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Rob Crane honored for dedication to conservancy

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By Kellie Parkin

Florida’s Nature Coast Conservancy honored Captain Rob Crane, the organization’s founder, with a plaque thanking him for his leadership and dedication to conserving lands in and about Cedar Key, including Atsena Otie, Cemetery Point and the Railroad Trestle Trail. Earl Starnes presented the award.

A permanent plaque will be hung on a kiosk at the end of the Cedar Key Railroad Trestle Trail to recognize Crane’s devotion and service to Florida’s Nature Coast for helping to preserve its beauty and fragile ecosystems.

About 40 people attended the barbecue luncheon held at Cemetery Point Park.

Florida’s Nature Coast Conservancy is a local non-profit 501c-3 organization whose goals are preservation and community use of the natural areas that are a part of Florida’s heritage. About 98 percent of its holdings is water, said Starnes.

Dr. Lovett Williams led a nature walk after the event. He identified plants, talked about traditional uses and dispelled myths. The red mangrove, for example, does not create land. “It’s a myth that they’re land builders. They do not build land, they occupy it,” he said.

Williams said future plans for the organization include planting and labeling native species and making learning about coastal vegetation more accessible. “We’ve recommended to the city to bring sand out here and plant native specimens. We’re recommending too that they build a low walkway out in the marsh because there’s a lot of vegetation there that people aren’t familiar with,” he said.