By hiring a member of Florida Green Guide Association (FGGA) you can ensure a memorable and educational outdoor experience. Our diverse group of guides offers a vast array of cultural heritage and nature based experiences including: hiking, birding, beach walking, camping, fishing, kayaking, wildflower viewing, fresh water spring and creek tours and even nature based art and photography. Please feel free to contact us, let us know your special interest, and let a Green Guide help you plan your unique adventure.  Green Guide Directory

The FGGA is a statewide non-profit trade association created for graduates of the Wakulla Environmental Institute a program of Tallahassee Community College. Certified Green Guides are eligible to join after graduation in order to assist in the promotion and marketing of their businesses.  Members must adhere to a code of ethics and the “Leave No Trace” principles, which serve to advance personal and professional integrity standards in activities related to ecotourism.  The Green Guide Association exists to maintain and monitor those standards as set forth by members. FGGA also provides continuing education opportunities as well as a forum for the exchange of ideas and information among the membership.  Chester Butler is the current president, Serge Latour is the vice president, Donna Ingle is Secetary, and Lesley Cox is their treasurer.

Florida Master Naturalist Winter 2017 newsletter.  Enjoy the article about FGGA!!

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It's All About the Badge, Not Trouble

Last week I visited the River Way South Apalachicola Choctawhatchee Inc. Leadership Development Forum and Board meeting (RWSAC). In case you are not familiar with the organization, its goal is the development of tourism in a nine-county area in the Panhandle.

As a Florida Green Guide, I was interested in the organization for several reasons. First, I wanted to learn more about the organization’s goals. Second, I wanted to see how the Florida Green Guide Association (FGGA) might interact with them on common goals. Third, I was interested in Their Leadership Development Forum.  

RWSAC invites a speaker from one of its nine county membership areas. These speakers share their marketing successes, failures and challenges. A great idea!

The February speaker was AJ Smith, the new Sheriff of Franklin County. I already knew that the new Sheriff was embracing social media based on Facebook posts. And I knew he was an avid paddle boarder. But that’s about all I knew about him.

Maybe you don’t know much about him and his plans for the Franklin County Sheriff Department.  If that’s the case, I hope this summary of his comments is helpful.

  • The Sheriff Department is becoming more user friendly. “After all,” he said, “we work for the county’s citizens and our visitors.”
  • Sheriff Smith instructs his Deputies to get to know the business owners and citizens of the county. They now take the initiative of introducing themselves. “I want my Deputies to be approachable…we are here to help and protect,” the Sheriff emphasized. Toward that end, he does not want Deputies in the dark tactical garb that has become so popular with policing organizations.  “I want my Officers to look and feel professional.”
  • Sheriff Smith commented that tourism was key to Franklin county’s survival and the Department was part of that transitional economy. Accordingly, visitors and citizens must feel safe. They must feel they can call on the Department when needed. Part of the safety issue is the elimination of traffic and drug issues in the county.
  • The Sheriff is beefing up technology.  He is using technology to better monitor the performance of the Department and Deputies. “Our deputies now have a different expectation of performance. It’s law enforcement with the right attitude.” Plus, he is using social media to keep the public informed.

In order to achieve the goals of a user friendly and practical law enforcement agency, the Sheriff is looking at beach safety issues, safety equipment in the patrol vehicles, better location pinpointing for faster response times, bike patrols, and public relations that stress collaboration with the community. “Franklin County is different,” observed the Sheriff, “We don’t need (patrol) cars that do 140 miles per hour. We need pickups that can get into Tate’s Hell and on the beach to help people in trouble.”

Ending his comments, Sheriff Smith remarked, “I work for the people of the County. And we (the Department) want to treat our customers right!”  As an afterthought, he grinned and quipped, “Don’t be surprised if you see a paddle board with a Sheriff’s Star.”