The young man in t-shirt and shorts spoke clearly and intelligently about “The Game of Life,” a cellular automation or mathematical simulation created by British mathematician John Conway in 1970.  On the screen behind him was a running example of the cells of the simulation replicating, dying and regenerating its own patterns in an endless loop.

Eric (Aaron) Meister is a student at New College of Florida, where highly gifted students with a streak of independence and free spirits are encouraged to achieve excellence by following their own passions to graduation. Eric is also a member of the first group of New College Student Fellows participating in a group independent study project that has challenged students to develop speaking and presentation skills commensurate with the critical thinking, critical reading and analytical skills they were developing in their coursework.

Standing before his first live audience of strangers, Eric connected with a number of Plymouth Harbor residents gathered that afternoon in Pilgrim Hall and he was not alone. With him this afternoon were several of his classmates who were also there to make their first presentations.

 Dr. John Gillette, Director of the New College Writing Center, has worked closely with the students during 4 weeks of intensive speech presentation training in both theory and practice as they practiced delivering speeches upon topics of their chosen discipline of study. Each one had the desire to learn how to communicate their work and interests in an effective way to future employers, future colleagues and to the public. Demi Brown presented the case for developing a better system of training doctors to offer pain management prescription that reduces the risk of pain killer addiction so rampant in Florida. Her presentation had the polish that she will need as a future policy maker and legislator. Anna Kresek told the story of the nearly lost Gnostic gospel of Thomas, while Nisha Hodge answered what killed the electric car. Keilar Durant, an aspiring addictions counselor, explored alcohol in the college culture and Brigit Csiki presented Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences. Katie Cottrell talked about nanotechnology and we learned that New College is one of the few undergraduate institutions equipped with an Optical Spectroscopy and Nano-Materials Lab.

When all the students had spoken, the Plymouth Harbor residents were quick to speak up themselves.  Obviously impressed by the presentations, several residents applauded their efforts and bravery. Bobbie Sanderson was the first to express her gratitude, but she pointed out specifically that their eye contact was excellent and their passion for their subjects came through perfectly.  Others offered constructive feedback on stage movement and use of the microphone, which is another very important aspect of the New College Student Fellows mission.

It seems very fitting that Plymouth Harbor was the first community presentation partner for the Fellows. Our residents have deep experience and clear understanding of what it takes to be successful in one’s life and career.  As resident Carl Denney pointed out, learning how to speak and present is a critical skill, no matter what your professional field or career.

The students will be back on campus giving their presentations in Pilgrim Hall on April 9.

It is certainly a partnership that would make the founder of Plymouth Harbor very happy. Before he made his dream of Plymouth Harbor a reality, Congregational minister Rev. Dr. John Whitney MacNeil, was instrumental in gaining the support of the national Congregational Church in 1960 to create New College.  The connection?  Whatever their stage in life, New College students and Plymouth Harbor residents are intelligent, curious and actively engaged.

David Houle, Plymouth Harbor, Senior living communityYou can read his bio, short, sweet and high-impact, on Oprah.com. It says, “David Houle is an award-winning futurist and strategist who has launched successful brands and is an in-demand speaker about the future. He writes the popular futurist blog Evolution Shift and lives his life slightly ahead of the curve.

On his own website, you can browse through a timeline of forecasts that illustrate his on-target futurist thinking as well as his speaking schedule across the globe. And then you can wander onto one of his YouTube channels and get lost in the forest of videos, each one more intriguing than the next.

You might wonder why all of us at Plymouth Harbor feel so proud of David Houle and his success as one of the world’s top ranked futurists and futurist keynote speakers on the world stage.  Well, he’s part of our family.

David’s parents, Bettie and Cyril Houle lived here at Plymouth Harbor from 1987 through 2000 and he visited many times during those years.   And this affiliation ran in the family even earlier as David’s aunt, Hazel Stevens moved into Plymouth Harbor in 1966 and was here for nearly 30 years.

Recently, David has been serving as a Futurist-in-Residence and guest lecturer at the Ringling College of Art + Design and took the opportunity to come visit with us. We talked about his family’s history in Sarasota – his grandfather had helped John Ringling with his development efforts and his father Cyril used to hide away in the old clock tower downtown on the bay front to read books in peace.  You have to smile when thinking of that image.  When Cyril and Bettie moved into Plymouth Harbor, they became instrumental in establishing the Library on the Mezzanine with their gifts of time and funding.  He thought everyone should have the luxury of reading books in peace on the bay front.

David himself grew up in Chicago and experienced over 20 successful years in media and entertainment earning many awards and accolades.  Then he turned to the future and has been speaking about the future for 7 years now. His influential first book The Shift Age was published in 2008 and his second book, Shift Ed: A Call to Action for Transforming K-12 Education, written with Jeff Cobb was published in March 2011. The New Health Age: the Future of Health Care in America, co-authored with Jonathan Fleece, was published by Sourcebooks in January 2012.

His attention at the moment is on his latest book, “Entering the Shift Age” just published by Sourcebooks in January of 2013.  Residents and our Harbor Club members will have the opportunity to learn about the dynamics of this new Shift Age with David Houle in person at the Foundation Forum on Monday, March 25 at 3:00 p.m. in Pilgrim Hall.  He will lead us in a dynamic discussion on our entering the Shift Age, a time of transformation and change. The Foundation Forum is hosted by The Plymouth Harbor Foundation.

To quote from the introduction to his newest book:

David Houle, author, Entering the Shift Age, at Plymouth HarborThis will be one of the most transformative times in history. In the past, man-made developments like tools, machines, and technology defined an age. Today, Houle argues that our own power of conscious connection will fuel the speed of change so much that change itself will become the norm. In this eye-opening and thought-provoking book, Houle identifies and explains the key forces that have shaped our lives thus far—from business to technology to the environment—and how they will continue to affect your world for the next twenty years. Entering the Shift Age is your crucial roadmap to the future.

Are you ready to stretch your perspective far into the future? 

The Plymouth Harbor Foundation was established in 2012 to further ensure the appropriate stewardship of contributed funds, develop and implement fundraising strategies that support the most positive aging experience possible for residents of Plymouth Harbor on Sarasota Bay. It also provides funding for innovative programs and services for seniors in the region.

We are so pleased to be able to announce the inaugural members of our Plymouth Harbor Foundation Board of Trustees, who met for the first time on January 16th where they elected officers.  As you may be aware, our bylaws call for a Foundation Board that consists of 3 Plymouth Harbor Trustees, 3 resident members, 3 community-at-large members, and the President and Sr. Vice President of Finance for Plymouth Harbor.  We are proud to present our Foundation Board, as follows.  Please join us in thanking our generous Trustees for their dedicated time and attention to this worthy and very important cause.

 Bill JohnstonBill Johnston, Chair, Plymouth Harbor, Inc. Trustee

William Johnston is Past President and COO of the New York Stock Exchange. William received his BS degree in Commerce from Washington & Lee University. He became a member of the NYSE in 1964 and a Director in 1992 and has served on numerous committees. He was Senior VP and Director of Mitchum Jones & Templeton. William also founded Agora Securities, and then merged it into LaBranche & Co. where he was Senior Managing Partner. He is currently a Director at Hollins University and Chairman of the Audit Committee and Co-chair of Development. William has served on numerous committees and advisory boards of universities; and taught at numerous colleges and universities across the country. He and his wife Elizabeth have two children and two grandchildren.

 Tom HopkinsTom Hopkins, Plymouth Harbor, Inc. Trustee

Thomas Hopkins is a shareholder and former President of the Icard-Merrill law firm and has practiced with the firm since 1977. Tom practices all areas of real estate law and has been designated by the Florida Bar as a Board Certified Real Estate Attorney. He also has extensive experience counseling clients in all aspects of estate planning. His professional affiliations and positions have included serving as President of the Sarasota County Bar Association and the Bar Association Legal Aid Society, Inc. Tom also has served as President and board member of the Sarasota County Civic League and President of the Ivy League Club. A graduate with an A.B. from Dartmouth College, Tom also earned an M.S. from the University of Southern California and his law degree from the University of Florida. Tom and his wife Wendy have three children and one grandchild.

Lee ByronLee Byron, Plymouth Harbor, Inc. Trustee

Lee Byron is a long-time resident of Sarasota, a successful real estate agent with Michael Saunders, a former elected school board member, and very involved in the community. She presently serves as chair of the Big Brothers/Big Sisters of the Suncoast Foundation board, the Teen Court Board, the Human Services Advisory Committee (to the County Commission), and on the Government Affairs Committee for the Sarasota Association of Realtors. Lee is a graduate of Smith College with a Masters in Government from the Monterey Institute of International Studies, and is presently working on a second Masters in Pastoral Ministry from the Rice School of the Diocese of Venice. She and her late husband, Tom, have three children and two grandchildren.

Tom Towler, Resident of Plymouth Harbor

Tom graduated from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire and joined Mobil Oil Company for several years. He subsequently chaired the grocery non-food company for the Kroger Company, Top Value Trading Stamp Company, TV Travel and served as an officer of the Baldwin United Financial Services Company in Cincinnati.  He arranged the purchase of the S&H Green Steamp Company, taking them private from the NYSE public listing.  Tom retired, moved to Siesta Key in 1984 with is late wife Sue, and then spent 10 years working as a property assessor with Goodnow Associates.  He has a passion for volunteering, which included Board positions with Sarasota Memorial Hospital Healthcare Foundation Board, New College Foundation Board, Field Club, and Bay Plaza boards.  He spent 16 years in Surgery Transport and SMH and was the chair of Siesta Key Utility Authority.  He moved to Plymouth Harbor in October 2009.  He has four children and has encouraged each of them to be active volunteers.

 Carla Plush Smith, Plymouth Harbor, Inc. Secretary

Carla Smith is a Florida CPA. She has an extensive background in estate and personal financial planning in her 25+/year career as a CPA. A Sarasota native (which is unique), Carla is a graduate of Leadership Sarasota and has served as an officer and director on numerous community boards. She is a graduate of  University of Florida with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting, and a Master’s in Mental Health Counseling from the University of South Florida. She and her husband Peter are members of the Sarasota Field Club, and enjoy boating, water skiing, and traveling.

 Cade Sibley, Plymouth Harbor, Inc. Trustee

Cade Sibley is a recent resident of Longboat Key, moving here in 2010 with her husband, Whit from Denver, Colorado, where she for nearly 30 years designed and implemented advanced estate, business-transfer and investment-planning strategies for affluent business owners, highly compensated executives and those with inherited wealth.    Her clients realized significant reductions in estate, capital gains and gift taxes, preservation of family businesses for subsequent generations, and maximization of existing wealth through comprehensive investment planning. Cade was a longtime member of several of Lincoln Financial Group’s most prestigious honors societies. Cade served her Denver community as Vice Chairman of the Rocky Mountain Multiple Sclerosis Center board, as a member of the Professional Advisor’s Board for The Denver Foundation and a board member of the Denver Arthritis Foundation Board. She is familiar with Plymouth Harbor, where her mother and father have both been residents for more than 15 years. Cade and her husband are both new members of Bird Key Yacht Club where they are serving on several committees and are active with the club’s cruising fleet.

 Garry JacksonGarry Jackson, Plymouth Harbor, Inc. Treasurer

Mr. Garry Jackson is the Senior Vice President and CFO of Plymouth Harbor on Sarasota Bay Continuing Care Retirement Community. He has worked at Plymouth Harbor since March of 1997.   Prior to his career in healthcare, Garry worked in New York City where he was the Controller & Director of Financial Planning at New York Law School for nine years, and at the investment-banking firm of Rothschild, Inc. as the Assistant Vice President of Finance & Administration for six years.  He holds a Masters Degree in Business Management from Southern California University, Santa Ana, CA.

 Harry HobsonHarry Hobson, Plymouth Harbor, Inc. Vice-Chair

Harry Hobson, President and CEO of Plymouth Harbor on Sarasota Bay, has a career that has included work in both Hospital and Retirement Community Administration. Prior to his arrival at Plymouth Harbor in 2004, he was the President and CEO of Westminster-Canterbury Retirement Community of Irvington, Virginia; and, First Community Village of Columbus, Ohio. Mr. Hobson received Masters Degrees in both Business Management and Healthcare Administration from Central Michigan University; and, completed gerontological studies at George Washington University. He holds nursing home administrator
licenses in Florida and Ohio.

Henry and Janet Jacobs

It’s never too late for love!  New residents Henry and Janet Jacobs proved it when they were married onFebruary 11, 2013, in Plymouth Harbor’s MacNeil Chapel.

The newlyweds first became acquainted 35 years ago when they were both members of the ‘Swedish Walking Club’ in Maryland.  Janet lived in Timonium and Henry resided in nearby Towson.

Years passed and their lives converged again about 25 years later.  According to Janet, “things got a little more serious” between them during the past couple years.  They decided to marry and Henry made all of the arrangements in just seven days.  He said, “There was never any question as to where we’d have the wedding; the chapel is beautiful!”

Twenty-six guests joined the happy couple — friends and family from Michigan as well as several cities throughout Florida.  Henry’s 18-month old great-great niece, Reese Rose, served as flower girl.  The ceremony was followed by a dinner in the private dining room.

 

The Spirit of Philanthropy Series by Becky Pazkowski, Vice President of Philanthropy
March 2013

All projects begin with an idea, and that idea typically grows out of a passion that an individual has for something.  For Joanne Hastings, that passion is wellness.

Late in 2011, Joanne approached Harry Hobson regarding her interest in taking the wellness center to the next level.  That “next level” included an expanded fitness area and a group exercise area that would also accommodate a dance studio.  Joanne had previously lived in communities where wellness was prominent and central to the life of the residents.  Also integral to her life were dance lessons, which she mentioned offers an alternative form of exercise with similar benefits to an individual work-out.   Not only was she interested in seeing the program grow, she was also interested in funding a portion of it.

Sharing her vision and her passion, she and Harry went to work on what the possibilities were and how they would be accomplished.  Over the next year many discussions ensued.  Eventually, the project was estimated at $1,000,000 with an additional $150,000 in equipment.  Preliminary conceptual drawings were done by THW Design in Atlanta, and they were shared with Joanne.

After seeing the project start to come alive, and sharing her own ideas about design and color from her professional interior design background, Joanne offered a gift of $300,000 towards the project.  This amount was extremely generous, and we are very grateful and pleased that Joanne’s spirit of philanthropy, combined with proper planning, would culminate in bringing a much needed program to our current and future residents at Plymouth Harbor.  In recognition of her generosity, two rooms will bear Joanne’s name:  the fitness center and the group exercise/dance studio.

Thank you so much, Joanne Hastings, for bringing your passion and philanthropic spirit to Plymouth Harbor!

The Campaign

Over the months, we were able to share this project and its funding needs with individuals who showed a similar interest.  A previous bequest from the Estate of Peggy Bates (former resident of Plymouth Harbor, was also able to be directed to the project.

Plymouth Harbor Wellness Capital CampaignWith the seed already planted by Joanne, the funding began to grow and is now over $867,000 towards the $1,000,000 for the renovation.  A full list of donors to the project is below.  Finding ourselves with more than 85% of the funding complete for the renovation, we approached our Foundation Board of Trustees who approved our first ever, formal capital campaign effort for Plymouth Harbor!  We are seeking an additional $133,000 for renovations, and $150,000 for equipment, to complete the campaign. 

This is a phenomenal project, made possible by phenomenal people.  If you would like to be part of this very exciting, and important project, please contact me at the Foundation Office (Ext. 398), and we can talk about ways in which you could be involved.  Every gift is important and appreciated!

The Donors – Representing $867,000
Estate of Dr. Peggy Bates
Jack Denison
Joe and Laura Devore
John and Alita DeJongh*
Tom Elkind (in memory of Stuart S. and Barbara R. Elkind)*
Suzanne Freund
Joanne Hastings*
Harry and Nancy Hobson
Garry Jackson
Cynthia Lichtenstein and Charles Miller
Gordon and Arlene Okawa
Becky and Paul Pazkowski
Dinah Stamp
Sandy Taylor
Tom Towler and Nancy Lyon
Tena and Tom Wilson

*Represent gifts with associated naming opportunities.

Plymouth Harbor on Sarasota Bay is proud to present Black Orchids, an exhibition of photographs by Ellen Gottlieb Steele, in the Mezzanine Gallery, March 12 – April 22, 2013, with open reception Tuesday, March 12 at 4:30 – 6:00pm.

Ellen Gottlieb Steele has been a printmaker-photographer for many years. Her works hang in many private collections throughout the United States and Europe. In 2006, one of her photographs was chosen to be shown in the S. Dillon Ripley Center at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.  Steele has had two one-woman shows in New York and this is her second show in the Mezzanine Gallery at Plymouth Harbor.

All of the images in this show are photographic. None of them have been altered by any computer-generated process. Their abstract nature is a result of the actual printing process itself. Some of them have been enhanced with the application of watercolor. The photographs were taken in Sarasota at Selby Gardens in 2012.

Black Orchids, an exhibit of photographs by Ellen Gottlieb Steele – at the Mezzanine Gallery at Plymouth Harbor, March 12 – April 22, 2013. Open reception, Tuesday, March 12, 2013, 4:30-6:00pm.

Ms. Trotman, a two-time Employee of the Month honoree, (2001 and 2013), has been with Plymouth Harbor since January of 1998.  She was originally hired as a part-time server.  Her hard work and diligence have earned her three promotions, and she is currently a full-time Banquet Captain.

Tasha Trotman, March Employee of the MonthTasha has received many Shining Stars from residents throughout her tenure with Plymouth Harbor.  These Shining Stars express her consistency with superb performance and always providing exceptional customer service with a smile.  Her supervisors describe her as a dedicated, efficient employee who can step into any position in her department.  She has repeatedly received “Exceeds Standard” remarks on appraisals for her job knowledge, quality of work, efficiency, decision-making, relationships with people, responsiveness to her supervisor, and attendance.

Originally Tasha is from the US Virgin Islands.  Being the second youngest of 12 children, she has nine brothers and two sisters.  She received several awards for playing the drums in her high school band. Having earned enough credits at the end of her 10th grade year, Tasha was able to graduate early.  After high school, she became a teacher’s aide for junior high and high school students.  At age 14, Tasha also operated a summer day care center in her home.

In 1995, Tasha moved to Sarasota to live with her father and three siblings.  Criteria for high school graduation is higher in the states than in the Virgin Islands, therefore, she returned to high school, graduating from Booker High School in 1999.  She is the proud mother of three very busy children:  Shacori (12), Joe (7), and Taliyah (5).

Plymouth Harbor is proud to congratulate Tasha Trotman, as March 2013 Employee of the Month!

It’s not Broadway, Off or even Off-Off Broadway, but the Plymouth Harbor Players is on a streak of smash hits with this latest production,” The Bride on the 17th Floor.”  This is the fourth in the series of Don Wallace’s “..on the 17th Floor” adventures with residents at, ahem, ‘Puritan Cove,’ where there’s always a bit of humor, and this time, a who-done-it  with some suspense. Did the ending take you by surprise?

The Plymouth Harbor Players - The Bride on the 17th Floor

The Courtroom in "The Bride on the 17th Floor"

The charm of community theatre on any stage is the courage shown by amateurs in the spotlight. Some of the actors in “The Bride…” courthouse scene had to memorize 20 consecutive pages of script and lively dialogue.  That’s a tough assignment, even when you have the safety net of an off-stage prompter.

Those stars included Bill Brackett  as Lionel Willet, the defense attorney, and Arnold Freeman as Philip Bostwick, the accused gold-digger or mourning newlywed, take your pick.  The ornery Judge Stanley L. Bernstein got some extra laughs with Bobby Broderick’s characterization. Heather Shaw played the sharp prosecuting attorney, Leslie Giles.   Stage Manager Jeanne Nunn also provided advice to keep the courtroom scenes realistic.  Former stage manager Peggy Wallace had some fun this year as the ingénue, the lovely and well-to-do Virginia Brown who married Phil and then disappeared on their honeymoon cruise.

Over 25 residents were involved in making this production a success, many of them behind the scenes.  Naomi Wittenberg pulled things together as the producer and several volunteers created sets, managed props and assisted costume changes with limited space and resources.

Plymouth Harbor Players on Stage

Congratulations to the cast & crew!

Anyone involved would quickly credit their success to the inspiring professionalism of the show’s writer and director, Don Wallace, who’s done a bit of this before.  He started working with soap operas on radio and television after WWII. Perhaps you saw his early directing on The Edge of Night,or the two shows that he helped create, All My Children and One Life to Live.

Don says writing the story is not so tough, but directing is exhausting!  There were three rehearsals a week since early January and auditions just before the holidays.

“Our amateur actors have something in common with all the professionals I’ve worked with,” says Don. “As soon as they get the script, they have changes to suggest!”  But seriously, he says it is very meaningful to work with the Plymouth Harbor Players.  Urging them to keep up the pace of action is more of an issue than acting skill or lines, but that’s not the reason this is important.  Both he and his wife Peggy were in agreement, the stimulation of acting keeps everyone young and it’s often a much needed escape from all other daily worries.

Does Don have something in mind for “something on the 17th Floor” for next year? “Perhaps,” laughs Don, “If we’re not on a cruise to Antarctica!”

The Cast

Barry Dobson, CEO – Harry Hobson
Samantha Tobin –  Ann Williams
Lionel H. Willett – Bill Brackett
Philip Bostwick – Arnold Freedman
Chiquita Mathews – Francie Jones
Virginia Brown – Peggy Wallace
Millicent Murgatroid – Anne Moore
Leslie (Les) Giles – Heather Shaw
Bailiff – Louis Schneider
Honeybunch – Carol Lawrence
Jury Foreman – George Spelvin

Kudos to everyone ‘behind the scenes’ as well!  Residents: Naomi Wittenberg, John DeJongh, Bruce Wallace, Peggy Wallace, Jeanne Nunn, Alida DeJongh, Robert Lawrence, Pauline Thoms, Bev Wright, Nancy Gross and Norma Schatz.  Staff:  Maryanne Shorin, Karen Smith, Hugh Kelly and Jeanne MacArthur.

Plymouth Harbor resident Ann Brackett has spent a lifetime believing in the unlimited potential of girls when given the opportunity to grow.  Not so long ago, she was attending the annual Boys & Girls Club Luncheon, one of the largest and most inspiring fundraising events of Sarasota’s very busy “season.” She found herself sitting next to Sue Stewart, who was there representing Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida. Before long, they were sharing their mutual love for the tradition of scouting.

Ann Brackett Donates her Girl Scout uniform

Ann Brackett donates her vintage Girl Scout uniform to the Girl Scouts.

You see, being a Girl Scout when she was a child was so important to Ann that she had kept her uniform, proudly decorated with numerous badges to mark her achievements, in a keepsake box all these years.  An idea sprang out of her chance meeting with Sue: why not donate that uniform, now considered a rare vintage treasure, to the local Girl Scout council?  It was an easy decision to make and before she knew it she was visiting with current Scouts and sharing stories with them while they gazed at the proper dress uniform so different from the simple vests the girls wear today.When Ann was a child, there was a local Girl Scout troop meeting regularly at her church, which was right next to her school in Newton, MA. This made it very convenient for Ann to get involved.  Being an only child, belonging to her Girl Scout troop gave Ann the social interaction she craved. She enjoyed the opportunity it gave her to work with and become friends with girls beyond her circle from school or her neighborhood.

“In Girl Scouts it doesn’t matter what color you are or how you look. You are part of a family and everyone respects you,” adds Ann. “This outstanding organization has made our nation a much better place. Girl Scouts present positive role models, endless possibilities, and a clear path to making dreams come true. The positive influence of Girl Scouts has lasted a lifetime for me.”

Girl Scout uniforms

Over time transformations of the Girl Scout uniform.

Ann was an enthusiastic scout and some of her fondest memories were of summer camp. Each merit badge earned built her confidence and inspired her increased involvement over the years.  She feels it was Girls Scouts that prepared her for an unexpected challenge later in her life when she was called upon to care for her aunt diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

“Girls are strong when they help other people. Girls need to feel a responsibility to care for others and experience the joy that goes along with it,” she comments.

Ann was unexpectedly reunited with her Girl Scout leader, Edna Hockridge, 40 years after her scouting days. She was with her aunt at the doctor’s office, when Mrs. Hockridge, also in the waiting room, recognized Ann’s laugh. It was one of those unexpected, sweet moments to reminisce with her Girl Scout leader all those years later. “I guess I never lost my unique laugh!” exclaimed Ann.

“The staff and current Girl Scouts were thrilled when Ann offered to donate her beautiful, pristine, vintage Girl Scout uniform to Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida. Her gift serves as a reminder to all our girl members and Girl Scout alumnae that Girl Scouting is a lifelong circle of friendship, with shared ideals.

Girl Scout Vest

This junior vest is the Girl Scouts' uniform today.

“The powerful values – courage, confidence and character – are as relevant today as they were in Ann’s day. The insignia, badges and achievements proudly displayed on Ann’s uniform show girls today that what they do matters, and that they can take action to make the world a better place,” shares Sue Stewart, CEO of Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida.

As a result of Ann’s recent connection with the Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida, Plymouth Harbor is now partnering with a member of Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida who is interested in fulfilling her Gold Award by rebuilding the Butterfly Garden, a special feature of Plymouth Harbor’s beautiful campus grounds.

Ann’s story is not unique.  In fact, many of the women living at Plymouth Harbor were Girl Scouts. It seems as if everywhere you turn, you meet women excited to share their memories as a Girl Scout. Whether it’s a fond reflection of their time at camp, a friendship formed fifty years ago that is as strong today as it was then, or the recent memory of a college student whose passion was ignited as a Girl Scout – the stories are everywhere.

We recently received an email from Plymouth Harbor resident Lou Newman with the following note:

I would like to introduce you to “Hootie” and “Hooter”, the two new resident Great Horned Owls at Plymouth Harbor on Sarasota Bay.  Although frequently heard, the owls are rarely visible because they have taken up residence high in the large Banyan tree at the northeast corner of the building. They likely have a nest in this tree; however, it is completely obscured by the dense foliage.  Is Hootie “pregnant? ”Only time will tell!”

Hooter & Hootie are resident Great Horned Owls at Plymouth Harbor.

Image by Lou Newman: Hooter & Hootie are resident Great Horned Owls at Plymouth Harbor

This little note accompanied by a stunning photograph that looks like he was in the tree with the owls is just another run of the mill day for Dr. Lou Newman, retired large animal veterinarian, now professional nature photographer.

Loy Newman with bear

Lou Newman photographing bears in the wild

Lou developed a curiosity about photographic techniques as a teenager, which evolved into a lifelong calling.Photography was a significant activity throughout his years as a rancher and veterinarian in Montana, and became of major importance when he left practice to become a veterinary college faculty member and pursue an advanced degree.  Photography was important in his roles as professor, pathologist, diagnostician, research clinician, and administrator.

During the 1990’s Lou prepared for a photographic “career in retirement” and the change to digital imaging.  Large animal medicine/surgery and wildlife studies had always been major interests and reinforced the progression to wildlife photography.  Lou’s passion is photographing the wildlife and birds of the Florida coast.

Of course, with Plymouth Harbor being situated on Coon Key in the midst of a natural bird habitat, Lou has become the photographic chronicler of many of nature’s dramas in our midst.  Here he alerts us to a potential nest of baby owls in our future and not too long ago, he played an even more active role in protecting our wild fowled young ones.

A Heroic Rescue for Stranded Chicks

In May 2012, Lou was on hand to rescue and document an entire Black Skimmer colony on Longboat Key that was threatened by Tropical Storm Debby. The storm had pushed coastal waters two to three feet above normal and large waves carried the water over the colony of over 400 birds with more than 100 active nest scrapes. The adult birds were all standing facing the wind in the lee of the buildings at the top of the beach; none were with the stranded chicks.

Willie Least Tern feeding its chick

Willie Least Tern feeding its chick

In his own words, “My initial reaction was to hope the adult birds would seek out their chicks. When this did not occur I returned to my vehicle to call beach monitors and bird rehabilitators for advice. When I returned to the beach half of the chicks had disappeared. Chicks were being buried by wind driven sand; and Laughing Gulls, and even a few Royal Terns, were gorging on stranded chicks. I saw only four chicks that somehow made it up the beach to the adult birds (and I hope were reunited with their parents). There were perhaps 50 chicks remaining at this point.”

“The stress of the day-long storm, flooding, relentless wind gusting to 40mph, biting wind-driven sand and opportunistic raiding gulls took a toll as I watched. It made no sense to stand by and watch remaining chicks perish this way. With help from others who arrived, it made sense to try to rescue the surviving chicks. We were able to find and pick up 32 live chicks. Gail Straight from Wildlife, Inc. on Anna Maria Island came to help and took the chicks to her wildlife education and rehabilitation center.”

Willie Least Tern with a Ghost Crab

Willie Least Tern with a Ghost Crab

Not surprisingly, Lou is active with the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program and has volunteered as a veterinary pathologist at Mote Marine Laboratory, as a veterinary surgeon at the former Pelican Man Bird Sanctuary, and as an Emergency Veterinary Medical Officer in Great Britain during the Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak.

Lou is an active member of the North American Nature Photography Association, National Association of Photoshop Professionals, Dimage, Digital Photo Artists, Sarasota Audubon Society, and Sarasota Bay Estuary Program Citizens Advisory Committee.  His work is held in several private collections and is on permanent display at Sarasota Memorial Hospital, Pines of Sarasota, SMH Institute for Advanced Medicine, Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation, and Plymouth Harbor on Sarasota Bay’s Smith Care Center.  He frequently participates in regional art gallery and photography exhibits. We’re proud he shares this wealth of photography with Plymouth Harbor on a regular basis.