com

Agriculture Press Release

October 11, 2001

Forestry Awareness Day Set For October 20

TALLAHASSEE -- Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charles H. Bronson is encouraging Floridians to learn more about their state forests and the people who manage them by attending "Forestry Awareness Day" at two North Florida sites later this month.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Forestry, will host events at the Nature and Heritage Tourism Center and the Big Shoals Public Lands in White Springs on October 20. This is one of many events being held statewide for "State Forest Awareness Month" as designated by the Governor and Cabinet.

"Florida has one of the most diverse state forestry programs in the country," Bronson said. "This is an opportunity for the public to come out and meet with local foresters and learn about the many services we provide."

Forestry Awareness Day will begin at 10 a.m. on the grounds of the newly opened Nature and Heritage Tourism Center in White Springs. The event will feature forestry and turpentine exhibits and demonstrations, folk music and living history, the latest forest firefighting equipment, and state foresters providing information on forest health, wildfire prevention, and the management of Florida’s state forest system.

"Part of the day’s activities will include the unveiling of a new audio-visual exhibit in the Nature and Heritage Tourism Center," said L. Earl Peterson, Director of the Division of Forestry. "The exhibit gives the public a quick overview of the agency and the many recreational programs we have to offer in our 31 state forests."

In the afternoon, the Forestry Awareness Day celebration will shift to nearby Big Shoals Public Lands, a unique forest cooperatively managed by the Division of Forestry, Florida Park Service, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and the Suwannee River Water Management District. Foresters will lead guided walks and an off-road bicycle tour of the forest beginning at 1 p.m.

"A program that we are very proud of is our Trailwalker Program, which encourages people to hike designated state forest trails while earning merit badges and other awards." Peterson said. "On October 20 we will be dedicating a new Trailwalker Trail on the Big Shoal Public Lands."

White Springs can be reached from Interstate 75 by taking Exit 84 and heading east three miles, or from Interstate 10 by taking Exit 43 and heading north seven miles.

The Nature and Heritage Tourism Center is located on the corner of U.S. Highway 41 and Highway 136 in White Springs. The Big Shoals Public Lands is located three miles east of White Springs on County Road 135 (follow signs).

The public is invited to bring their hiking shoes and their mountain bikes and discover the beauty of Florida’s outdoors. For information, call the Division of Forestry at (850) 414-0871 or the Nature and Heritage Tourism Center at (904) 397-0871.

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