• Florida's Adventure Coast

Authentic Florida Meets Real Florida

(Sarasota, FL) “Authentic Florida Meets Real Florida,” a special event presented by AuthenticFlorida.com to support Florida scrub-jay habitat restoration at Oscar Scherer State Park, is Friday, January 18, 2013, 10-11:30 a.m., at the Girl Scout Event Conference Center, 4740 Cattlemen Road in Sarasota. Emmy Award-winner and author Jack Perkins will serve as master of ceremonies. Speakers include the acclaimed Florida photographer, Clyde Butcher, and award-winning journalist and author Jeff Klinkenberg. The event is sponsored by AuthenticFlorida.com, a travel and lifestyle website devoted to the simple and delightful pleasures of Florida living. Tickets are $30 per person. A box lunch with the speakers follows for an additional $40. All of the ticket sales will support Oscar Scherer State Park’s Florida Scrub-Jay restoration program. The first 100 ticket buyers get a free park pass to Oscar Scherer State Park. For tickets or more information about “Authentic Florida Meets Real Florida,” call 941-483-5956 or visit www.FriendsofOscarScherer.com.

“The idea behind this event is to help the threatened Florida scrub-jay,” says Robin Draper, owner of AuthenticFlorida.com and organizer of this event. “By bringing together three speakers who represent real and authentic Florida, we create a synergy and celebration of Florida’s beauty, character and culture. Our goal is to raise awareness and funds for the Florida scrub-jay habitat at Oscar Scherer State Park.”

According to Tony Clements, Oscar Scherer’s park manager, the Florida scrub-jay, a native to Florida only, is a threatened species that becomes rarer each day as human development projects build over the homes of this low-nesting bird. It was officially listed as a threatened state species by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in 1975 and it was listed as a threatened federal species by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service in 1987.

“Of the hundreds of native bird species living in Florida, only one, the scrub-jay is found nowhere else—they are true Floridians,” says Clements. “And the only place they can survive is in scrub habitat, which is the most endangered ecosystem in our state. There’s less than five percent of scrub habitat left in Florida.” Clements explains that Oscar Scherer’s scrub-jay habitat, which spreads across 462 acres, is one of the last such habitats in Sarasota County. “We want to do more than raise awareness about the plight of the Scrub Jay. We want to save the scrub-jay. This is a call to action.”

Emmy Award-winner Jack Perkins worked for more than 40 years in television and radio, including stints as an NBC News correspondent, and as host of the acclaimed A&E series, Biography. Once dubbed America’s “most literate correspondent” by the Associated Press, Perkins continues to be as active in his retirement. His narrations can be heard on videos for Acadia National Park, the Biltmore estate in North Carolina, and the Edison Museum in Ft. Myers, Florida. He contributes a regular column to Venice Magazine and hosts A Gulf Coast Journal with Jack Perkins on WEDU. Perkins is also a nature photographer, poet and author. His newest book, a memoir, is Finding Moosewood, Finding God.

Clyde Butcher’s powerful, large-scale black and white photographs explore his personal bond with the Florida environment. For more than 50 years, he has been preserving on film the untouched areas of the landscape that surrounds him. Butcher has been honored by the state of Florida with the highest award that can be given to a private citizen: the Artist Hall of Fame Award. He was also privileged to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from the North American Nature Photography Association and given the honor of being Humanitarian of the Year for 2005 from the International University. Butcher has also received the 2011 Distinguished Artist Award from the Florida House in Washington DC and the Sierra Club has given him the Ansel Adams Conservation Award, which is given to a photographer who shows excellence in photography and has contributed to the public awareness of the environment.

Jeff Klinkenberg writes about Florida culture for the Tampa Bay Times, and is the author of several books, including Pilgrim in the Land of Alligators, Seasons of Real Florida and Dispatches from the Land of Flowers. In 2010, Klinkenberg and photographer-videographer Maurice Rivenbark won the national Sigma Delta Chi Award for the online presentation of “Real Florida.” In 2007 and 2009, the American Association of Sunday Features Editors selected a body of Klinkenberg’s work as the best in the nation. He is a two-time winner of the Paul Hansell Distiguished Journalism Award, highest honor in state journalism, given annually to the writer with the best body of work by the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors. He has been an adjunct instructor in the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and was the first “Writer in Residence” for the University of South Florida’s Florida Studies Graduate program. Esquire, Outside, Travel and Leisure, and Audubon are among the magazines that have published his stories.

For tickets or more information about “Authentic Florida Meets Real Florida,” call 941-483-5956.

About AuthenticFlorida.com and Robin Draper

Florida native Robin Draper is the owner of AuthenticFlorida.com, a travel and lifestyle website devoted to the simple and delightful pleasures of Florida living. Authentic Florida is intended to inspire people to discover the accessible, yet under-appreciated reaches of the state. Authentic Florida also invites readers to simplify—whether traveling, cooking, gardening, enjoying art and authors, homes & neighborhoods while discovering uncomplicated ideas for living. Following graduation from American University, Draper spent two years in the Peace Corps on a remote island in Micronesia, where she developed her sense of adventure. She returned to the United States, spending over 20 years in senior management as a fundraiser with United Way, Sonoma State University and the Gulf Coast Community Foundation. Draper’s lifelong passion has been discovering Florida’s enchanting treasures. Some are imbedded in her memory like old photographs, but many are awaiting rediscovery. Reclaiming her authentic Florida heritage has become her life passion and inspirational compass. For more information, visit www.authenticflorida.com.

About Oscar Scherer State Park

A large acreage of scrubby flatwoods makes this park one of the best places to see Florida scrub-jays, a threatened species found only in Florida. The park protects scrubby and pine flatwoods that were once widespread throughout Sarasota County. Fifteen miles of trails through these beautiful natural areas provide opportunities for hiking, bicycling, and wildlife viewing. Canoeists and kayakers can paddle along South Creek, a blackwater stream that flows to the Gulf of Mexico. Canoe and kayak rentals are available, but motorized boats are not permitted in the park boundaries. Freshwater and saltwater fishing are available along the creek. Anglers can fish along the shores of Lake Osprey, which is also the park´s swimming destination. Picnic areas along South Creek are equipped with grills; pavilions can be reserved for a fee. The park has full-facility campsites and a youth/group campground. The park nature center has exhibits and videos about the park´s natural communities. Located on U.S. 41, two miles south of Osprey. For more information, visit www.floridastateparks.org/oscarscherer/.

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