Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Local Author receives national recognition

LAKE BUENA VISTA — The Annual 2018 Florida Authors and Publishers Association President’s Book Awards recognized “10 Adventures and More in Lee and Collier Counties: Florida on Land and Water” by Alice Oldford, in the category of Sports and Recreation, as a Gold medal winner. Hosted by the Florida Authors and Publishers Association, this prestigious national award is open to books published between 2017 and 2018. The judges for this national competition are librarians, educators, and publishing professionals. “The FAPA President’s Book Award exists to promote excellence in the publishing industry by recognizing talented contemporary authors who put both heart and soul into their work. FAPA is proud to be a champion of authors and publishers going the extra mile to produce books of excellence in every aspect.” said Jane R. Wood, Past President of FAPA. “10 Adventures and More in Lee and Collier Counties: Florida on Land and Water” is a non-fiction book, published by Create Space, which invites readers to enjoy an active outdoor experience in bustling Lee and Collier Counties while also learning some local history. How did the Monday Group, a bunch of 1970s teenagers, influence development of Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve and Manatee Park? This book was almost derailed by Hurricane Irma, but Mother Nature has healed the wounds and offers great adventures right in our own back yards. Medals were awarded at the annual FAPA President’s Book Awards Banquet held this year at the Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace in the Disney Springs area of Lake Buena Vista, Florida. “We are proud to announce this year’s winners who truly embody the excellence this award was created to celebrate. Their works are representative of the creative storytelling, bold concepts and innovative ideas which makes the President’s Book Awards so well respected by librarians and those in the publishing industry. This year was no exception as we had a record number of nominations! We salute all of our winners for their fine work.” said FAPA’s President, Angelina Assanti. The Florida Authors & Publishers Association is an organization for authors, publishers, illustrators, editors, printers, and other professionals involved in the publishing industry. It focuses on providing the highest quality of information, resources, and professional development to members and others interested in the writing and publishing profession.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Time for an Adventure

It's May, and it seems rainy season is here in Florida -- a new adventure. Hurricane damage is almost healed. Lakes, ponds and rivers are re-filling. Vegetation is smiling. Creatures are celebrating new  birth. Time to enjoy an adventure with nature. Need some suggestions?
Check out "10 Adventures and More in Lee and Collier Counties: Florida on Land and Water."

Monday, July 24, 2017

Out for a walk?

Loon Echo Land Trust is a non-profit dedicated to protecting land in the northern Sebago lake region.

In 2017 it celebrates its 30th anniversary with 6700 acres preserved. Currently there are 13 parks preserved for multi-use recreational opportunities.

It was my good fortune to hike Raymond Community Forest, an amazing community vision, consisting of 356 acres including much of Pismire Mountain and a large forested area beside Crescent Lake.

There are 3+ miles of multi-use loop trails offering scenic views overlooking Crescent Lake and a moderate hike up the mountain. What is your pleasure – wildflowers, wildlife, views, photography, or just out for a walk.  I enjoyed viewing a mushroom community growing on a stump.

Check out the Loon Echo Land Trust website at to download a trail map.

A great choice in all seasons.

Trail head parking is located on Conesca Rd.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

ECHO - Reducing Hunger Worldwide

Did you know there is a 50+ acre farm right in North Ft Myers dedicated to reducing hunger one small-scale farm at a time?

ECHO staff and interns develop, test and utilize techniques to promote sustainable hunger solutions throughout the world. Who knew?

I was fortunate to take a guided tour of the farm recently. I learned first-hand what is grown and why. Local sustainability is key. How do farmers get water where needed or vice versa control it? What is the nutritional value? Where do the seeds come from, and how quickly do they mature, critical information for desperately starving people.

I learned something about the fast growing moringa tree. The guide caught my attention when he described the moringa tree as a miracle tree edible from its roots, flowers, leaves, seeds, gum, fruits and bark. Nutritionally speaking leaves are 27%protein and offer 7 x the amount of vitamin C as oranges, 4x the vitamin A of carrots and 4x the calcium of milk by dry weight. In addition to offering more nutrition than spinach, it is used to treat many conditions including malnutrition, inflammation, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, gastrointentinal and hepatorenal disorders as well as compromised immunity. As you might imagine I had to have one of these trees for my Florida home. I will keep you posted on its growth.

So much more to know from creating manure tea for fertilizer to producing methane gas for cooking to creating watering systems to growing in unfriendly conditions. Carpet gardening? Check out the techniques.

There is even a community garden.

I highly recommend the 90-minute tour. Visit the bookstore and shop the global nursery. For hours and additional information check


Sunday, December 25, 2016

A Walk in the Park in Ireland

John F. Kennedy Memorial Park & Arboretum
Did you know there is an arboretum dedicated to the memory of John F. Kennedy located in County Wexford Ireland between Kilkenny and Waterford?

After Kennedy’s death in 1963 US citizens of Irish origin initiated an idea for a memorial in Ireland. The Irish government suggested it take the form of an arboretum. The Arboretum was opened formally in May 1968 and today boasts 252 hectares, which is 25,200 acres. There are 4500 species and varieties of trees, shrubs, climbing plants and woody ground cover acquired from around the world.

My sister and I had the good fortune of visiting this park on a recent trip to Ireland. Although my photos don’t really do it justice, the views are incredible. The visitor center offers highlights from his family’s life during his time as president.  We were touched by the quality of the exhibits. We loved that the park is a celebration of trees.

There are roads, trails, picnic areas, tea rooms and a lake making this an ideal place for locals to spend the day enjoying. Seasonally, you can even take advantage of the sites via a miniature railway as well as a pony and trap service.

Check out the ongoing activities.