Weather and Climate

We had a good turnout for Ken Nash’s talk on weather and climate (January 10, 2018). Ken is a retired Air Force meteorologist and is currently Director of Physical Sciences and Climatology at the Gulf Archaeology Research Institute.

Ken talked about climate and weather in terms of first principles. That is to say, weather and climate are caused by the flow of heat through land, water and air.

He also contrasted weather and climate. Weather is the current state of atmospheric conditions (e.g., temperature, humidity) at a location. Climate is the average weather conditions prevailing at a location over a long period.

RESTORE Act Project

The environmental damage caused by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill impacted Gulf coastal communities, and industries (e.g, fisheries, tourism). To help mitigate the damage caused by the spill, Congress created the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act (RESTORE Act).

RESTORE Act funding comes from the monetary damages paid by the parties responsible for the Deepwater Horizon disaster. In Florida, Levy County is entitled to a portion of RESTORE Act funds and is now in the final stages of submitting its Plan. The Levy County Plan contains a project proposed by the Friends of the Withlacoochee Gulf Preserve (Plan project #3). This project was developed in conjunction with Levy County and if funded will provide money to promote science research and education at the Preserve. To learn more about the Levy Country RESTORE Plan visit

You can help. In preparation for submitting its final Plan, Levy County is accepting public comment on Plan projects for 45 days (January 8, 2018 thru February 20, 2018). Positive comments about the WGP and its project will help ensure that it is funded. The comments can be brief one-liners or passionate, long letters. All comments will be included in the Levy County RESTORE Plan submission. You may comment on one or all the projects but we would especially like your endorsement of the Preserve. Sample comment letters can be found here.

Public Comments may be submitted in the following ways:

New Year’s Day Picnic 2018

The Friends had their annual New Year’s Day Picnic on Monday, January 1, 2018. Because of the unseasonably cold and wet weather we moved the picnic inside the Education Center this year.

The New Year’s Day picnic is a “bring your lunch and a dessert to share” gathering. It is a great time to catch-up with friends, and reflect on the events and accomplishments of the past year.

The Friends are looking forward to a great 2018 at the WGP. We hope to see you at one of the Preserve’s events, and at next year’s picnic.

Friends Donation to the WGP

Left to right: Ellen Klee FWGP, Ann Sayward FWGP, Debbie Weiss FWGP Jeff Bernstein FWGP, Jean Holbrook Town Council, Jennifer Molzen Town Council, Sherri McDonald Town Council, Kent Gardner FWGP, Eric Kuykendall Town Manager, Sally Douglass FWGP, Jack Schofield Mayor

The Friends of the Withlacoochee Gulf Preserve recently presented the Yankeetown Town Council with a donation of $5,000. This money has been tentatively earmarked for improvements in and around the Preserve’s Education Center.

The Friends of the WGP is a 501(3)(c) non-profit organization that works in partnership with Yankeetown to promote and develop the Preserve. The Friends raise money for the Preserve through T-Shirts sales, donations, memberships, AmazonSmile, and events like their annual Rubber Duck Race.

The WGP is a unique place that would not be possible without community involvement. Thank you to everyone for your contributions of time and financial support.

Wedding at the WGP

On Saturday (December 2, 2017) the Preserve provided the venue for a wedding and reception. It was a beautiful day and a lovely ceremony. The Friends want to wish the happy couple all the best for their future lives together.

Note: The Preserve is available to rent for private functions. For more information contact Yankeetown Town Hall.

2017 Duck Race Results

Photo (right to left): Ellen Klee, President of FWGP; Bailey Molzen, daughter of winner; Jennifer Molzen, winner; Susan Steinhorst, Treasurer of FWGP

The Friends of the Preserve had a great turnout at our 2017 Yankeetown Seafood Festival booth. The highlight of each year’s Festival is of course the Friends’ annual Rubber Duck Race. This year the Race had a new venue, taking place on the river in front of the Izaak Walton Lodge (home to the new Black Water Grill and Bar).

All the preening and training paid off for Duck #221. She was the race winner and earned her sponsor, Jennifer Molzen, the grand prize. The lazy duck winner (last one over the line) was Barbara Mozayeny.

Sales at the Seafood Festival booth are a major source of funding for the Preserve. And this year we did great! The Friends want to thank everyone who participated in the event and for their continuing support.

Honey Bees

Florida native and master beekeeper Melody Taylor gave a nice presentation about honey bees on Friday (October 20, 2017). Melody talked about honey bees in general and her years of experience as a Florida beekeeper. Thanks Melody.

For more information about the UF Master Beekeeper Program visit the Honey Bee Research & Extension Lab website.

Boardwalk Repair and Cleanup

The Friends of the WGP had a good turnout for the boardwalk repair and cleanup event on Sunday (September 24, 2017). Community support is what makes much of what happens at the Preserve possible. Thank you individual volunteers and the Levy County Outdoor Adventures 4H Club!

Heritage Monitoring Scouts

(Left to Right: Jeff Moates-FPAN, Ellen Klee-FWGP, Nigel Rudolph-FPAN, Sally Douglass-FWGP, Jamie Letendre & Kassie Kemp-FPAN​)

We had a great presentation on September 21, 2017 from the knowledgeable staff of the Florida Public Archaeology Network’s Central and West Central regional offices. The mission of the Florida Public Archaeology Network (FPAN) is to “…promote and facilitate the conservation, study and public understanding of Florida’s archaeological heritage.”

In their presentation Jeff, Nigel, Jamie, and Kassie introduced FPAN’s new Heritage Monitoring Scouts (HMS) program. The program is focused on monitoring at risk archaeological sites. Particularly those impacted by climate change in the form of erosion and sea level rise.

HMS is a great opportunity for Scouts (citizen scientists) to contribute to our understanding, and protect, Florida’s rich history. It is easy to become a Scout and the public is encouraged to apply to the program. For more information on HMS send FPAN an email at or click on the HMS link above.