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June 5, 2013 VISTE Outing

June 26, 2013


Most Sierra Club Outings are attended by able-bodied participants who enjoy hiking, paddling and camping at their own convenience. The “clients” of Volunteers in Service to the Elderly (VISTE), however, are age 70 and older, and in many cases are housebound and dependent on VISTE volunteers for meals and transportation. For them, getting outdoors for sheer enjoyment is a rarity.

On an overcast morning in early June, I led a group of 14 VISTE clients, volunteers, and staff on the “2nd Annual VISTE Outing at Circle B”. Circle B Bar Reserve generously provided a tram tour with very knowledgeable guide, Bal, and skillful driver Bob. The weather forecast had been 70% chance of rain, but the entire tram tour was not only rain-free, but delightfully cool and breezy. Bal began with a helpful overview of the history of the Circle B property, which was jointly acquired by the Polk County Environmental Lands Program and SWFWMD to protect the floodplain of the lake and to restore the Banana Creek marsh system.


We passed through oak hammock, swamp and highlands. With all the recent rain, resurrection fern was gloriously resurrected! Bird sightings included red tailed hawk, limpkin, Louisiana heron, tricolored heron, common moorhen, snowy egret, white pelican (lots!), anhinga, sandhill crane, wood stork, glossy ibis, a family of wild turkeys, and eagles’ nest (over 700 lbs.). In spite of the unsightly rutting caused by wild hogs, we were tickled to see a family – mom, dad, and 6 little ones. Moments later, we passed a trapper’s truck! We are grateful to guide Bal and driver Bob; both are hardworking volunteers at Circle B (Bob is also a volunteer at VISTE!).




After the tram tour, our group enjoyed a delicious picnic lunch under a covered shelter. The Subway store at Grove Park donated an assortment of sub sandwiches, and Comfort Keepers of Lakeland (home care) donated side dishes, snacks, drinks and dessert. We thank them for their generosity. Outings are always MUCH better when food is shared!




It was a privilege to partner with VISTE for this exclusive Outing and to enjoy the great outdoors with their delightful clients, volunteers and staff.

Submitted by Gail Bagley, Outing Leader

One Comment leave one →
  1. June 27, 2013 3:29 pm

    What a great way to give service to our community!! Thanks for the great post Gail!!

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