Bartram Trail Society of Florida
Fall 2023

President's Report

Dear Friends,

The Bartram Trail Society of Florida has had an incredible Summer! Read about these highlights in this newsletter:

  • July: Annual Meeting in Alachua County, adding new board members
  • August: we attended the Bartram Trail Conference in Athens, GA
  • September: Meeting with Clay County working group, who have made great strides on their segment of the Bartram Trail in Florida
  • Florida Native Plant Society Eco-Tour led by Mike Adams
  • Re-Opening of the River Center in Palatka

BTSF meets with the Bartram Trail Clay County working group  |  Photo by Sam Carr


Other highlights include:

  • Meeting with Jeffery Forbes of the Alachua Conservation Trust
  • Presenting “William Bartram and the Alachua Savannah” to the Natural History Society of Oak Hammock
  • Refurbishing and relocating five Bartram Trail in Putnam County trail signs

Dean Campbell assisting with trail marker maintenance  |  Photo by Sam Carr


Sam Carr rescues BTS Marker from the River at Satsuma Spring  |  Photo by Dean Campbell


Sam Carr washes the Bartram Trail Marker for Johnson's Bluff near Welaka Spring
Photo by Dean Campbell


The Friends of Payne's Prairie Preserve CSO and the PPP State Park will be hosting Bartram Days celebrating Bartram's 250th anniversary of his visit to Alachua County May 4th & 5th, 2024. Be sure to check our events page to keep up with Bartram happenings near you!

We have plenty of fun things to do - just raise your hand if you want to join in! We're always looking for new members.

Join us online, email us @ or
call @ 386-268-0109.


I'll share part of Bartram's Mount Royal prayer as my salutation and my heart's desire - “grant that universal peace and love, may prevail in the earth” WB {TRAVELS pg. 100}

Sam Car Text

BTSF Attends the 2023 Bartram Trail Conference in Athens, GA

By Linda Crider

It was HOT, HOT, HOT in Athens but the Franklinia tree was blooming at the state botanical gardens, and Janis Brown & Linda Crider enjoyed seeing it on the first day of the 2023 Bartram Trail Conference in Athens, Ga.

The setting for this year’s Conference was the incredible Collections Library on the UGa campus. A real treat was to be escorted 30 ft down, underground, to view the “vaults” that housed precious & rare Historic documents.

As usual, the scholarly presentations during the symposium were informative and entertaining. However, the highlight of the Saturday evening finale was the roasted quail dinner, an exquisite culinary treat arranged “Bartram style” by Dorinda Dallmeyer.

For more about the Conference, visit: Bartram Trail Conference


Dean Campbell, Sam Carr, and Linda Crider at the Bartram Trail Conference  |  Photo by Janice Mahaffey


BTSF at the Bartram Trail Conference in Athens, GA  |  Photo by BTSF


BTC Banquet  |  Photo by Sam Carr


Living History at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm and Zoological Park

By Mike Adams

Billy Bartram provided a series of living history presentations to youth campers at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm and Zoological Park last summer. He focused on several turtle and reptile species with emphasis on alligator stories based on his personal colorful encounters along the St. Johns River.


Billy Bartram explaining his Alligator Encounters along the St. Johns River
Photo by Alligator Farm staff

Bartram further explained alligator ecology and physiology to the youngsters. Billy talked about venomous snakes (he sketched the Eastern diamondback rattle snake and water moccasin) identification and safety. He also described his visits to the Ancient City and the coquina quarries located only about ½ mile east from the Alligator Farm. The Castilo De San Marcos, on the St. Augustine bayfront, is constructed from this compacted, fossilized shell stone locally known as coquina.


New Board Members Elected at the Bartram Trail Society Annual Membership Meeting

On July 24, 2024 the Bartram Trail Society of Florida held its first Annual Membership Meeting at the Little Orange Creek Nature Park in Hawthorne, Florida. The meeting was intentionally held outside of Putnam County to include more participation from members in counties along the western segment of the Bartram Trail in Florida. By any measure, the meeting was a major success!


Photo by Dean Campbell

The annual Society meeting included a business meeting, social engagement and an informational opportunity for members and guests. During the business meeting, two new Board Members were elected; Lars Andersen and Robert Wilson. These are the Society's first Board members outside of Putnam and St. Johns counties!

The highlight of this year's meeting was a presentation by Joe Foy, who described the likely route of Billy Bartram as he traveled from the Lower Store to the Alachua Savanna in Alachua County in 1774. The research performed by Joe will undoubtedly result in altering the accepted route previously described by Frances Harper in his Naturalist's Edition of Bartram's Travels published in 1958, which has long been accepted as “gospel.”

If you'd like more information about Lars and Robert or about the Society's new officers, visit Board of Directors - Bartram Trail Society of Florida.


Florida Native Plant Society Eco-Tour

By Mike Adams

Mike Adams hosted an eco-tour on September 16, 2023, for the Pawpaw Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society from Flagler and Volusia counties at Saturiwa Conservation Area, strategically located along the St. Johns River in rural southwest St. Johns County. The Pawpaw Chapter is an affiliate of Bartram Trail Society of Florida.

This community education event was more than viewing native plants, but also sharing facts and stories about river ecology, wildlife, natural history, prescribed burning and longleaf pine habitat restoration.

The Pawpaw (Asimina species) is significant in Bartram history. It is an upland forest shrub that Billy encountered, described and sketched in mixed pine and oak forests during his travels in the East Florida territory.


Florida Native Plant Society 2023 on Saturiwa dock in the St. Johns River  |  Photo by FNPS


Pawpaw  |  Photo by Mike Adams 2017


Pawpaw Sketch  |  Photo by William Bartram, 1774


St. Johns River Center Reopens

By Shann Purinton

The St. Johns River Center in downtown Palatka, is now officially open (see times below). Since its opening, Courtney James, Cultural Activities Coordinator for the City of Palatka and community volunteers have already greeted many visitors. In fact, during the past month we have had over 250 visitors! Visitors have been impressed with the displays and historical information about Palatka, the River, and William Bartram.


Shann & Courtney welcoming visitors to the River Center  |  Photo by Mike Purinton


David Girardin holds the book, “Some Kind of Paradise”, which has much information about Florida and William Bartram. In fact, on pages 152-154 David's name is mentioned in reference to his search for the painting shown above. The painting (by Bill Waller) depicts Bartram landing on shores of the St. Johns River where Palatka is now. Earl Wallace and David point to the green treed land in the painting known as Harts Point.  |  Photo by Shann Purinton


Mike Purinton helps a young family find the plants and animals
shown in the touch-screen kiosk  |  Photo by Shann Purinton


Volunteer Sharon Proctor talks with Linda Schilling Mitchell, author of “My Color-Full Florida”. We have a copy of her book on the River Center's bookshelf.  |  Photo by Shann Purinton


Courtney stands by an arrowhead collection that he and Mike Adams placed in one of the River Center display cases.  |  Photo by Shann Purinton

The address for the Center is 102 N. 1st St., Palatka (located on the corner of Memorial Drive and St. Johns Avenue). The Center is open to the public during the following days/hours:

  • Tuesday - Saturday: 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
  • Sunday: 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.

Field trips can be arranged by contacting Courtney James

More information about the St. Johns River Center can be found at