Yesterday, I received a copy of the FLORIDA RANCHES 2015 Calendar, 10th Anniversary. I have been lucky enough to have received this calendar for many years from various friends and business associates, and this year it was from, Stacy Ranieri, president of the Firefly Group, a public relations agency.
Stacy states: ” While most calendars focus on being visually appealing, ours also strives to educate the public about the importance of Florida’s ranch lands–and the finite and treasured water that flows through them…”
Hmm…water? I thought.
I casually perused the calendar and one quote I keep thinking about since, is one by Mr Bud Adams, who I consider a local hero. My family has lauded him all my entire life; I saw him speak and receive the “Lifetime Achievement Award” from Harbor Branch’s “Love Your Lagoon,” two years ago; and I was in a commercial this year with Mr Adams for Congressman Patrick Murphy’s reelection.
In the write-up, Carlton Ward, who is the photographer for the calendar, and another amazing person from a local ranch family who focuses also on promoting the Florida Wildlife Corridor, perhaps the coolest thing going right now in the state of Florida…(http://floridawildlifecorridor.org) tells a story.
Carlton Ward is talking to Bud Adams, of course many years his senior, and he ask the well-known ranching environmentalist icon: “Mr Adams, would you consider yourself an environmentalist?”
And Mr Bud Adams with a quiet smile replies,” Well son, We’re careful about that word around theses parts. You see, to us, an environmentalist is a Yankee just out of college who comes out here in their air-conditioned car from their air conditioned office and tells us what to do with our land…”
Of course the Adam’s Ranch in known far and wide as being perhaps the most environmentally sensitive ranch in Florida and, as Mr Adams explains in the calendar:
“Most of the water that falls on Adams Ranch does not reach coastal estuaries. All of the water storage and distribution is privately done by Adams Ranch. These waterways never go dry and support fish that control the mosquito larvae. This eliminates the need for mass pesticides and allows for a healthy bee and insect population. …our heat tolerant cattle do not stand in the water and their waste replenishes soil organic matter…” (http://www.adamsranch.com)
Wildlife, from the smallest bunny, to predators at the top of the food chain, like bobcats and some coyotes, are allowed on Adams Ranch. Water is held on the land and the animals are attracted to this water. The water nourishes the land, the cows, and wildlife…with out running off onto dirty roads or carrying what is on the land into the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon.
It is an amazing place, and I have visited with my family many times for tours. Mr Adams is a wildlife photographer himself, like Carlton Ward; His photos are often featured on the last page of Indian River Magazine.
So back to his comment I have been thinking so much about. “We’re careful about that word around theses parts…”
It made me think. My mother is a 5th generation Floridan and my Father is a Yankee… 🙂
Hmmm? What am I?
In any case, the message is that if we environmentalist want to be liked, we must be careful with how we approach those who have been on the land for hundreds of years. This includes ranchers, and yes, farmers too….
No too long ago, ranches used to fill St Lucie County. Even when I was a kid growing up in Martin County in the 1960s and 70s… Indiantown and Palm City also had many ranches.
So many are gone…and now filled with houses. We environmentalists must recognize that development is the greatest threat to our rivers. We should do all we can to keep these working ranches “working” in Florida for the sake of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon.
Florida Ranches Calendar cover, 2015, photo Carlton Ward.
Florida Ranches Calendars are available for purchase at (http://www.fireflyforyou.com)
St Lucie Historical Society: (http://www.stluciehistoricalsociety.org)