This blogspot has been set up to honor Kathy!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Monday, November 29, 2010

Ranger-led, overnight backpacking trip to Persimmon Point

BY ROBERT FISHER Before Kathy Cantwell’s tragic bicycle accident, she had backpacked throughout the united States including the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Grand Canyon.

She wrote a memorable letter to the Gainesville Sun in 2007, just before the Alachua County Commissioners met to decide on a land use amendment change permitting the Gainesville Country Club to build townhouses along the northern perimeter of Paynes Prairie.

She remarked that one of her most memorable outdoor experiences was her overnight backpacking trip to Persimmon Point at Paynes Prairie.

To honor Kathy Cantwell’s noble efforts to protect Paynes Prairie and other conservation areas throughout the State of Florida, I am organizing a ranger-led, overnight backpacking trip to Persimmon Point during the winter or early spring of 2011 to provide an opportunity for both Sierra Club members and nonmembers to experience a wilderness area that Kathy worked so hard to protect.

This overnight weekend backpacking trip is being planned in cooperation with Friends of Paynes Prairie and Paynes Prairie State Park.

We will depart mid-morning on Saturday for a 4.5 mile pack-in to the primitive campsite at Persimmon Point.

Following a blissful night of communing with nature and enjoying the night sky, we will depart on Sunday morning and hike along a scenic 2-mile section of the north rim of the prairie basin. Our expected arrival time is around noon.

Throughout the trip, our ranger will highlight important features of Paynes Prairie.

This backpacking trip is limited to 20 participants, and there will be a $20 fee. Half of the fee will be donated to Friends of Paynes Prairie and the other half will be donated to a memorial fund in the name of Kathy Cantwell. Prospective weekends include February 26-27th and March 12- 13th.

I strongly encourage prospective participants to consider the weekend of February 26-27th, which should allow us to view migratory Sandhill Cranes before their departure back to the upper Midwest and Canada.

This tribute backpacking trip represents a wonderful opportunity for backpackers of all levels to experience and enjoy one of the great outdoor treasures of Florida.

All interested individuals should respond to Robert Fisher ( or 352-514-7674) by December 31, 2010 with their preference for February 26-27th or March 12-13th.

Please note that this tribute backpacking trip is open to everyone. An equipment list along with additional details will be sent to all participants.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Meet today or call/send email... important!


Workshop starts at 4:3o, commission discussion for voting on the matter 6:30. Hawthorne City Hall. 6700 SE 221st Street, Hawthorne, FL 32640 Phone: 352.481.2432

While it will take you away from your families for a couple of hours, I implore of you, we must bring a show of support large enough so that any nay-sayers on the Hawthorne City Commission will get the picture and will support this proposed land acquisition. The calvary must mount and ride onto the field, or this highly worthy acquisition may very well die!

Our partner, the Putnam Land Conservancy fought tooth and nail to get FCT funding for this proposed acquisition of a sizeable chunk of the Little Orange Creek project. It is nothing short of critical, if you care about connecting the Ocala National Forest to the Lochloosa Wildlife Management Area, and ultimately to Goethe, a project spearheaded by the Conservation Trust for Florida. Further, these lands fall within one section of the wildlife corridor that links the Ocala NF to the Okeefenokee/Osceola complex, as well. Please see the attached maps to visualize these vital links.

If you are unable to attend, please consider sending the Commission an email, or call them up.> and (352)481-2432.

Of critical significance is the fact that preserving this area should increase the value of surrounding lands, including those in the City limits, and thus, should increase ad valorem tax revenue; a fundamentally vital issue for this particular city, more so than many, actually. For back up reading to substantiate this fact, please see the first four articles linked under “General Interest” here:>

So, if you wish to be fully fluent regarding the issues at hand, you should call Rob Blount, PLC’s Executive Director, for more information: 386-336-5400 Or email him at .

Please make this a priority!


Brian A. Block Executive Director> (352) 466-1178 (Phone/Fax) (352) 258-2228

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Press release re: LOCCHEC

November 15, 2010

Little Orange Creek Conservation and Environmental Center

Contact: Robert S. Blount, Executive Director


The Florida Communities Trust program awarded the Putnam Land Conservancy (PLC) and the City of Hawthorne a $4 Million grant to purchase a 1,200-acre nature preserve. Pending City Commissioners’ approval, the PLC and City will jointly manage the property as a public park preserving Hawthorne’s natural and cultual heritage. The $4.5 million purchase price was made up by the Florida Department of Community Affairs grant and $500,000 in private contributions.

The Putnam Land Conservancy is a four-year-old private land and wildlife conservation charity. Its mission is conserving land and water for people and wildlife in and around Putnam County Florida. PLC has been active in assisting conservation-minded private citizens sell or donate environmentally sensitive lands for public recreation and providing critical habitat for Florida native plants and animals.

The LOCCHEC park includes over 700 acres of surface water protection along Little Orange Creek as it meanders through Fowler’s Prairie. The park contains a rare pitcher plant bog that borders State Road 20. The area is home to many Florida native plants and animals and is used by the Florida black bear as it travels from the Ocala National Forest to the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia.

Future plans for the LOCCHEC Park include connecting it to the Gainesville-to-Hawthorne Trail. Also in the planning is a renovating an existing 5,000 sq. ft. building into a nature and culture center. Here programs and exhibits will interpret the local environment and the original pioneer settlement at Morrison’s Mill. The remnants of this founding site of present-day Hawthorne can be seen on the park. The park will provide access to the historic Carlton Cemetery where a number of Hawthorne pioneer families are interred.

The park lands will undergo restoration to remove exotic, non-native species. Recreational amenities will be added including handicapped accessible fishing pier, canoe and kayak launch, picnic pavilion, horseshoe pit, volleyball court, and hiking trail. The park is scheduled to open to the public in 2011.

Locchec status

The Hawthorne city commission room was filled to overflowing Tuesday night. The first row had a bright orange glow from the number of people wearing LOCCHEC T-shirts... and that's pretty much the highlight of the evening. It was disappointingly similar to the discussion that took place the week before at the workshop. Several commissioners voiced their support; several had reservations about the budget. It went round and round and round. A number of citizens spoke - all in favor of the project. Many citizens approached the podium and voiced their frustration with the amount of time that it takes the commission to move on a project.

In the end, the commission voted to have another meeting. It will be Monday, November 22nd. There will be workshop starting at 4:30 which will focus on the management plan for the project. At 6:30, the commission is going to vote on whether to sign the contract.

Your participation will help. Please try and attend. The commission was aware that we were there to support this project. The mayor commented that the meeting was not just packed, but filled to the rafters. Please plan to join us.

City of Hawthorne, Florida
6700 SE 221st Street, Hawthorne, FL 32640
Phone: 352.481.2432

On a final positive note, as we filed out of the room, a man standing by the door shook everyone's hand and gave us a big smile.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Kathy's Legacy Land Project LOCCHEC

If you would like to receive an email whenever this blog is updated, please send me an email at

Little Orange Creek Conservation - This is the project to which Kathy devoted the last 5 years of her life. It will provide for the conservation of 1,200 acres.

We would like to remind/encourage you all to come out to Hawthorne City Hall Tuesday evening at 6 PM. The commission is going to take its official vote on partnering up with Putnam Land Conservancy and committing approx. $25,000 to steward Kathy's beloved LOCCHEC project. It would be wonderful if we could get a crowd there to show support for this project and encourage a positive vote. This project will allow for the awarding of nearly $4.5 million dollars for conservation land. If the commission votes it down, the project will not be funded (as I understand it).

Julie suggests having dinner afterward at Blue Water Bay.

City of Hawthorne, Florida
6700 SE 221st Street, Hawthorne, FL 32640
Phone: 352.481.2432

Monday, October 4, 2010

Woman of the Year

Kathy has been nominated for this award and I would imagine she will win, don't you? The awards banquet is Friday Oct 15 at Sweetwater Branch Inn. I cannot attend because it is opening night but we should get all of our friends to attend. You need to buy tickets ahead of time. Here's the link to the website to get a ticket. Tickets ar $40.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Get an email when we post

I wish this blog was set up so that if you are following the blog, you will receive an email when a new post is made. It doesn't work that way but I have set something up.

I set up a google group for this blog. If you join the group, you will automatically be updated whenever the blog is.

That way, you don't need to remember to keep checking it.

If you want to join, send an email to and I will send you a link.

Back home and a challenge from Tammy

Julie and Lorelei returned from their journey - giddy with stories of beauty in nature. We gathered that same night (Friday) on the back porch as we had done so many times since that dreadful first meeting in May.

Julie asked us all to "check in". It's kind of like having to go to the doctor for a check up. I don't know that anyone wanted to do it but we did and it was good. Each person talked about where they were at. Some spoke of Kathy, some not.

In the last month since Kathy's death, many many people have come forward with stories of how Kathy's words about being in nature have effected their lives. Tammy talked about it that night and the next morning sent this challenge to us all.

To bring to your daily life the energy (adrenalin) that you tapped into while out in nature. When you hear the hawk scream to you stop and take it in / listen. When the wind blows the scent of fall take a deep breath. When the sky opens up and displays a full moon, a zillion stars, and the blinding glare of the sun take a mental picture. When it rains take a walk and feel each drop on your skin. Don't let the daily routines that are required of us just to survive overshadow what really matters ---- living.