Friday, January 27, 2023

Franklin- Sea Turtle Release!

Franklin- Sea Turtle Release!

For more info call us at (850) 984-5297 or send us an email at

Panacea, January 26, 2023– Weather dropped to 19℉ in Panacea on December 22nd, 2022 and hands were going numb, and lips were turning blue. Since air has a smaller heat capacity than water, it is relatively easy to warm up when dry, but what if you were wet? Sea turtles can survive in cold water no less than 50℉, so Gulf Specimen Marine Lab and Aquarium (GSML) was quite busy last Christmas with baby cold-stunned sea turtles. Some of which you, the reader, may know of.

The 1st rescue was a 6.4 lbs. green sea turtle who was named Franklin- he was found bobbing in the waters off Alligator Point in Franklin County, FL. When Franklin was picked up and brought in by John Stewart, one of our GSML Americorp Members, he had a heart rate of 14 bpm and a body temperature of 44℉, which was bad.

“It's a proud moment to see this animal back into its native habitat, and it is an honor that Gulf Specimen gets to be a part of its life,” said by Cypress Rudloe, GSML Managing Director. These words ring with truth as sea turtle populations are in continual decline; NOAA (National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration) is implementing a Sea Turtle Observer Requirement Act as of February 24, 2023, to enhance preventative measures of sea turtle harassment, bycatch, and intakes. Governmental acts such as these are part of the numerous cries since the green sea turtle was listed under the Endangered Species Act in 1978.

In the end, Franklin was let loose on January 26, 2023, weighing 7.9 lbs., feisty as ever, back into the same water in which he was found. Without looking back, he paddled 10ft down into the water and bobbed up for air 5 minutes later, seen 15 ft away. After another 5-7 minutes, his head poked out the water a 2nd time 60 ft away. He was undetectable after 10 minutes of release. 

Good luck Franklin. We at GSML wish you the best of life. (:

Gulf Specimen Marine Laboratories l l (850) 984-5297
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Gulf Specimen Marine Laboratories | 222 Clark DrivePO Box 237 Panacea, FL 32346

Franklin County Commissioner Ricky Jones elected Chair of Apalachee Regional Planning Council


Tallahassee, Florida, January 27, 2023 - The Apalachee Regional Planning Council (ARPC) has unanimously selected Franklin County Commissioner Ricky Jones as chair of its 24-member Board.

ARPC is one of 10 regional planning councils in the state. Established in 1977, the Council is a regional convener and provides technical assistance in the program areas of economic/community development, emergency planning, transportation, housing, and resiliency. The Apalachee Region consists of Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, and Wakulla counties and their municipalities. 

Commissioner Jones was first appointed to the Apalachee Regional Planning Council Board in 2017. His drive and determination to facilitate regional collaboration continues to be a defining asset to the Council, and the Region as a whole. “I am honored to serve as ARPC Chair and look forward to continued collaboration on behalf of the Apalachee Region.”

In January of 2020, the ARPC elected Commissioner Jones as Vice Chair under the leadership of Leon County Commissioner Kristin Dozier. “It was a pleasure to serve as Chair of the ARPC Board alongside Commissioner Jones. He demonstrated great thoughtfulness and innovation in the position, and I am confident that Commissioner Jones will continue to provide excellent leadership in his new role as ARPC Chair.”

In addition, the ARPC Board unanimously selected Jackson County Commissioner Jim Peacock as Vice-Chair, and Tallahassee City Commissioner Jack Porter as Secretary/Treasurer. Commissioner Peacock has served on the board since 2016, and Commissioner Porter was first appointed to the board in 2021.

St. George Island is getting closer to having a new playground at the public beach area

St. George Island is getting closer to having a new playground at the public beach area.

The old playground was torn down last year because it was no longer safe to use, so now the county is replacing it with new equipment.

The new playground will not only be safer, but will also be more accessible to children with mobility issues.

The new playground will include a larger play structure for children ages 5-12, a smaller companion structure with integrated shade for children ages 2-5, two independent surface mounted spinner pieces, and approximately 2800 square feet of inclusive turf surfacing.

There will also be a picnic pavilion, landscaping and low-voltage security lighting.

Unfortunately, there won’t be enough space for swings, though a smaller swing set might be placed to the west of the playground.

The equipment is made in America and includes hot dipped galvanized, aluminum, and high-quality PVC components all upgraded for coastal conditions.

The equipment and installation will cost about 288 thousand dollars which will be paid through a state grant, along with money from the St. George Island Civic Club and the Franklin County Tourist Development Council.

Franklin County’s legislative delegation will be in town on January 31st to hear from the public and from local government representatives

Franklin County’s legislative delegation will be in town on January 31st to hear from the public and from local government representatives.


The delegation includes state representative Jason Shoaf and State Senator Cory Simon.


The hearings are a chance for the public to bring up items that the legislature might be able to address during the next legislative session.


The hearings also offer a chance for local officials to request state money for local projects.


The Franklin County Legislative Delegation hearing will begin at 11AM at the Franklin County Courthouse Annex in Apalachicola.


The 2023 Regular session of the Florida Legislature is scheduled to convene on March the 7th in Tallahassee.

Florida strawberries are grown all over, a new discovery in corn, and more UF/IFAS news


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  For the week beginning January 23, 2023

 Hot off the presses! The 2022 Florida's Agriculture and Food System Fast Facts booklet will give you the stats on everything from how much farmland is in the state, to the number of harvested acres of watermelon, to the economic impact of livestock production. It's all in a pocket-sized guide.

Bookmark or download your virtual copy > 
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Below are the most recent research, programs, events and more from UF/IFAS. We can help you cover and localize news to your area; just use the contact links below or reply to this email.

Helping Florida strawberry growers and meeting consumer desires for 70 years

UF/IFAS-developed strawberry varieties grow in more than 50 countries and on every continent except Antarctica. One example is the uniquely colored pineberry, pictured, a newer variety now found on store shelves. Download here > Contact > 

Researchers discover missing piece in corn’s evolutionary history

Ancient ears of corn were about two inches long, with only a few tiny kernels and no cob. Domestication transformed them into modern corn, but how that happened is largely a mystery. Contact > 

What do you wear to a prescribed fire?
A fire scientist explains

In honor of Florida’s Prescribed Fire Awareness Week, we talked with UF/IFAS fire scientist Raelene Crandall about some of the critical tools of prescribed fire work: personal protective equipment, or PPE. Contact > 

Related videoLearn about the importance of using prescribed burns to the health of the forest ecosystem.

Hemp informational sessions offered throughout 2023

The free webinars will share the knowledge gained from the hemp program’s research and Extension efforts over the past four years. Registration for the first session, in February, is available nowContact > 

Miami-Dade 4-H teens head to Washington, D.C., to showcase skills in agricultural tech

The youths' internships last summer had them working to address food insecurity by growing food in unconventional spaces in Overtown. Now, two of the six are taking what they learned to the Ignite by 4-H national conferenceDownload here > Contact >

Citrus irrigation, nutrition updates are topics for Feb. 15 workshop

Sessions will include an update on Best Management Practices in citrus research, using smart-irrigations apps for irrigation scheduling, the impact of micronutrients on young HLB-affected trees and an optional field tour in the afternoon. Contact >



More from UF/IFAS Communications

Our blogs share knowledge: Minimizing pesticide exposure to bees and other pollinators

Luis Rodriguez, UF/IFAS small farms and pesticide education Extension agent in Polk County, says it is a best practice to take extra precautions to protect these important farming assistants. Contact >

Video stories: Chattering squirrels

Bob McCleery, squirrel expert, says the critters will "scold" other animals and even humans when agitated. Contact >

Visual learning: Raising backyard chickens for eggs infographic

Egg prices may have some consumers considering a backyard flock. This infographic informs on chicken raising, drawn from See more infographics > Contact >

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