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January 10, 2018

Happy New Year! I hope all family and friends of Rookery Bay Research Reserve had a wonderful holiday season and that your 2018 is off to a great start!

Over the holidays I had the opportunity to share Rookery Bay Research Reserve with a number of out of town friends and family members. We explored the Reserve walking among exhibits at the Environmental Learning Center and by kayak and boat through guided trips led by Reserve naturalists. Each of the trips was unique, both in areas explored and information shared about this incredible ecosystem. From science and environmental issues to cultural and historical context, the trips provided my family and friends a wide array of experiences and takeaways.

During each of the trips, we spent a short period tucked away in a mangrove cove. Our guide, Captain Randy, asked us to be still and refrain from talking or taking pictures. During those peaceful minutes, we existed only in the moment... watching birds soar or sit perched on mangrove branches, fish jumping out of the water, crabs scurrying along the banks, and the breeze blowing ripples across the water’s surface. At the end of one of our trips, I asked my friends what they enjoyed most. Everyone was in agreement - it had been a very long time since either of them ‘unplugged.’ I too had felt the same...a refreshing change to forget about all of life’s crazy distractions.

I often regret while reflecting back on my life in Charleston working at the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources the lack of time I spent exploring the beauty of the Low Country. As for so many people, work, school and daily life consumed my time. Preparing for my first ‘Naples season’ I know the next few months will be a whirlwind of activity. But, my New Year’s resolution is to allocate some ‘me time’ and enjoy this special place - a resolution I am committed to keeping.

Whether you participate in a guided kayak or boat tour or visit the Reserve on your own, I encourage everyone to disconnect from life’s distractions and carve out a bit of ‘you time’ while exploring the Reserve...I guarantee you won’t regret it!

Best wishes for a prosperous 2018!
Warm Regards,
Athan

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