With the COVID-19 pandemic showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon, we have reluctantly concluded that it is not safe for us to host group outings this fall as we have done in the past. It would be extremely difficult for our volunteer field trip leaders to observe the necessary social distancing and other precautions to keep themselves and attendees protected, and still be able to help participants see and hear birds encountered on the walk. We regret having to make this decision, but we just aren't willing to risk the health of our volunteers and bird walk participants.
However, our Crosby Sanctuary conservation property in Orange Park is a perfect place to get some outdoor time on your own in a beautiful natural setting, so beginning in September we're resuming our monthly Crosby Open House events on the fourth Saturday of every month. The gates will be opened at 8 am and you can explore the preserve on your own until we close the gates at 12 noon. There are approximately 2.5 miles of hiking trails through the preserve, and walking the full trails will take about 1.5 - 2 hours, depending on your walking speed. No group activities will be offered during the Open House - it's just an opportunity for folks to enjoy nature in our favorite place. More information on these monthly events will be posted soon.
We are also pivoting to presenting our monthly informational programs online via Zoom and our Facebook page rather than hosting in-person meetings at a physical location. The first program will be presented on Monday, September 21st, and we have exciting programs lined up for the rest of the year as well. Details and instructions for Zoom participation will be available soon on our website as well as our Meetup page and social media outlets.
The worldwide health crisis has resulted in abrupt changes in normal activities for just about everyone, and we at Duval Audubon Society appreciate your patience and understanding as we adapt to what may be the new normal. Our focus on sharing our love of birds and nature hasn't changed, though, and we very much look forward to the day when we can safely offer bird walks and field trips again.
--Carol Bailey-White, President