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Posts Tagged ‘florida’

Favorite Things About Travel-SUP Radio

Christian Wagley writer of The Paddler's Planet on www.supradioshow.com

Christian Wagley

The Paddler’s Planet by Christian Wagley

One of my favorite things about travel is seeing and appreciating the natural differences that uniquely shape each place and lead thinking people and communities to adapt to live in harmony. Those differences are the reason that landscapes and buildings look different in New Mexico than they do in Florida.


Over the years, I have become much more attuned to my surroundings and anxious to learn about the local conditions wherever I go. Climate, physical forces like waves in the sea and fire on the land, soils, plant communities, and many other natural forces determine the look and feel of every place on Earth. In order to effect positive change on environmental and community issues, this base of knowledge is the foundation of well-informed action.Fernandina_Beach_FL_Amelia_River- Christian Wagley-SUP Radio


A recent trip to Amelia Island, Florida —nearly 400 miles to my east—allowed me to experience the uniqueness of northeast Florida. It’s the same latitude as my home in Pensacola, but the differences between the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean sides of Florida are pronounced. Observing and experiencing the differences helps me refine my own level of awareness and ability to discern what drives the uniqueness of every place.

The coastal landscape of north Florida comes into view many miles from the island, as broad expanses of salt marsh extend nearly to the horizon next to a long and winding road across river and bay. Once in my hotel room, I leave open the sliding glass door so I can clearly see the rising light of dawn and enjoy the sounds of the ocean as waves pushed across the mighty breadth of the Atlantic crash upon the shore.


OysterBed_Masonboro- Christian Wagley-SUP RadioWalking out through the dunes, beaches are wide and flat–a reflection of the high energy of the ocean waves and the broad range of the tides that rise and fall up to eight feet on each cycle. Sands are full of shells whole and broken, indicating the richness of life in the nutrient-rich nearshore waters. The Gulf and inshore waters are dark with life, flowing full of tiny plant life and organic matter swept from the vast marshes and sustaining a very rich aquatic food web that includes the massive piles of oysters exposed at low tide.


All of this contrasts with the coast where I live. Along the northern Gulf waves are small, tidal ranges are only about one foot, beaches are narrower, and pure white sands of mostly quartz cover the beach. Our shorelines have very little salt marsh, and coastal waters run clearer, reflecting a relative paucity of life when compared to the turbid east coast waters.


As one who loves to explore how humans traditionally adapt to local conditions, I set-out to walk the streets. The town of Fernandina Beach is the original settlement on the Island, with many 19th century buildings lining a walkable downtown. Shops, restaurants, and a beautiful 1912 Renaissance Revival-style post office are tucked closely along the street. Wood frame houses with deep porches and live oak trees draped with Spanish moss provide welcome shade from the hot sun.

In an area of many large old homes, there is one street of smaller wood frame homes close along the street—each one with a front porch. I come to one home a little less kempt than the others but ironically showing the most life.Fernandina_Beach_FL-Christian Wagley-SUP Radio

I hear voices from a loud television, as the front door of the home is open, and a well-used wooden screen door allows the sights and sounds of life to flow across a porch that sags just a bit. There’s the silhouette of an older man sitting easily in his big chair in front of the television, with an announcer calling-out election night returns. It looks like he may have lived in this home for much of his life, and I feel some comfort in how many of our basic human actions—including enjoying the familiarity and security of our living spaces—are universal across regions.

Once again I’ve called upon my powers of observation–walking the marshes and beaches, bicycling the town, exploring and observing the wildness of nature and the habits of people. It’s the first thing to do when visiting a new place, and should continue wherever we live and visit. Only by first gathering information, by touching the land and listening to its people, can we know enough to make good decisions about our future.


Saving The Land-SUP Radio


Christian Wagley writer of The Paddler's Planet on www.supradioshow.com

Christian Wagley

The Paddler’s Planet by Christian Wagley

If we want to preserve our waters, and the wild and special places that we love, then we have to preserve the land. Because they are so visible to us we often focus on the tiny patches of land in our yards and neighborhoods. And we should make those spaces beautiful and healthy, but they are too small to drive conservation.

 What really has to happen is to place large areas of land—thousands of acres at a time–into conservation as national and state parks and forests, as well as private nature preserves. These protected lands are very popular with Americans, who flock to these special places to hike, camp, hunt, fish, and generally enjoy the wildness that tugs at us from deep within our psyche. Humans have spent much more of our history living close to nature, and so we continue to have an innate affinity for it.

The Paddler's Planet by Christian Wagley-SUP Radio

Photo by Christian Wagley

However, we also tend to have a hard time living in harmony with the natural world that’s immediately around us. The lights on our porch, the plants in our yards, our dogs and cats, the backyard bird feeder, and even the noise generated from our neighborhoods all disturbs the natural cycles and ways of the natural areas around us.

Where I live in northwest Florida our natural ecosystems depend on fire to recycle nutrients, encourage plants to flower, and to keep the more open landscape favored by animals like gopher tortoises and red-cockaded woodpeckers. These fires happened naturally for thousands of years as lightning bolts ignited the flammable plants, and low-intensity fires burned for weeks at a time over hundreds of thousands of acres.

The Paddler's Planet by Christian Wagley-SUP Radio

Photo by Barbara Albrecht

Today, as homes plop down in the middle of these fire-dependent landscapes, the natural fires are extinguished–starving the land of the very force it needs to remain healthy. So when we look around we see land free of development that we believe is preserved. But without fire, the land and its diversity of plant and animal life die a slow death as it becomes a tangle of thick shrubs that is anything but natural.

Humans are also not very good at restoring what we’ve damaged, or deliberately creating new ecosystems–which actually is not surprising. After all, nature has been creating ecosystems for millions of years, while we’ve only been trying it for a few decades.

For all of these reasons, the benefits of preserving large land areas are incredible. Natural systems need space to ebb and flow, to burn and flood, to wander and explore. They cannot do this easily within and next to our backyards. When we preserve large land areas we can take a step back and allow nature to thrive at its highest level, which includes soaking-up rainfall and delivering purified water into our rivers and streams.

Nearly every U.S. state has a program that buys and preserves wildlands, allowing each of us an opportunity to support these programs and thus help ensure a sustainable future for both people and nature. Florida once had perhaps the nation’s best program, but it has been nearly eliminated by the State legislature over the past several years.

The Paddler's Planet by Christian Wagley-SUP Radio

Photo by Christian Wagley

 In this year’s election, Florida voters will be asked to support Amendment 1, which would establish a land preservation program in the State constitution. This would guarantee the program for 20 years and in a manner in which the whims of the legislators would have no impact. With as much as 7 million acres of Florida’s wilds forecast to be lost by 2060, my fellow residents have a golden opportunity to help preserve our future.

 We must continue to love, respect, protect, and enhance our yards and our neighborhood parks. But we also must see the big picture, and work to save the large and beautiful lands that we love and that love us back with clean air and water, wildlife habitat, and space for human solace and recreation. Our very survival depends on it.

Amendment 1 Florida Water And Land Conservation-SUP Radio

Christian Wagley and Leslie Kolovich at Meet and Greet WPFTP 2013Standing Up for the Planet with Leslie Kolovich and Christian Wagley

Listen to the podcast now:

Today Christian Wagley joins me in the studio to discuss one of the very important Amendments on the Florida ballet November 4th. Floridians care about our lands, state parks, and water. Protecting them has been of great importance, in fact Florida had one of the best land and water conservation plans in the country until the last several years. We must stand up to bring back the protection for our land and water here in Florida.  Florida Water and Land Conservation, Amendment #1  is a coalition of the conservation and civic organizations, businesses and concerned citizens who together succeeded in gathering nearly 1 million signatures from Florida voters and placing Amendment 1: the Water and Land Conservation Amendment on the November 2014 ballot.  This amendment will ensure all of the cherished rivers, lakes, springs and our coastal waters are protected for generations to come. For more information on Amendment 1 visit the website at Voteyeson1fl.org Please share this information with as many as you can. Every Vote Counts!VoteYes1 Florida Amendment 1

Christian is here in South Walton as a guest speaker for the South Walton Community Council  as part of their Public Forum Series  this Thursday October 23, 2014 at 7pm at the Coastal Branch Library on Highway 331. He is presenting a pictorial journey called, “The Beaches Are Moving“. Christian is a wonderful speaker with so much knowledge on Florida environment, you won’t want to miss this!


Martin Theatre In Panama City Florida-SUP Radio

Leslie Kolovich Founder/Producer SUP RadioSoulful Uplifting People with Leslie Kolovich

Enjoy the Podcast now:


Joining me today is my friend Stephen LaDow with the Martin Theatre in Panama City, Florida.  This Art Deco theatre first opened it’s doors in 1936 as a movie house. Stephen tells us more of the fascinating history of this theatre including it’s WWII fundraising efforts to sell war bonds, and airplanes actually landing on Harrison Avenue in front of the theatre.Martin Theatre Panama City Florida

The art scene in the city has grown a great deal in the past decade or more with this theatre as it’s crown jewel. It is all encompassing for the arts as it not only hosts theatrical productions, but shows classic films on it’s big screen once a month, and has live music tribute shows, and it’s green room is available to rent for special events like weddings.

Opening this Friday, October 10th is a comedy  called “Funny Little Thing Called Love” written by Jesse Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten. Stephen tell us it is very funny be prepared to bust a gut!  Opening night there will be a champagne reception after the show along with a meet and greet with the actors.  Sunday and Thursday the theatre is offering a special promotion of buy one ticket get one free. Tickets are on sale online or by calling the box office 850-763-8080 ext 202 visit their website at www.martintheatre.com

It’s always a pleasure talking with someone who is passionate for the arts! Thank You Stephen LaDow!

Continue To Defend Topsail Hill Preserve-SUP Radio

Leslie Kolovich Founder/Producer SUP RadioStanding Up for the Planet with Leslie Kolovich


What is the big secret that our county commissioner and TDC Executive Director is keeping?
Listen Now:



Walton County BCC has scheduled another public hearing for the Topsail Hill Preserve State Park proposed new beach access, September 29th, 2014 at 5pm central time, at the Walton County Annex off of highway 331 in South Walton County.


Joining me today with an update on this very important issue is Celeste Cobena. Once again Topsail Hill continues to be a hot topic, and apparently commissioner Cindy Meadows and Executive Director of the Walton County Tourist Development Council, Jim Bagby have new information that they are not sharing publicly at this time.

Celeste gives us her take on what is happening with this proposal and with credible information believes they are trying to push through another idea for placement of the access.  Her message is this, we do not need a second access through the Preserve. Residents should utilize the access and facilities that already exist at Topsail Hill. Celeste gives us information about the management plan, the history of the Preserve, and tells us why it is so important not to destroy “the last” piece of natural coastal scrub, and how even a bridge or a boardwalk is harmful to the delicate eco-systems of the area.

I believe it is important to stand up for our state Preserves and Parks, because once they are gone they are gone. Ask yourself, “why do I love this area so much?”  Is it because of the beautiful white beaches with dunes, our beautiful emerald colored water, or our forests, or our amazing bird habitats and wildlife, or the jewels of our area, our coastal dune lakes?  If you answered  yes to any of these, (which I am sure all of you did) then you really need to come to the meeting and tell the commissioners and TDC you do not want another access through Topsail Hill Preserve State Park.

“We will keep talking about this until we get in writing that this is not going to happen”~ Celeste Cobena

For more information Celeste is available by phone or email: 850-267-2227 or beachtobay@mchsi.com


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