Bruce and Susan had already unloaded their aluminum jon boat into Fuller Lake when I arrived on a windy afternoon with a kayak. Located within the Coffeen Nature Preserve and bordered by tall pines and titi trees, Fuller is a coastal dune lake that in turn drains into Morris Lake before intermittently outfalling into the Gulf of Mexico. I parked my car next to a historic military bunker before joining them at the shoreline.
The pair are some of the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance’s (CBA) longest-running citizen scientists. Both work within the preserve, and have been taking water samples for CBA since 2005, first in a canoe, now in the jon boat. Over the years, they’ve taken stock not only of water quality changes, but also of the fluxes in resident alligator populations, and the increase of development that surrounds this natural area. The tourist helicopter regularly buzzing above our heads, for example, is a relatively new phenomenon.
Read the rest on Hook and Trigger, page 20.