All the photos shown here were taken within the past year
The changing of the guard at Our Santa Fe River has come and gone with nary a missed heartbeat. Our new president Pam Smith was previously well informed of our workings and is already at the forefront leading us onward.
Our former strong leader Merrillee is now our new Policy Director who, with the help of the board and volunteers, works at establishing and executing our policies and aims. She is the outreach person who represents OSFR most frequently to the public, often at the innumerable meetings of environmental groups, county and city commissioners, water management boards, and legislators, and who presents educational lectures at libraries, community centers and churches.
Merrillee’s mission is that of OSFR, primarily education. During the last legislative session it was quickly and obviously apparent that many of those who are in decision-making positions of authority, are totally and woefully uninformed as to basic environmental concepts.
When Merrillee attends a county commissioner’s meeting in a county seat, or a subcommittee hearing in Tallahassee, she prepares ahead of time by sending packets of information to each commissioner and/or committee member. Then when she appears on the agenda at the meeting, she brings hard copies and passes them out the everyone sitting behind the tables—commissioners, county planners, lawyers, reporters, everyone. Even though she may not be able to make them read it, she makes sure the key people have the information in their hands, When given the time and opportunity, Merrillee also has a prepared Powerpoint slide presentation on whatever topic is at hand.
Current and ongoing projects which consume Merrillee’s time are the following:
Fracking – she is one of 4 key leaders in state-wide anti-fracking coalition
Excessive Water Permits—these continue in spite of impaired waterways, in defiance of FL law
Boat Safety on the Santa Fe—too much traffic too fast
Smithsonian Museum traveling exhibit—possibly awarded to High Springs
Photo Archives – vintage photos of the SFR
Information Booth Presence— this can be at local functions and conferences
Annual Song Contest- presented in Oct. at Rum 138, in 6th year
TV and radio interviews—in Gainesville, Tampa, Lake City, Leesburg, GA and others
Opinion-editorials—co-written with OSFR historian, often requested by newspapers
Recruits and supervises interns—two have stayed on to become board members.