Newsletter – Spring 2012

Vol. 2 No. 2

Welcome to the Inaugural William Bartram Scenic and Historic Highway Newsletter!

Spring has sprung in all its glory along our majestic Scenic Highway and St. Johns River. It’s also been a very busy quarter for the William Bartram Scenic & Historic Highway (WBSH) organization.

It all began with a formal showing of our award winning video, “UP FROM THE ROOTS – Remembering Rural St Johns County” (a historical timeline DVD) to the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) on February 7, 2012.

Additional showings of the video occurred on March 22, 2012 at a meeting of the St John River Alliance meeting, on April 2, 2012 at St. Johns County’s Cultural Resource Review Board (CRRB) meeting, and on April 6, 2012 at the St. Augustine Historical Society, during the first Friday Art Walk.

The video was also presented to the US Coast Guard Auxiliary in Mandarin, the St. Johns County Library Advisory Board, in St. Johns County and presented to the St. Johns County School Board, in St. Johns County. The Ponte Vedra Sierra Club has also invited us to make a presentation during the late summer. It’s an honor and privilege sharing our mission and activities with these organizations.

A total of fifty-nine (59) oral history transcripts were donated to the St Augustine Historical Society (SAHS), thirty-four (34) of which were WBSH and twenty-five (25) of which were for A1A. In addition the Southeast Library has an additional set of A1A oral history transcripts (25) and Bartram Trails Library has a set of the WBSH oral history transcripts (34).

Beyond the frequent showing of the WBSH timeline historical video, our Corridor Management Council (CMC) members attended and were recognized at Rivertown’s – Riverfront Park dedication ceremony on February 16, 2012. The Riverfront Park is a wonderful passive park, where one can enjoy the peaceful wonders of nature along the St. Johns River.

An important Fund Raising and Marketing Workshop was held on April 10-12, 2012, at the County’s NW Annex facility, with the main objective to move the WBSH forward, by firmly establishing our non-profit organization in the hearts and minds of the County residents and businesses.

Two talented consultants conducted this workshop which helped open the WBSH members minds to many Fund Raising and Marketing ideas. In an effort to implement some of these new ideas, we are developing a new membership drive which will help us build our membership. One of the subcommittees we would like to start is the “speakers bureau” to communicate our mission and educate to the county residents, students, parents and the general public the WBSH intrinsic resources.

Our new membership drive is progressing nicely and I want to thank each and every one of you who have “paid” your new membership fee and we want to encourage all residents to join our WBSH organization. We also want to welcome two (2) new volunteers: Alyssa Miley and Jennifer Yarbrough who have offered to help the WBSH raise funds.

News members are always appreciated and we look forward to your participation.

Enjoy this edition of your newsletter and feel free to e-mail me at with your comments and suggestions.

— Al Abbatiello, Chairman of the William Bartram Scenic and Historic Highway.

Meet Your Neighbors

Meet Your Neighbors

Beverly Fleming – “Butterfly Lady” strikes one last time!

Most people who have lived in St. Johns County for a while know Beverly Fleming as the County’s Naturalist, or through her weekly newspaper articles written for The St Johns Sun over 20 years (until September 2011).

But what most people do not know about Beverly Fleming, is she is one of the founding members of the St. Johns Riverkeeper organization, the William Bartram Scenic and Historic Highway (WBSH) and the creator of the Bartram Bash, now eight (8) years old. Yes,….the butterfly woman has spread her wings, and like concentric rings in a lake after a pebble is thrown into the water, Beverly has reached out and touched so many of our lives with her passion and enthusiasm for the natural environment. Whether it has been through her natural educational and writing ability while teaching elementary students at the Julington Creek Elementary School (some 20 years ago), or working for St. Joe Paper Company as a Security Manager, or working as a volunteer for the Garden Club of Switzerland and/or working as a County Park Naturalist, Beverly has taught us all how to appreciate mother nature’s wonders. Beverly gained her appreciation for nature after growing up on a farm in Northern Missouri, prior to marrying her first husband who was in the Marines which allowed them to travel all over and see many states in the United State, i.e., Illinois, Wyoming, Massachusetts, New York, California and even New Mexico. And, it is through these different experiences that she gained an appreciation of North East Florida’s unique sub-tropical environment which she has enjoyed since 1971. It is in this respect, the her own life experiences resemble John Bartram’s life (William Bartram’s father).

All the members of the William Bartram Scenic and Historic Highway wish to express our deep appreciation for all that Beverly Fleming has done for this scenic highway organization and we wish her the best as she begins her retirement in the spring of 2013. If you wish to contact Beverly before she retires, please feel free to contact her at (904) 522 – 1573.

Recent Events

Canoe At Trout Creek

UP FROM THE ROOTS – Remembering Rural St Johns County, Fl.

Al Abbatiello, WBSH Chairman presented the WBSH timeline historical video Up FROM THE ROOTS to the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) on February 7, 2012. This BCC meeting was televised through out the County, as all their meetings are. After the BCC presentation, Al received a lot of positive feedback from the BCC and sold several copies of the WBSH timeline historical video. Attendees at the BCC meeting included Al and Phyllis Abbatiello, Robert Fitzgerald, Jeff Gardener, Brockington Cultural Resources, Vice President and Vickie Renna, Principal Planner.

Since the BCC presentation the WBSH timeline historical video has been shown at the St. Johns River Alliance meeting on March 22, 2012, St. Johns County’s Cultural Resource Review Board meeting on April 2, 2012, and St. Augustine Historical Society during the City of St Augustine’s First Friday Art Walk on April 6, 2012, or Good Friday this year.

As previously stated, the First Coast Chapter (FCC) of the Florida Planning and Zoning Association(FPZA) honored the WBSH Oral History project (including the timeline historical video) with an Outstanding Public Participation Award on November 17, 2012.

To date, both Al Abbatiello and Beverly Fleming have sold a total of 65 videos. If you are interested in purchasing one of these videos you may want to check out the teaser on the WBSH web site at video-tour, or go directly to YouTube and type William Bartram. Please feel free to contact either Al Abbatiello at (904) 287 – 5577, or Beverly Fleming at (904) 522 – 1573 if you are interested in purchasing a copy of this unique and rare WBSH timeline historical video.

Rivertown Riverfront Park Dedication

Chris Kuns, Director of Development – Rivertown’s Riverfront Park had its grand opening February 16, 2012. Eventually this 58 acre community park along the St. Johns River will be donated to St. Johns County (approx. year from now).

Donation of 59 Oral Histories to the St. Augustine Historical Society Library

A few members of the WBSH gathered outside the St. Augustine Historical Society library’s court yard on April 4, 2012, located on 271 Charlotte Street for a formal dedication ceremony of fifty-nine (59) oral history transcripts of life long residents (over 50 years) who lived along either the WBSH or the A1A Scenic & Historic Coastal Byway. Al Abbattiello, WBSH Chairman and Dr. Susan Parker spoke at the dedication ceremony while Jenny Wolf, Historic Resource Specialist from the City of St Augustine, Anne Wilson, A1A Scenic & Historic Coastal Byway Chairwoman, Jeff Gardner, Vice President of Brockington Cultural Resources, Robert Fitzgerald, WBSH Vice President, Robert Nawrocki, Chief Librarian for the St Augustine Historical Society Library and Vickie Renna, Principal Planner for the St. Johns County Long Range Planning Department all listed to the formal presentation.

Both Mr Abbatiello and Dr. Parker discussed the historical significance of the oral history transcripts and the participants to this project.

Oral histories provide a first hand account of the everyday lives of people telling their own stories, in their own words revealing intimate details of people’s customs, traditions and relationships with family, friends and neighbors. This provides a glimpse into the past historical events and collectively helps communicate the WBSH Scenic Highway or A1A Byway unique stories.

WBSH Tree Planting Sub-Committee Members

The WBSH CMC members created a tree sub-committee after the Garden Club of Switzerland 50th Anniversary raffle ticket drive was completed to establish criteria to determine what types of tree needed to be planted and where the trees should be planted along the WBSH. The tree sub committee members consisting of Sarah Bailey, Claire Fioiti, Beverly Fleming, Luis Caballero and Robert Fitzgerald determined that all the trees selected needed to be native flower trees. So during the second week of April, just prior to the WBSH Workshop, three young native flowering trees (Red Bud, Crab Apple and Wild Plum) were planted at Alpine Groves Park entrance area thanks to the WBSH sub-committee.

Special thanks to the St. Johns County Recreation Department and the Sheriff Office’s work crews for helping the WBSH sub-committee members plant these young trees.

WBSH Fund Raising and Marketing Workshop

On April 10 – 12, 2012 the WBSH was awarded the opportunity to host a PEER Advisory Fund Raising and Marketing Workshop offered by the American Byway’s Resource Center in Duluth, Minnesota.

Wayne Ganaway, Byway Resource Specialist with the National Scenic Byway Resource Center in Minnesota and Laura Doth, Billy-the-Kid Byway Coordinator from New Mexico taught the Fund Raising and Marketing classes tailored to the WBSH needs the first and last day of the workshop. Other local non-profits were asked to attend this workshop on Wednesday, April 11, 2012, when the regional fund raising and marketing perspectives were discussed. This Workshop event proved to be a very successful in helping the WBSH-CMC members gradually transition into becoming a fully operational non-profit organization. The WBSH – CMC members who attended this workshop ended up spending the full three (3) day at the workshop. Attendees included: Al Abbatiello, Robert Fitzgerald, Sarah Bailey, Beverly Fleming, Robert John, Katey Stuart, Luis Caballero, Claire Fioiti, plus Deborah Miller, FDOT District II Scenic Highway Coordinator, Gary Balogh, FDOT District V. Scenic Highway Coordinator, J. Travis Johnson, Trans-System’s Scenic Highway Coordinator and Jennifer Vrynios from URS Corporation.

On Wednesday night April 11, 2012, Sarah Bailey’s Ranch was the host of Florida Cracker dinner. All ten (10) of CMC members who attended the workshop were also able to attend the Florida Cracker dinner, including the byway instructors and Travis Johnson.

The delightful Florida Cracker meal included chicken perlow, tropical gazpacho, Irma’s veggie salad, glazed carrots, corn bread sticks, goat cheese and birthday cake.

Originally the Florida Cracker dinner was going to be served outside; but, due to the unusually dry weather, the Florida brush fires kept burning and ashes were falling from the sky so attendee ended up eating inside.

The Dynamic Duo-Mark Moormann and Andrea Kalin, Film Directors of the Stetson Kennedy Film

In your own back yard, one of your neighbors, Kennedy’s life story will be coming to a movie theater near you! The KLANDESTINE MAN did not debut at the Florida Film festival on April 13-2, 2012 because the hidden secrets of the Kennedy’s life at his Shangri-La estate are revealing themselves ever so slowing.

Film Director, Mark Moormann is now working with another Film Director, Andrea Kalin who found Spark Media in Washington DC. Spark Media ( is a 23 year old multi-media firm known for its superior visual story telling ability, whose mission is to reveal the hidden jewels in life, those individuals who represent the souls of humanity and who promote social change, depict courage, perseverance and dignity against what seems to be insurmountable odds.

Spark Media is now working on the final editing of the KLANDESTINE MAN and the film directors are discussing initially showing the film at the Toronto Film Festival and later showing the film in Europe this fall. So…,the WBSH reporter will continue to follow this story as the hidden secrets of Kennedy’s life reveal themselves ever so slowly…

You can view a clip of the Klandestine Man on Mark Moormann’s web site by going to, click on documentary and then go to Klandestine Man. In addition, there is another web site which has different film clip of Klandestine Man which you will enjoy. View trailer.

8th Annual Bartram Bash

Despite the weatherman’s prediction of over 40% chance of rain, plus an event filled Earth Day weekend already, the 8th Annual Bartram Bash was a success with over 300 people participating in this years events. This fun filled family Bash beginning with free kayak rides along the St. Johns River thanks to the generosity of Eco-Tours and free children’s crafts creations sponsored by the Garden Club of Switzerland. At around 11:00 am., Katherine Archer began to play music followed by the Blue Grass band — “Someday” while children danced in the park blowing bubbles and the adults visited the exhibits sponsored by the 4-H Club’s – Petting Zoo (containing a wild turkey, pigs, pigmy goat, ducks, an owl and snake), Primitive Camp display, St. Johns River Alliance display, St. Johns Riverkeeper display, St Johns Voters Registration booth, FDOT’s Scenic Highway Program and WBSH display.

At noon a free lunch consisting of hot dogs, chips, a drink and two (2) cakes – William Bartram Scenic and Historic Highway and Earth Day cake were served which was made possible through the generous donations of Publix Grocery Store, St. Johns County Park and Recreation Department, Environmental Education Resource Council (EERC), Garden Club of Switzerland, Northwest Community Coalition, Pacetti’s Marina and RV Park, Julington Creek’s Vystar Credit Union, Prosperity Bank, Wild Birds Unlimited, UPS as well as William Bartram Scenic and Historic Highway members, Mr. and Mrs. Stevenson, Fleming, Fitzgerald and Abbatiello.

Promptly at 2:00 pm. from the far reaches of the Alpine Groves Park and beyond into the St Johns River, everyone gathered for the traditional Bartram Bash annual butterfly release. Both children and adults alike, gathered around as “The Butterfly Lady” – Beverly Fleming who carefully handed out the individually wrapped “Painted Lady” butterflies to each of the children standing in line. Each child was then asked to release a butterflies into the riverside butterfly garden at Alpine Groves Park, while parents huddled around their kids and took pictures. As the skys began to darken, the William Bartram re-enactor, Mike Adams gathered up the remaining children in the park and shared his latest travel stories with them under the park tent, until it finally poured.

We want to formally thank Beverly Fleming for all her outstanding efforts in creating, organizing and holding the annual Bartram Bash these past eight (8) years; for without her, this event would not have been possible. The WBSH – CMC members would also like to thank all the sponsors of the Bartram Bash this year, as well as all the previous years, for without their generous donations the free food and many other free events at the Bartram Bash, would not be possible.

Next year, the Bartram Bash will be under new management because Beverly Fleming – “The Butterfly Lady” will be retiring and we wish her well in her future endeavors.

Ongoing Projects

Dan Manley, Project Manager for the WBSH – Master Plan is in the process of adding the final View Shed Analysis study to the already completed Master Plan.

At the WBSH May 10, 2012 meeting Corridor Management Members (CMC) will be discussing their next series of projects that need to be completed to fulfill the goals of the 2006 National Scenic Byway grant.

Wrap up

We hope the you enjoyed our stories from the spring 2012 events, Vickie Renna, reporting author, Beverly Fleming, Editor and Al Abbatiello, WBSH Chairman. If you have any news you would like to share with the other members of the NW St. Johns Community, that live along the 17.3 mile designated portion of the WBSH, please contact Al Abbatiello at, or Beverly Fleming at (904) 522 – 1573. Thank You for your interest…