A Guided Tour of Native Florida in SCC

A Guided Tour of Native Florida in SCC

A Guided Tour of Native Florida, Right Here in SCC

By Diane M. Loeffler

On the first Tuesday of the month, without fail, John Lampkin is at the West Campus Nature Trails at 9 a.m. ready to take you on a free tour. This is your chance to see how this area once appeared and to learn from someone who is knowledgeable and enthusiastic. You certainly will not be bored!

The latter part of August was quite wet, so when I decided to take the tour on September 1, I wore boots. Figuring that mosquitoes like wet places, I put on a lightweight, long-sleeved shirt and long pants. I sprayed some bug repellant on my neck and hands and was ready to go.

Lampkin begins his tour at the canal that runs under West Del Webb. The canal is part of a system of ponds, lakes and canals Del Webb dug to drain the area for development.

Lampkin points out the non-native grasses and the native plants surrounding the canal. Three years ago, a grant for $20,000 was given to help clean out the non-native species that were taking over the canal area, since club volunteers clear out the area by hand. A combination of donations and dues from the SCC Audubon Club help fund periodic assistance from an outside service to remove invasive plants.

Entering the forested area, you will walk through the Mesic Pine Flatwoods ecosystem. You will also see the shady, closed canopy flatwoods area. There are many oak trees including one Lampkin says is, “at least 200 years old judging from the diameter of its trunk.”

There is a large area of saw palmettos. Saw palmettos are spread by rhizomes. The saw palmettos we see here could well be part of a very, very old plant. Only three percent of Florida’s longleaf pines remain, so seeing a virgin stand in our little trail area is very exciting. Lampkin says, “You can tell this is an old area because you can distinctly see four generations of longleaf pines next to each other.”

On the tour, Lampkin points out all sorts of bugs, spiders, lizards and birds. He shows you where they nest, the plants that feed them and the flowers they pollinate. Best of all, he knows the names of the plants, animals and insects.

Like me, you may see turtle eggs on a sandy mound. Lampkin shows you the wasps, bees, and butterflies feeding on flowers and laying eggs on leaves. Some of the creatures are very, very tiny. Lampkin often took photos and then enlarged them so that I could see the detail of the plants and of the life forms on them.

One of the smallest flowers was on a hatpin plant. Lampkin says, “When I first saw it, I thought, what kind of insect will pollinate that? As I observed it over the years, I found 26 species that pollinate it.” By the way, Lampkin also keeps track of all the species of bees and butterflies that make the trail area their home. Ray Webb (not a relative of Del Webb) keeps a record of all the types of birds in the trail area.

Lampkin says, “People may not realize it, but the landscape here is very harsh. Plants and animals must learn to adapt to dry springs and very wet summers. Turtles and some insects lay their eggs in the ground and must find a place higher than where the water will rise.”

In nature, areas such as this would periodically catch fire and the cycle of growth and life would begin anew.

The trails were the brainchild of Mike Raff and were originally maintained by the Hiking Club. The SCC Audubon Club took over in 2015. In 2018, the SCC Audubon Club and the Community Association won 2018 Environmental Project of the Year from the Tampa Bay Association of Environmental Professionals. Club volunteers maintain the area with help from the Community Association staff who mow the paths.

The trail is on the west side West Del Webb, north of Seton Hall Drive and south of Vincennes Drive. There is no car parking there, but you can drive your golf cart over the grass to a marked parking area under the trees. You should leave your cart there as golf carts are not allowed on the trails.

Wear closed toe shoes or boots so that you don’t trip over any roots or stumble on uneven areas. You may wish to spray some insect repellant on any uncovered skin. You can learn more about the trails at “www.sccauduboclub.com/nature-trails”. You can also learn about Florida ecosystems at “www.fnai.org”.

Visit the trail whenever you can for a peaceful walk and some time with nature. Also, consider marking “9 a.m. the first Tuesday of the month” on your calendar. You will be amazed at all there is to see when John Lampkin is your guide.

If you wish to know more about the Audubon Club, contact Mary Duncan at 813 260-3322.

 

IN THE PHOTO: 

John Lampkin conducts tours of the West Nature Trail path. Lampkin uses his experience as a musician and naturalist to make YouTube videos. He has won awards for his nature photography including one of a palmetto skipper for the American Butterfly Association’s magazine.

Local HLAA Members Make Windowed Masks

Local HLAA Members Make Windowed Masks

Local HLAA Members Make Windowed MasksBy Paula Lickfeldt Imagine being deaf or hearing impaired and using lip-reading as a way of conversing. Now imagine the onset of a pandemic that causes everyone to wear a mask over their mouth, rendering lip-reading...

A National Award for our Emergency Squad and All of Us

A National Award for our Emergency Squad and All of Us

A National Award for our Emergency Squad and All of UsBy Diane M. Loeffler Congratulations to the Sun City Center Emergency Squad. The nation has recognized what we already know, our squad is amazing! Actually, we are all amazing because we support our...

The October 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

The October 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

In this issue… We relive the fun of the Chamber Business Expo, indulge in a delicious sweet treat, meet some local crafters who are helping people with hearing loss, celebrate the SCC Emergency Squad’s and MOAA’s national awards, learn about...

Chamber Gets Creative with Fall Business Expo

Chamber Gets Creative with Fall Business Expo

Chamber Gets Creative with Fall Business Expo By Bob Sanchez On a warm and sunny Saturday, August 28, the Sun City Center Area Chamber of Commerce held its “Out-of-the-Ordinary” Annual Fall Business Expo Drive Thru in the parking lot of the Prince of Peace...

The September 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

The September 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

In this issue… We tip our hat in appreciation to longtime community leader, Sam Sudman; sail across the Pacific with some SCC friends; catch up with those industrious Model Railroaders; get a taste of the good food at CC’s Grill; relive a fun...

Fall Business Expo August 28

Fall Business Expo August 28

The Sun City Area Chamber of Commerce presents their Annual Fall Business Expo, a Drive-Thru Event, on Friday, August 28, 2020, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. LocationPrince of Peace Catholic Church702 Valley Forge Blvd. in SCC Claim Your Goodie Bag!This year, Fall...

Local HLAA Members Make Windowed Masks

Local HLAA Members Make Windowed Masks

Local HLAA Members Make Windowed Masks

By Paula Lickfeldt

Imagine being deaf or hearing impaired and using lip-reading as a way of conversing. Now imagine the onset of a pandemic that causes everyone to wear a mask over their mouth, rendering lip-reading impossible.

Eloise Schwarz is the leader of the HLAA Sun City Center Chapter. Realizing that hearing impaired and deaf people needed some sort of a windowed mask, she set out to find a pattern for making windowed masks and to recruit people to help make them. A dedicated sewing team made up of Carol Zeller, team captain, and seamstresses Jan Ring, Nancy Carrier, Mary Christiano, Kathy Moore, Kathy Yeager, Pam Davis, Sally Foree, Carol Aberzik, and Eloise Schwarz all stepped forward to help.

The Clear Mask Campaign offers windowed masks for hard of hearing people and their caregivers in SCC free for the asking on a first-come, first-served basis. Donations may be made when the mask is received. The SCC Chamber of Commerce is the location where the masks can be picked up after being ordered at the chamber. The SCC Men’s Club and the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay are co-sponsors of the Clear Mask Campaign in SCC. These masks take some time to make, but they allow the user to smile and to see each other’s mouths for talking. The elastic bands circle the head instead of hooking behind the ears.  This saves hearing aids and/or the implants from falling off the head when removing the mask.

 

IN THE PHOTO: (L to R) Eloise Schwarz, Sally Foree, Nancy Carrier, Jan Ring, Kathy Moore, Carol Zeller, Kathy Yeager.

Local HLAA Members Make Windowed Masks

Local HLAA Members Make Windowed Masks

Local HLAA Members Make Windowed MasksBy Paula Lickfeldt Imagine being deaf or hearing impaired and using lip-reading as a way of conversing. Now imagine the onset of a pandemic that causes everyone to wear a mask over their mouth, rendering lip-reading...

A National Award for our Emergency Squad and All of Us

A National Award for our Emergency Squad and All of Us

A National Award for our Emergency Squad and All of UsBy Diane M. Loeffler Congratulations to the Sun City Center Emergency Squad. The nation has recognized what we already know, our squad is amazing! Actually, we are all amazing because we support our...

The October 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

The October 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

In this issue… We relive the fun of the Chamber Business Expo, indulge in a delicious sweet treat, meet some local crafters who are helping people with hearing loss, celebrate the SCC Emergency Squad’s and MOAA’s national awards, learn about...

Chamber Gets Creative with Fall Business Expo

Chamber Gets Creative with Fall Business Expo

Chamber Gets Creative with Fall Business Expo By Bob Sanchez On a warm and sunny Saturday, August 28, the Sun City Center Area Chamber of Commerce held its “Out-of-the-Ordinary” Annual Fall Business Expo Drive Thru in the parking lot of the Prince of Peace...

The September 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

The September 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

In this issue… We tip our hat in appreciation to longtime community leader, Sam Sudman; sail across the Pacific with some SCC friends; catch up with those industrious Model Railroaders; get a taste of the good food at CC’s Grill; relive a fun...

Fall Business Expo August 28

Fall Business Expo August 28

The Sun City Area Chamber of Commerce presents their Annual Fall Business Expo, a Drive-Thru Event, on Friday, August 28, 2020, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. LocationPrince of Peace Catholic Church702 Valley Forge Blvd. in SCC Claim Your Goodie Bag!This year, Fall...

A National Award for our Emergency Squad and All of Us

A National Award for our Emergency Squad and All of Us

A National Award for our Emergency Squad and All of Us

By Diane M. Loeffler

Congratulations to the Sun City Center Emergency Squad. The nation has recognized what we already know, our squad is amazing! Actually, we are all amazing because we support our Squad in so many ways.

On August 12, we learned that our local Emergency Squad (Squad) was recognized nationally as “Volunteer Rescue Squad” of the year for “Outstanding Service and Professionalism.” The award was given by the professional organization representing Emergency Medical Squads, EMS WORLD. The Squad received a plaque and $1,000. The September EMS WORLD journal will have an article about the Squad.

In a recorded statement, Chief Mike Bardell said, “It is an honor to be selected for such a prestigious award. In times that we find ourselves in, you begin to wonder will it ever end. Being recognized at this time certainly makes you feel you’ve made a difference. On behalf of the over 400 volunteers, I accept and thank you for this award.”

Bardell adds, “This award is for everyone, not just the Squad. It is for the community that supports us and all of the people who went before.”

As of September 2020, the Squad has been serving area residents for 56 years.

Assistant Chief of Communications, Robin Watt, says, “We would like to thank all of our volunteers as well as our community. Without the continued support of our residents, we would not be here. But I also think the leadership of our Chief, Deputy and Assistant Chiefs, the Chief Financial Officer and Board play a large role.” She adds, “This award speaks to the community support we have gotten for so long.”

Most of the Emergency Squad volunteers are residents of Sun City Center’s Community Association and Kings Point. Others come from the community at large, Sebring, Orlando, Pasco County, Manatee County and the University of Southern Florida.

 

Who Else is Recognizing Our Squad?

A radio program in San Francisco interviewed Chief Bardell and others. The Squad was also talked about on PBS Front Line. Speaking of the volunteers, Bardell says, “I am glad they are getting the recognition they deserve.”

Over the years, our Emergency Squad has had visitors from as close as The Villages and as far away as overseas. They all want to know how the Squad operates and how to set up something similar in their communities.

 

Working with Colleges

Did you know that Hillsborough County Community College students accompany our Squad sometimes? They are students studying to be EMTs or Paramedics who are required to ride along for 36 hours. Bardell says, “These are the people who will someday care for us. From us, they learn to listen. Really listening to patients is a culture in this squad. If someone is dying, how are you going to go about caring for them and making them feel not alone? They learn by example to calm the patients and to do things like drive 5 m.p.h. over speed bumps when transporting someone with a broken hip. We teach them to be considerate. This will make them more compassionate in the future.”

 

Operating in the Time of COVID-19

Being appreciated is always a good feeling. During this time of quarantines, masks, and restrictions, many of us have had a difficult time being happy and optimistic. Receiving a national award is a real boost for the Squad at a time when we could all use some good news.

Speaking of good news, there have been no cases of COVID-19 in the Squad. The Squad continues to take the temperatures of everyone who enters the building and  to practice advanced safety precautions. Robin Watt says, “We have three people in here every day to oversee protocols to keep people and equipment safe.” These measures are monitored and overseen by Tina Drury, Deputy Chief in Charge of Operations, Shirley Bardell, Chief of Education and Medical, and Chief Mike Bardell.

Bardell says, “When the virus hit, I thought we would have to shut down. If we don’t have volunteers, we don’t exist. People still have strokes, people still fall down, would we have the volunteers we needed? By March 12, I knew we would be fine.”

Drury says, “We had some volunteers opt out and some are doing different jobs, but most volunteers are continuing as usual. If the schedule is tight for a shift, people have volunteered to come in an extra day.”

Additional volunteers are always needed. Training programs continue with all safety measures in place. Human Resources Director, Assistant Chief Chris McCann works with volunteers. She asked one trainee, “Do you feel safe?” The answer was, “Absolutely. I don’t have any fear at all.”

 

And the Story Continues

Recently a crew of 30-somethings visited our Squad for two days. The intent was to make a documentary about the Squad continuing during the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Bardell says, “You should have seen the look on their faces when they saw the volunteers. They were surprised at the ages of the volunteers and the enthusiasm they saw.” One cannot help but wonder, in the end will the documentary focus more on the virus or on the great things seniors in a volunteer-based community can do?

 

Did You Know?

The average age of the 400 Emergency Squad volunteers is 72. The Emergency Squad is the only all-volunteer, all free ambulance service in the state. It doesn’t accept insurance and doesn’t use any tax money. It is completely funded by the community.

The Squad owns its building in front of the shopping strip and also the training center on South Pebble Beach Boulevard. The main building was constructed by Del Webb in 1964. Over the years, it has been expanded and updated. The training center was donated to the Squad by the former volunteer fire department.

Emergency Squad volunteers are trained and have ongoing education to keep their certification and update their knowledge. Volunteers report a feeling of camaraderie and family.

You can borrow wheelchairs, walkers and other assistive items for free.

The Squad works with other organizations to educate people about health concerns and disaster preparedness. They also offer fall prevention presentations, Stop the Bleed training, and CPR training. They work with the University of South Florida Institute for Government and Business on community needs assessments.

Squad members are active participants in emergency squad related meetings and committees both at the state and county level. Call Chris McCann at 813-634-1411 for information on how to become a part of the neighbor helping neighbor family.

The Sun City Center Emergency Squad were recognized by the county commissioners in 2016 and 2020. On June, 2013 they were recognized by the Florida Council on Aging as the top EMS agency in the state for its service to seniors. Most recently, they have won the Volunteer Rescue Squad of the Year for Outstanding Service and Professionalism.

On behalf of grateful people throughout the area, thank you, Emergency Squad Volunteers. You are the best.

Local HLAA Members Make Windowed Masks

Local HLAA Members Make Windowed Masks

Local HLAA Members Make Windowed MasksBy Paula Lickfeldt Imagine being deaf or hearing impaired and using lip-reading as a way of conversing. Now imagine the onset of a pandemic that causes everyone to wear a mask over their mouth, rendering lip-reading...

A National Award for our Emergency Squad and All of Us

A National Award for our Emergency Squad and All of Us

A National Award for our Emergency Squad and All of UsBy Diane M. Loeffler Congratulations to the Sun City Center Emergency Squad. The nation has recognized what we already know, our squad is amazing! Actually, we are all amazing because we support our...

The October 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

The October 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

In this issue… We relive the fun of the Chamber Business Expo, indulge in a delicious sweet treat, meet some local crafters who are helping people with hearing loss, celebrate the SCC Emergency Squad’s and MOAA’s national awards, learn about...

Chamber Gets Creative with Fall Business Expo

Chamber Gets Creative with Fall Business Expo

Chamber Gets Creative with Fall Business Expo By Bob Sanchez On a warm and sunny Saturday, August 28, the Sun City Center Area Chamber of Commerce held its “Out-of-the-Ordinary” Annual Fall Business Expo Drive Thru in the parking lot of the Prince of Peace...

The September 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

The September 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

In this issue… We tip our hat in appreciation to longtime community leader, Sam Sudman; sail across the Pacific with some SCC friends; catch up with those industrious Model Railroaders; get a taste of the good food at CC’s Grill; relive a fun...

Fall Business Expo August 28

Fall Business Expo August 28

The Sun City Area Chamber of Commerce presents their Annual Fall Business Expo, a Drive-Thru Event, on Friday, August 28, 2020, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. LocationPrince of Peace Catholic Church702 Valley Forge Blvd. in SCC Claim Your Goodie Bag!This year, Fall...

The October 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

The October 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

In this issue…

We relive the fun of the Chamber Business Expo, indulge in a delicious sweet treat, meet some local crafters who are helping people with hearing loss, celebrate the SCC Emergency Squad’s and MOAA’s national awards, learn about South Bay Hospital’s new visitor policy, catch up with the Elegant Garden Club, meet a new and interesting neighbor, and blow out candles with a local centenarian. Then, we take a guided tour of native Florida right here in SCC, see some award-winning photos, and learn about the SCC Community Association’s new construction plans…

And be sure to check out the Club, Community, South County, and Military sections to help you plan your month.

Read the October 2020 Issue of The News

Florida is in Phase 3. Get the latest updates.

Hillsborough County has a new testing reservation line. Call 888.513.6321 to make an appointment for a test at any of the seven county testing locations, including three in South County:

Redeemer Lutheran Church, 701 Valley Forge Blvd., Sun City Center

Wimauma Opportunity Center, 5128 SR-674

SouthShore Community Resource Center, 201 14th Ave. SE, Ruskin

Suncoast Community Health Centers, 313 S. Lakewood Drive, Brandon

Lee Davis Community Resource Center, 3402 N. 22nd St., Tampa

Plant City Community Resource Center, 307 N. Michigan Ave., Plant City

Raymond James Stadium, 4201 N. Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa

Reservation call center hours are weekdays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Individuals arriving without an appointment will not be tested. You must have your confirmation code, as well as a photo ID with the name and date of birth of all persons being tested, when you go for the test.

For further testing information, visit “www.hillsboroughcounty.org” and search “getting-tested”. In the results, scroll down to “Testing & If You’re Sick”.

Local HLAA Members Make Windowed Masks

Local HLAA Members Make Windowed Masks

Local HLAA Members Make Windowed MasksBy Paula Lickfeldt Imagine being deaf or hearing impaired and using lip-reading as a way of conversing. Now imagine the onset of a pandemic that causes everyone to wear a mask over their mouth, rendering lip-reading...

A National Award for our Emergency Squad and All of Us

A National Award for our Emergency Squad and All of Us

A National Award for our Emergency Squad and All of UsBy Diane M. Loeffler Congratulations to the Sun City Center Emergency Squad. The nation has recognized what we already know, our squad is amazing! Actually, we are all amazing because we support our...

The October 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

The October 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

In this issue… We relive the fun of the Chamber Business Expo, indulge in a delicious sweet treat, meet some local crafters who are helping people with hearing loss, celebrate the SCC Emergency Squad’s and MOAA’s national awards, learn about...

Chamber Gets Creative with Fall Business Expo

Chamber Gets Creative with Fall Business Expo

Chamber Gets Creative with Fall Business Expo By Bob Sanchez On a warm and sunny Saturday, August 28, the Sun City Center Area Chamber of Commerce held its “Out-of-the-Ordinary” Annual Fall Business Expo Drive Thru in the parking lot of the Prince of Peace...

The September 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

The September 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

In this issue… We tip our hat in appreciation to longtime community leader, Sam Sudman; sail across the Pacific with some SCC friends; catch up with those industrious Model Railroaders; get a taste of the good food at CC’s Grill; relive a fun...

Fall Business Expo August 28

Fall Business Expo August 28

The Sun City Area Chamber of Commerce presents their Annual Fall Business Expo, a Drive-Thru Event, on Friday, August 28, 2020, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. LocationPrince of Peace Catholic Church702 Valley Forge Blvd. in SCC Claim Your Goodie Bag!This year, Fall...

Chamber Gets Creative with Fall Business Expo

Chamber Gets Creative with Fall Business Expo

Chamber Gets Creative with Fall Business Expo

By Bob Sanchez

On a warm and sunny Saturday, August 28, the Sun City Center Area Chamber of Commerce held its “Out-of-the-Ordinary” Annual Fall Business Expo Drive Thru in the parking lot of the Prince of Peace Catholic Church, promoting 40 Chamber members and greeting a continuous line of people in their cars and golf carts.

Executive Director Lynne Conlon estimates that as many as 800 residents drove by the tables and picked up “Goodie Bags” containing promotional material. A random selection of the bags contained surprises including gift cards. In keeping with the times we live in, no one had to leave their vehicles.

Viki Ryan and Chuckie B. of the Sunset Social Club added musical flair.

“For years,” Conlon stated in an email, “We have had two expos each year, one in the spring and one in the fall. Our spring event went off in March at Community Hall. Then COVID-19 hit and Community Hall was closed. So, we had to pivot to reimagine how this event would be done. One-to-one contact between our members and residents became a drive-thru. We are looking at the rest of the year to see how we reimagine the rest of our events.”

Conlon thanked participating members as well as the Prince of Peace Catholic Church for its generosity in providing a great location for the event, which the Chamber has traditionally held in Community Hall. Also she thanked the Sunset Social Club for providing live music. “But above all, we thank the residents who drove through” in support of local businesses. “We are better together,” she concluded.

 

Local HLAA Members Make Windowed Masks

Local HLAA Members Make Windowed Masks

Local HLAA Members Make Windowed MasksBy Paula Lickfeldt Imagine being deaf or hearing impaired and using lip-reading as a way of conversing. Now imagine the onset of a pandemic that causes everyone to wear a mask over their mouth, rendering lip-reading...

A National Award for our Emergency Squad and All of Us

A National Award for our Emergency Squad and All of Us

A National Award for our Emergency Squad and All of UsBy Diane M. Loeffler Congratulations to the Sun City Center Emergency Squad. The nation has recognized what we already know, our squad is amazing! Actually, we are all amazing because we support our...

The October 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

The October 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

In this issue… We relive the fun of the Chamber Business Expo, indulge in a delicious sweet treat, meet some local crafters who are helping people with hearing loss, celebrate the SCC Emergency Squad’s and MOAA’s national awards, learn about...

Chamber Gets Creative with Fall Business Expo

Chamber Gets Creative with Fall Business Expo

Chamber Gets Creative with Fall Business Expo By Bob Sanchez On a warm and sunny Saturday, August 28, the Sun City Center Area Chamber of Commerce held its “Out-of-the-Ordinary” Annual Fall Business Expo Drive Thru in the parking lot of the Prince of Peace...

The September 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

The September 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

In this issue… We tip our hat in appreciation to longtime community leader, Sam Sudman; sail across the Pacific with some SCC friends; catch up with those industrious Model Railroaders; get a taste of the good food at CC’s Grill; relive a fun...

Fall Business Expo August 28

Fall Business Expo August 28

The Sun City Area Chamber of Commerce presents their Annual Fall Business Expo, a Drive-Thru Event, on Friday, August 28, 2020, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. LocationPrince of Peace Catholic Church702 Valley Forge Blvd. in SCC Claim Your Goodie Bag!This year, Fall...