A quick visit to Payne’s Prairie

On Sept 18, 2008 I had to take a trip up near Branford, Fl. So, I checked out the parks I would pass on the way and decided to make my first stop Payne’s Prairie Preserve State Park and the Great Alachua Savannah. I knew I did not have long – but I wanted to have a quick look around and boy was I pleased. My first sighting there was of a covey of turkey right on the roadside. I saw even more as I traveled in from the front entrance. Upon arriving at the parking lot for the visitors center I came across a nice display on bird watching on trails out there. I had to follow a short paved path over to the visitors center. There were some very large banana spiders that have taken up residence on the sides and in the trees above the path. There were quite a few song birds flittering in and out amongst the trees to greet me.

The visitors center was very well maintained and really a joy to visit! There was so much information there about the preserve. The girl working the desk was very helpful and they had some nice gifts there also. My favorite part was checking out the photographs taken by one of their volunteers. Dom Martino is a retired professional photographer from PA that retired to Florida and now has the pleasure of spending days taking photos of this amazing place. The 2 bison photos in my album are his photos I to take a photo of to show the buffalo (I did not have time to walk the trails to see them on this visit). To see more of Dom’s work check out his website at http://dommartino.zenfolio.com/ .The visitors center is run by Friends of Payne’s Prairie and their website is www.prairiefriends.org . After spending some time in the visitor’s center I took a very short walk to the 3 story tower that overlooks the prairie. It was a beautiful breezy day and I felt the tower swaying a bit – but it was sturdy enough for me. The view was magnificent! I could barely see a building off in the very far horizon (I am thinking that is Gainesville way out there) There were alot of flowers blooming and there was bird activity everywhere….but out of reach of my camera….and I was running short of time. I have put a photo album of my few better shots from this short visit – but I plan on heading back up there for a weekend trip in the fall or spring. I was told the North Entrance is the best area to see the bison. I did take a quick drive through the campground and saw a couple of deer on the roadside, and a few more turkey also. I know that is will take me a while to even start to check out that 22,000 acres of "the real Florida" but I can promise when I do I will share the adventure with you! Then I was off to O’Leno State Park….

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About notacluegal

Jeanene was born in Pittsburgh, PA. As a young child her family was very active in the outdoors. Things changed when her parents decided to travel down different paths in life and with that decision so went many of the opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. Being lucky to live in the suburbs Jeanene always had a backyard to play in and loved being outdoors. As the years passed she took every opportunity to be outdoors. She bought land in Tennessee and as a single mom moved her young daughter to the mountains. The were many life lessons learned on that mountain. There was no plumbing on the property – or even a house, but that did not stop her. She learned to live off of what was available and built her own cabin from the trees on her property. Those were rough years but the most rewarding. Now Jeanene resides in Tampa, Fl. and works as an office manager full time….but still yeans to be outdoors. Jeanene started “Not a Clue Adventures” to teach everyone she could how wonderful the outdoors are! That camping and fishing and hiking can be done by everyone and at many different levels. Single mom’s no longer have to be afraid to take their sons and daughters outdoors. By working with young couples, single parents and even seniors, she gets to teach others about her love for the outdoors and hopes to open their eyes to new adventures. In 2009, Jeanene completed certification as a Leave No Trace Instructor. She also works closely with the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) and the Florida State Parks. Jeanene is also certified in First Aid/Adult CPR.
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One Response to A quick visit to Payne’s Prairie

  1. Sandra says:

    What a great place to visit. You sure are enjoying getting out and seeing what Florida has to offer. I can always remember an avertisement on tv in New Zealand and it said, "Don\’t leave home till your\’ve seen your own country". You are doing a great job of that.
    Sandra

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