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Our Santa Fe River received an email asking how to volunteer to help protect the Santa Fe River through our newsletter comments and I wanted to share this with you because it is the perfect segue to tell you what Our Santa Fe River is up to in the Time of Covid.
I’ll start by introducing myself: my name is Kristin Rubin and I was recently elected to be president of OSFR for at least the next year. As you can imagine it is an incredible honor and comes with a lot of responsibility which is to ensure that OSFR continues its incredible work and maintains its values in protecting the Santa Fe River.
It does not stop at the river’s banks though. As you might know we have been trying to keep corporate from water grabs but to do so would have the SRWMD recognize the almost 20,000 posted comments on their website as part of the 3 prong test: public interest. We have also been in lawsuits, board members also stepping up to be a part of these lawsuits along with Joe Little from Defenders of Florida Environment and the Florida Springs Council.
And did I mention that one voice is barely heard, but hundreds of voices create a din, and with many members we can do that, so please become a member. Your voice can be heard with all the voices that want to stop the water grab and keep our water and keep it clean.
We have also been to county board meetings because of the threat of phosphate mining, at many M-CORES meetings to stop the toll roads and to Tallahassee mostly in regards to ban fracking.
I first met Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson when it was suggested to travel to Tallahassee to protest fracking and go to Florida senators and house representatives to let them know what we wanted: to ban fracking. That was seven years ago!
A few years later I joined OSFR by going to a meeting regarding the threat of phosphate mining in Bradford County and being asked, after many of these meetings, to be a board member.
This brings me full circle to why I am writing this post for our newsletter. I responded to an email from a reader asking how she could volunteer to help the Santa Fe River– just think of what that means for the river!
I wrote back all the events and activities we are doing.
A few volunteers will be at the 441 Farmer’s Market in Gainesville Sat. 9/4. 8:30 am to 10:30 am to ask people to sign a petition for the Right to Clean Water Amendment. Go to www.fl5.org for more information and there are an additional 4 petitions. Go to the www.fl5.org website for instructions on what to download and sign and where to send. The volunteers will be masked with sanitizer, vaccinated also.
The Florida Springs Council is hosting a fundraiser, Save the Soul of the Santa Fe River Concert, September 11 at Heartwood Soundstage in Gainesville to support the legal fund to defeat the water bottling permit that allows Nestle/Blue Triton to sell our water being pumped by Seven Springs Water Company from the Santa Fe River, you might know them as Ginnie Springs. OSFR will have a tabling event there with volunteers. Masked with sanitizer, vaccinated also.
The Santa Fe College invited us to be a part of their Fall 2021 Volunteer Recruitment Event, a tabling event, September 15, at 11am to 2pm. Masked with sanitizer, vaccinated also.
OSFR will have a booth at the Downtown Gainesville Arts Festival November 6 & 7, 2021. Volunteers needed! Masked with sanitizer, vaccinated also.
All of this is to educate and to support those asking us to be a part of their efforts.
OSFR also is in Parknership with Fort White Middle School and Fort White High School with their agriculture and science department to start native river plants from seed and small plantings . What better way to to join hands with people than through education about the Santa Fe River.
OSFR is working with the City of High Springs to bring a Springs Friendly Landscaping project to their historical High Springs High School and working with other groups to invite the community to be a part of this partnership.
OSFR has created a Native Plant garden at Rum 138 – no watering except for the first 2 weeks after planting, no fertilizers and no mowing. Just a couple of hours every season to do some weeding and mulching. Check it out on our website under About Us/Our Achievements.
If you want to volunteer for anything, we can find your niche. You can email me at [email protected].