Posted by Wayne Smith
Note: Many thanks to Teresa Davidson who took many pictures of the weekend and posted them to Facebook. Also many thanks to Wayne Smith for submitting this article! There are many, many more photos waiting for you there!
Our Cedar Key Weekend for 2019 was a resounding success. Fifteen Rotarians and Director Mike Allen of the Nature Coast Biological Station and wife Mendy enjoyed happy hour Friday afternoon at the Nature's Landing Condo housing Jim and Becky Cato and Mitzi Austin and Wayne Smith. The fellowship that Josh mentions each Thursday was thoroughly enjoyed. Dinner was wherever, but for us it was the Island Inn Hotel.
Saturday 25 Rotarians and friends assembled at 10 am at the Nature Coast Biological Station where we were hosted by Dr. Charlie Martin, estuarine ecologist. We began our tour on floor one where the aquarian was located with red fish (among other fishes), terrapins and a vicious-looking alligator snapping turtle were swimming and awaiting feeding time. Also on this level are the tanks supplied with filtered water from the Gulf for the wet lab work (see photo). Dr. Martin explained the mission of the Station and showed the fetch area for the work of the station which included the entire water sheds of the rivers feeding the Gulf in the reach from Wakulla to Hernando dounties. Much of their work is done off shore and at Seahorse and other keys in the area.
We then visited the third floor which is be completed to house offices and work space for program expansion. Afterward we descended to the second floor where the offices and administrative facilities are located. Our last stop was in the conference room where Dr. Martin gave an overview of the research and outreach programs of the station ranging from sea grass ecology; impact of sea-level rise on the vegetative and faunal populations; and aquacultural clam industry and emerging oyster culture.
We walked to Duncan's on the Gulf for a lunch provided at half cost by Mike Duncan, owner. After lunch we had a scintillating presentation by Dr. Ken Sassaman , Hyatt and Cici Brown Professor of Archeology at UF. He began by speaking about the native populations in the area and their burial grounds and how sea level changes over the millennia had shaped their location and sometimes movement. Sea level changes have moved occupation from Atsena Otie Key to Cedar Key where inhabitants now reside. He discussed the early cedar industry that provided stocks for pencil manufacturing and how railroads and hurricanes shaped the movement of development. He then discussed how such changes will continue to shape development in the habitation of the Cedar Key(s). His goal is to develop a virtual reality program to be available at the Cedar Key Museum for peering into the future with differing climatic and sea level scenarios.
After the presentation we had some personal time before reconvening at Laraine and David Teiss's Cedar Key home . There was fishing and a lot of socializing with delightful snacks culminating with viewing the Kentucky Derby Run for the Roses. Two pots where sold to game-of-chance hopefuls for which there were four winners--two temporary and two permanent. After coming down from the hype we had a delightful dinner prepared by chef David with covered dish accompaniments. All were then on their own. Some slept in and had breakfast at Annie's on the way home.  As was said many times, "A good time was had by all."  And, we have a recommendation for next year!