Where do we start? With whom? And how?
By Theron M. Terhune, Outreach Coordinator
Slurp, Ahhhh, how I love sweet tea. As you well know the best sweet tea is found in the South! And, real sugar is the key to making quality sweet tea - forget all those sweetener alternatives, Aspartame, Splenda, and the like... they just aren't the same. I was at a restaurant in Maryland a few weeks ago, and I asked if they had sweet tea; I should have known the obvious, natural response, "Nope, but we have un-sweet tea with sugar and sweetener right there." I'll have water thank you very much. Now don't get me wrong, there are obvious advantages to these sweeteners like fewer calories, but personally I simply don't wish to settle for anything less than the "real" deal.
I have to say, I am so privileged to become a part of a such premier research station. From the scientists to the staff to the phenomenal views and thundering covey rises, Tall Timbers Research Station & Land Conservancy is the REAL DEAL! During the past three years as a post-doctorate scholar here at Tall Timbers, and already during the past couple of months in this new position, I have quickly learned that the success of Tall Timbers is rooted in the steadfastness of its contributors and members as well as the generosity of the plantation community who are willing to help out, share management knowledge (or secrets; well, at least some of them) and open up their properties for research, conservation, and educational purposes.
The Red Hills region is steeped in tradition and is in its own right unique, picturesque and richly diverse. Here there not only exists a cornucopia of flora (plant) and fauna (wildlife) but a wealth of land management knowledge and a stalwart, communal effort for conservation. With that said, I am struggling with whether this is going to make my job as an Outreach Coordinator easier or more difficult. What can an Outreach Program possibly do to benefit an already thriving region and community? In my mind, this is a question that can only adequately be answered as we move forward and continue to get to know one another and continue to cooperatively work together.
I hope to be able to benefit the Red Hills and Albany area communities by working closely with plantation owners, land managers, and conservation enthusiasts to develop resource and land management tools to save them time and money; improve communication among landowners, managers and other properties; increase the link between land management and research; and provide a conduit for information exchange. An example concept is hosting Land Managers' Luncheons to come together more frequently as a plantation community, while learning about new tools available for land management. For more information about some of these ideas you can visit us on the Outreach web page. As we continue to develop and refine the Outreach Program over the course of the next several months, we hope to glean valuable insight from the Red Hills and greater Albany communities as to how we can better serve you through resource and land management tools, and educational and extension services.
I am excited about the vast research, conservation and outreach opportunities we have in this wonderful region and at Tall Timbers, and I am especially excited to get to know you and learn more about where you are, what you do, and how you do it. Although I come in afresh to this position with several novel ideas and perhaps grand visions of what could be, I DO NOT want to provide unnecessary alternatives to what is already the "real" deal. My intent as the Outreach Coordinator is to "keep it real" with no gimmick-alternatives, no additives and no preservatives, but I can't possibly imagine being successful without your help! Please contact me with any thoughts or ideas that you might have where we can better serve you and the Red Hills community . . . OR, call me (850.893.4153, x268) . . . I'd love to sit down with you and have a nice cold glass of sweet tea and chat about quail, land management or the like.