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  • February 09, 2017 11:02 AM | Anonymous

    Friends of Lake Apopka

    Monthly Board Meeting

    February 9, 2017

    Meeting Minutes

    FOLA minutes Feb 2017 Final.docx

  • January 12, 2017 8:28 AM | Rachel Comstock (Administrator)

    Materials from our meetings FOLA Public meetings Jan 2017 (pdf).pdf

    Additional materials from the Winter Garden Meeting Marzolf - FOLA 170110.pdf

    Additional materials from the Apopka Meeting

    LARC presentation - 1-6-17.pdf

    FOLA Public meetings Jan 2017 (1).pdf

  • November 08, 2016 4:32 PM | Anonymous
  • September 12, 2016 10:22 AM | Anonymous

    Friends of Lake Apopka

    Monthly Board Meeting

    September 8, 2016

    • 1.   5:40 P.M.  Call to Order – Oakland Nature Preserve
    • ·        Board member roll call
    •                                          i.    Present: Joe Dunn, Taressa George, Phoebe Gonsalves, Glenn Burns, Theo Graham, Kathy Rigling (for Deborah Green), Tim Bachmeyer, Jim Peterson (Science Adviser)
    •                                         ii.    Absent: Frank Merritt, Rachel Comstock, Dennis Jones, Dennis Refro, Jim Hawley, Tom Johnson, Rick Polland, Eric Sochocki
    • ·        Attendee introductions

    Present: Drew Shatzer, Blake Shatzer, Mary Oakes, Mike Conti,

    John Davis

    • 2.   Treasurer’s Report

    Current balance is $8,532.60.  We had a deposit of $384.37.

    The 2 bikes for Oakland Heritage Festival raffle cost us $631.90. 

    • 3.   Old Business:
    • ·        Acquisition of Hull Island – Jim Peterson

    Because the owner of the Hull Island property (on advice of counsel) would not sign a “willing seller” letter, the completed grant for the purchase of Hull Island was not submitted. The grant application is ready if the sale to a developer falls through. The development still has to be approved by the Town of Oakland.

    • ·        Update: Archive Project – Joshua King

    Joshua began this project to archive and organize more than 20 years of historical articles/papers/etc. in the summer of 2015. He completed scanning the majority of the 830 documents in October of last year, and since then, he has been working exclusively on metadata entries. Joshua graduated from UCF this year, but the university has agreed to allow him to continue using their facilities for this project. FOLA intends to send a thank you note to the university. Joshua expects to complete the project in July 2017.

    • 4.   New Business
    • o   Meeting date change to 2nd Thursday of the month
    • §  Board needs: Lake County, Science, Legislative, Media
    • ·        A Science Committeee needs to be formed to create a draft position for the FOLA Board on:
    • o   MFL (SJRWMD is in the process of formulating their proposed metrics, which includes public meetings this Fall. The District agreed to have meetings with FOLA on specific issues.
    • o   Continued reduction of Phosphorus in the LAKE
    • o   Continued harvest of Gizzard Shad
    • o   Spend plan for $5M/year restoration funds
    • o   Increasing Submerged Aquatic Vegatation
    • o   Specific technology pilot projects
    • ·        FOLA reiterated it’s intent to SJRWMD to continue to have open discussions and a respectful dialogue
    • §  Jim Thomas update
    • ·        Jim is expecting to go home from the rehab facility in 1-2 weeks. He sends his warmest regards and gratitude for all of the hardwork FOLA continues to do.
    • o   Oakland Heritage Festival (10/22) – Taressa George

    ONP/FOLA will have a shared booth at the Heritage Festival and will raffle two bicycles (thank you WheelWorks) and a kayak. Tickets are $1 each or 6 tickets for $5.

    • o   Update: Newton Park waterfront trash
    • §  Sean Lowry; Lake Apopka Kayaking Club

    Approximately 10 people have signed up for the ONP Blue Hike at 8:30am on Saturday, September 10th. The City of Winter Garden Parks Dept. will collect our trash bags and dispose of the waterborne rubbish.

    • o   Update: Habitat Restoration Project, North Shore
    • §  Drew Shatzer: Project Leader

    Next volunteer day is Saturday, September 17th @ Biosphere 9am-1pm.  Drew is also planning a weekday evening session after the planting day (between Sept 20th-22nd) around 4pm.        

    • o   Organization of Public Meeting – Joe Dunn
    • §  “State of the Lake” presentation- need Powerpoint expert

    Consensus of the group was to schedule the 3 public meetings (Winter Garden, Apopka, Lake County) in January 2017

    to start the year fresh and not compete with the Holidays.

    We will send out a broadcast email to FOLA members asking for a graphic artist/PowerPoint expert to help with the presentation

    SJRWMD has given us permission to use the “psychedelic aningha” artwork for a new FOLA t-shirt.

    • o   Next month: Draft By-laws & Paul Faircloth (eco-tourism)

    Consensus of the group was to review the draft by-laws by email and then, if necessary, have a Board-only meeting to discuss contentious issues (if any). It was also suggested that we get a legal review of the “final draft” of the by-laws.

    Our October FOLA Board meeting will focus on Eco-tourism and especially the proposed developments at Magnolia Park. There was a vocal concern about airboats and seaplanes on the lake. An alternative of camouflaged pontoon boats was suggested as a more eco-friendly alternative. Paul Faircloth has requested an opportunity to present to the FOLA Board and Commissioner Bryan Nelson has been invited to address the Board at our October 13th meeting.  Once we have more detailed information, we will have a Board-only meeting to establish FOLA’s position on the Eco-tourim plans.

    • o   Other new business
    • §  3 minute rule

    Board members requested access to the FOLA membership database

    Board members were asked to provide a brief bio and photo for the FOLA website & Facebook page to FOLA Secretary Rachel Comstock ( or

    by September 22nd.

    Phoebe Gonsalves & Taressa George agreed to collaborate on a social media approach for FOLA

    Drew Shatzer agreed to coordinate the volunteer schedule for this years festivals (Oakland Heritage Festival & Winter Garden Music Fest)

    Jim Peterson agreed to update and streamline the historic timeline on the FOLA website

    It was suggested that FOLA consider extending some new membership benefits as an incentive to attract new members

    • 5.    Adjourn 7:00 pm

  • August 09, 2016 7:52 AM | Anonymous

    Friends of Lake Apopka

    Monthly Board Meeting

    August 4, 2016

    • 1.    5:30 P.M.  Call to Order – Oakland Nature Preserve
    • 2.    Treasurer’s Report; $8,730.13 in account
    • 3.    Old Business:
    • a.    Acquisition of Hull Island (Orange County) – Taressa
    •                                                    i.     Oakland Nature Preserve received news from Trust for Public Lands that funds are available through a grant from Florida Communities Trust – The Town of Oakland and ONP are working on submitting an application by the August 30th deadline
    •                                                   ii.     Archaeological studies have been conducted on the site indicating artifacts have been found on the property
    •                                                 iii.     Not sure if the property would have to be rezoned if purchased by a developer and not sure of status of property owner’s willingness to sell to Town/ONP.   
    •                                                 iv.     If anyone has any experience writing grants, contact ONP or the Town
    • b.    Archive Project update – Joshua King will present at the September meeting; discuss at October meeting; will present remaining project and timeline
    • 4.    New Business
    • o   Jim Thomas update - at Health Central Park (in Winter Garden) room 325
    • o   Oakland Heritage Festival (10/22) – Taressa George – If FOLA wants to have a booth at the event, it will need FOLA volunteers to set up the FOLA tent and materials.  The event is from 9a – 4p; Drew will coordinate volunteers for FOLA; sell T-shirts and a Bike raffle; will talk to Wheelworks regarding bike.
    • o   Proposed: Meeting date change to 2nd Thursday of the month- per conversation with those in attendance there is no concern with this. 
    • o   Update: Newton Park waterfront trash- Sean Lowry offered to lead kayak cleanup crew first outing in September
    • o   Habitat Restoration Project, North Shore
    • §  Drew Shatzer: Project Leader- activity at Biosphere on 8/20
    • o   Design new outreach materials
    • §  Taressa George & Ed Aduss will schedule a workgroup meeting
    • 5.    Adjourn

  • June 02, 2016 7:46 AM | Anonymous

    Friends of Lake Apopka

    Monthly Board Meeting Agenda

    June 2, 2016

    ·        1.   5:30 P.M.  Call to Order – Oakland Nature Preserve

    ·        Introductions

    ·        Board Members in attendance

    • Rachel Comstock
    • Taressa George
    • Glenn Burns
    • Jim Hawley
    • Tim Bachmeyer
    • Joe Dunn
    • Tom Johnson

    ·        2.   Treasurer’s Report- Frank wasn’t in attendance

    ·        3.   Old Business:

    o   a.   Jim Thomas update

    o   b.   Acquisition Hull Island, Update – Jim Peterson

      • No new information waiting on public trust to give information on when to move.  Was able to spend $ on appraisal; no action required at this time.   Would be a great addition to ONP.  Approximately 40 acres; near a canal; native American; critical to try to keep as part of the preserve rather than another development;
      • People can contact  to state that they are in support of; main thing waiting on is Amendment 1 funds
      • Legislature wanted to spend Amendment 1 funds on maintenance, salary etc. 
      • Jim Peterson to mobilize us when we need to do something and take action; people can do individually and as FOLA
    • Additional item; Local Hotel had requested a presentation of FOLA; Joe Dunn volunteered;

    ·        4.   New Business

    o   Habitat Restoration Project, North Shore

    §  Planting plan <Jim Thomas had put together a planting plan> If anyone had an electronic copy of this, please provide

    §  Jim Peterson may have Cypress trees from Maria – these are 40 gallon cypress tress

    §  Coordination volunteer needed

    §  1,000 cypress trees June 25th

    • 3 gallon pots for 1,000 tree event

    §  Schedule site with SJRWMD

    §  Discuss flagging methodology

    o   Organization of Public Meeting – Joe Dunn/Jim Peterson

    • Joe is finalizing presentation
    • Will send to board for final review
    • First Draft 7/31
    • Finalize document by 8/30
    • Set date for meeting in August
    • Meeting for September/October
    • Determine when we need to set location- this needs to be finalized by August

    o   Membership Drive – Joe Dunn

    o   FOLA Fundraiser

    • This will come after the public meeting

    o   Addition of new Board Members

    • Jim Thomas wants to add more people to the board
      • Criteria: Passion, impact, willing to raise their hand
      • Need to find original draft of charter to ensure we are following the by-laws

    o   Design new  education materials

    §  Coordination volunteer needed

     Taressa and Ed volunteered

    §  Tablecloths

    §  Festivals starting in September/October

    §  Consider Wings and Wildflower festival(sign up is now)

    §  Taressa to send Rachel the festival list

    o   Upgrade FOLA/ONP Booth - coordination volunteer needed- tie this to the education materials update

    ·        5.   Adjourn

    Minimum Flow Levels presentation by Jim Hawley/Mary Oakes/Will Hawthorne– intent is to share at FOLA public meetings; this is an internal test presentation for what we would want to share; SJRWMD public meetings on MFL will be in August/September

  • February 01, 2016 12:27 PM | Anonymous

    FOLA Board Meeting January 7, 2016 Notes

    • 1.       Call to Order
    • 2.       Treasurers Report-
    • a.       Treasurer is on vacation- no report this month
    • 3.       Old Business
    • a.       FOLA Archives- Introduced Graduate Student from UCF (Josh King)
    •                                                                i.      Summary of what we have done so far
    •                                                              ii.      Information is being archived
    • 1.       Utilizing Riches Geographic Interface
    • a.       Riches data has to have very detailed information and metadata in order for the information to be searchable
    • b.      To date there have been about 800 itemized digitized and approximately 200 items have had metadata updated
    • c.       Also shows the importance of advocacy groups in an environmental
    • d.      Would like to get url published so that others can view information that has been made available so far
    • e.      Also opportunities to do oral history and work with Josh on collecting these
    • b.      Acquisition Hull Island- This is now a FOLA initiative to acquire this land and make it part of ONP. 
    •                                                                i.      Working with Seminole Indian Nation; they have agreed to build a replica village on the site. 
    • 4.       Habitat Enhancement Project, North Shore
    • a.       US Fish and Wildlife determined that based on rules in place, we cannot proceed until current legislation is overwritten- currently states that things cannot be planted that will attract wildlife
    •                                                                i.      Can do other projects   
    • 1.       Landscape areas outside the marsh (for example on Lust Road)
    • a.       Lust Road Entry
    • b.      Jones Road Exit
    • c.       Clay Island Parking lot
    • d.      Overlook at Western End of the parking lot
    • 2.       Waiting on approval then we will proceed
    • 3.       FOLA will do work itself
    • a.       Grow plants
    • b.      Do Planting
    • 4.       Tour of North Shore      
    • a.       Will do another tour of this- Jim will be in touch regarding timing of this
    • b.      Use of North Shore is up ~30k visitors since May
    • c.       SJWMD has agreed to help support this
    • b.      Ecotourism Coalition
    • c.       Newsletter- Digital Newsletter
    •                                                                i.      Jim will be reaching out to get this started and to organize the Newsletter; this needs to get done
    • d.      Organization of Public Meeting-
    • e.      Design New Flyers- Identifies FOLA-
    •                                                                i.      There have been volunteers to help with this- Jim needs to get the information to the volunteers so they can start to draft these
    • f.        Booths at Birdapalooza- February 6th at Magnolia Park; Jim will organize and reach out with what support is needed
    • g.       Membership Drive; will do a drive in conjunction with the Newsletter

  • January 05, 2016 5:31 PM | Anonymous
    FOLA Meeting Minutes_2015Dec.docx

    FOLA Board Meeting December 3, 2015 Notes

    • 1.       Call to Order
    • 2.       Treasurers Report-
    • a.       All $ has been moved to Seacoast Bank- Total is $8,179.98
    • b.      2 waves of membership; via email or US Mail
    • 3.       Old Business
    • a.       FOLA Archives- Completed through the middle 70’s now; this will be archived at UCF; will be one of the largest archive programs that they have
    •                                                                i.      Student that is doing this will come to meeting in January
    •                                                              ii.      Need to determine the budget for this
    • b.      Acquisition Hull Island- Jim met with SJWMD people; will be writing an application for a grant for this.  The owner is anxious to sell and SJWMD has agreed to help with negotiation.  There are not a significant amount of wetlands, but there is archeological value. 
    • c.       Habitat Enhancement Project, North Shore
    •                                                                i.      This project has been put on hold for now
    •                                                              ii.      Will spend some additional time getting SJWMD information regarding the project and what we want to accomplish
    •                                                             iii.      There are Federal Regulations in place that would restrict plantings or other items that would attract new birds and restrictions to planting new trees that would attract nesting; Dennis Renfro from Florida Fish and Wildlife is going to look into regulations as they have a number of projects going on; these rules have been on the books for quite some time; probably can find a way to work through this as the regulations were written for a different purpose but need to sort through this before we determine what our plan is. 
    •                                                            iv.      Also some concern regarding the toxicity of the area and having people working at the location; concern is essentially surrounding the soil work; not necessarily the water; would look to work with SJWMD to test the area
    •                                                              v.      Interim project of focus will be on Educational Center (would like to have this located in a place where there are 4-5 acres available for an Upland Park) and
    •                                                            vi.      Working towards collecting and growing the plants that are needed for the enhancement project
    • 4.       New Business
    • a.       Ecotourism Coalition- meeting must be during work week; Jim working through timing and this will have to wait until after the 1st of the year; Jim to work with the city of Apopka people so we determine how we are working together
    •                                                                i.      Should be a project where we do planting at the Pump House on the North Shore
    •                                                              ii.      Audubon is putting some additional signage/identification at Magnolia Park, and on the wildlife drive with the funds they have already received
    • b.      Newsletter- need to get a newsletter out by the first of the year; need to finalize approach for mailing- should this be the last one that is mailed and notify people that going forward things will be digital
    • c.       Organization of Public Meeting- needs to be scheduled
    • d.      Tour of North Shore- call for a field trip after the first of the year for another tour; to help with planning for planting near pump house
    • e.      Design New Flyers- Identifies FOLA- covers what the main priorities; need a volunteer to work on this to create a new flyer
    • f.        Booths at Birdapalooza- February at Magnolia Park; need a new Poster; need people to be able to talk to what we do
    • g.       Membership Drive; will do a drive in conjunction with the Newsletter
    • h.      T Shirts- found 60-70 old T Shirts from the early ‘90’s.  Completed by SJWMD $ advertise as Vintage FOLA project and will see $25 each- will have available at next FOLA Board Meeting and then possibly annual meeting; or possibly at Birdapoolza- not sure if we can actually sell things; Mike to look into this (but probably not enough shirts to worry about)
    • i.         FOLA Literature- where is the QR code and is this on the information/flyers for FOLA (we should have this on any hand-outs or information that is distributed)
    • j.        Can we get Dr. Shortell on a tour of the North Shore? 
    • k.       Water levels- gates are closed on Apopka; there is some flow through the NERF (sp)
    • l.         Kayak Launch at pump house will not proceed; the launch will go to the park in Lake County
    • m.    Airboat tours- these will potentially still go North even though this will impact the birding- if they go South;  it will impact residential locations and this isn’t the “view” that people want to see. 
    •                                                                i.      Now Airboats need to have muffling systems; some of the noise is not from the engines

  • November 19, 2015 12:22 PM | Anonymous

    FOLA Meeting Minutes

    November 5, 2015

    5:30 P.M. Call to Order- Oakland Nature Preserve

    2.    Treasurer’s Report



    Dues will be due in the third week in November; will e-mail the members that we have email for and US mail for the others- about 50% of people have e-mail addresses

    3.    Old Business:

    ·  FOLA Archives Project- Continuing to go well to get all the information archived; will be housed at UCF and well as on the FOLA and ONP websites

    ·  Acquisition of Hull Island- no change on this; still need to submit an application to the State; Jim to submit an application.  Could be some archeological potential there.  Would be up to the State to negotiate the price. 

    4.    New Business:

    ·  Begin Process, approval of Habitat Enhancement Project, North Shore

    • Most of the plants around the lake are exotic plants
    • Named enhancement project purposefully- as this is not a purist restoration
      • Jim has been evaluating what needs to happen for this to work
        • Determine what types of plants need to be used
        • Jim working on design criteria; working on simplified design
          • Species we want to plant and where we want to plant; this has to go to SJRWMD for approval
          • Needs to go to president of SJRWMD for approval
          • Chairman of governing board will also weigh in
          • Jim to send draft by 11/13; please provide feedback
          • Will we have to buy; do we have to grow?
            • There could be space at a nursery or at the Oakland Preserve  to store the plants
            • We will need space that is roped off and water
            • Need to have volunteers and workforce to be able to do transplanting, cutting of plants; possibly get Dennis to help with spraying the invasive species
            • Groups we could look at
              • AmeriCorps
              • Boy Scouts
              • High Schools and Middle schools have agricultural programs that can help with this; need to provide details
          • Agree to one Saturday per month to work (3rd Saturday of each month) to start in November
        • Work on one pond at a time; not the entire shoreline
        • Landscape with clumps of trees, shrubs and groundcover
      • How do we put together a plan to be able to execute this?
      • FOLA takes on Habitat Enhancement
      • Rest of group (Apopka) takes on the rest of the approvals and building permits etc. 
      • Environmental Center- City of Apopka will make this a focus and work with the Orange Audubon Society
        • With 20 Acre Upland area with trails etc.
      • City of Apopka has petitioned SJWMD to allow the City of Apopka take over the management of this area
      • We will need committees- Jim will send the groups out in email and then will ask for volunteers to lead each group and then participate in each group. 
        • Writing- article in WOT each week
        • Speaking to groups (Rotary’s etc.)
        • Photography- before and after pictures

    ·  Organization of 1 more meeting, Ecotourism Coalition

    • Call one more meeting; afternoon during the week after Thanksgiving; will want to review the proposal for the North Shore

    ·  Newsletter-Digital Only

    • Jim will put together a plan on what we want to have included
    • There are services out there that we could possibly utilize that will assemble the content
    • We do want to highlight the union with the Apopka group

    ·  Organization of a Public Meeting- November

    • Will be held in Tanner Hall; to be held in December or January; evening meeting; will need help with organization and scheduling

    ·  Tour of North Shore

    • Jim creating a plan to be able to landscape the Pump House on the north shore
    • We will do another tour of the North Shore
    • Do as a car pool (so everyone can see the North Shore this time around)

    ·  Politics of proposed marsh restoration

    ·  Design of new flyers

    ·  Booths at Birdapalooza

    • Need new FOLA posters
    • Need Volunteers to work the booths this year

    Other comments/Discussion- Meeting on Nov 11th with Senator Hayes regarding potential ways to clean lake differently.  Chris D’Felize (sp) working with other members of FOLA to pitch the idea to FOLA.  This started with a project to clean the lake. 

    There has been debris that was thrown into the spring (random debris) that blocks the water that is flowing into the spring- the same amount of water is still flowing, but it is not flowing to the top due to the debris being in the way. 

    (name) from the Orange Audubon Society joined the meeting today- they will be the ones that run the Environmental Center on the North Shore

    Concern around water levels in the lake- there is a group that was taking water out. 

    6. Adjourn

    Notes taken by Rachel Comstock

    November 5, 2015

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