Take A Dive into the Springs that Call Volusia County, Florida Home

ERA Grizzard Real Estate

Volusia County is ideally situated in the eastern section of Florida. Rich with arts, entertainment, and recreation, it has a lot to offer. But the real jewel of Volusia County is its four beautiful springs.

Peppered throughout the county, Blue Spring, Green Springs, DeLeon Springs, and Gemini Springs are distinct treasures in their own right and quite enticing for those lucky enough to make Volusia County their home.

Here’s a look at the area’s unique springs, the sought-after recreation they offer, and the way of life it boasts for Volusia County Residents.

Blue Spring

manatees in the st johns river near deland florida

Blue Spring is the largest spring on the St. Johns River. Located in the 2,600-acre Blue Spring State Park in Orange City, it’s also the winter home of West Indian Manatees and a designated manatee refuge.

During swimming season, water enthusiasts enjoy the spring’s comfortable 73-degree water by swimming, scuba diving, and snorkeling. They can also take advantage of the fishing, boating, and canoeing opportunities, as well as river-boat tours.

The aforementioned hundreds of manatees make for ample wildlife watching from the spring’s overlook from mid-November through March. Visitors can also take self-guided tours of the historic Thursby House, erected in 1872 in the heyday of the steamboat era or enjoy the picnic areas and three covered pavilions.

Blue Spring makes Volusia County an even better place to call home by allowing residents the chance to see the wonder of wildlife migration in action. Plus, the watersport activities set in the Blue Spring and St. John River are just the thing for an invigorating outing with family and friends.

Green Springs

Deltona_Springs

Located in Enterprise, Green Springs is one of Florida’s few green sulfur springs. It’s nestled in Green Springs Park, which includes 36 acres of natural beauty that can be enjoyed from any of the overlooks and paved nature trails. With free admission and dawn to dusk operating hours, it’s a great place to spend the day from eating at a picnic pavilion or letting the kids enjoy the playground.

 

Green Springs’ own history is interwoven with that of Volusia County that dates back to early Native American settlers, including the Seminoles and Mayaca, who believed the spring water had healing powers and deemed the land surrounding it as sacred. In 1841, Cornelius Taylor shared that belief and built one of Florida’s original health spas, a hotel, so visitors could benefit from the sulfur springs.

Green Springs enhances Volusia County by providing residents with a place to enjoy the outdoors and become enthralled by both the mystique and history of the springs’ gentle sulfur waters.

DeLeon Springs

deleon springs florida

Located in both the municipality and state park that sport their namesake, DeLeon Springs are cascading springs that produce 19 million gallons of water every day at a year-round 72-degree temperature.

Visitors can access the water by swimmer’s lift, ramp, or stairs. Swimming and limited access snorkeling and scuba diving are also available. Rent out canoes, kayaks, and paddle-boats for exploring the 22,000-acre Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge. Another option is to learn about the Refuge in a 50-minute guided boat tour.

 

The 625-acre park overlooking the water affords the opportunity for hiking, birding, picnicking, and enjoying the playground. There’s lots of natural beauty to love, including a 600-year-old cypress tree and butterfly garden with hundreds of plants attracting the migrating creatures.

Visitors can also get a literal taste of history at the on-site Sugar Mill Restaurant in a replica of the actual 1830s sugar mill that’s is 100 years old. It’s fun for all ages to cook your own pancakes right at your table!

With a rich history, natural beauty, and activities that encourage lots of memory making, DeLeon Springs makes Volusia County an even better place to call home.

Gemini Springs

gemini springs

Located in DeLand, FL Gemini Springs is true to its name with a pair of springs that generate 6.5 million gallons of sparkling, clear water every day. It’s great for fishing on the dock (with a freshwater fishing permit), but the 210-acre Gemini Springs Park has lots of other offerings for visitors, too.

The free park is open sunrise to sunset and sports a dog park and camping. Plus, the numerous walkways and trails for biking and walking allow ample opportunity to observe the natural wildlife and vegetation.

Just down the road from Gemini Springs is the town of Enterprise. In Florida’s frontier days, it was teeming with government and commerce activity. Nineteenth-century farming operations at Gemini Springs included citrus, timber, and making turpentine from longleaf pine trees.

The wealth of history and opportunity to exercise in a beautiful natural setting makes Gemini Springs just one more reason outdoor enthusiasts should call Volusia County home.

What Content Marketers Can Learn From Comedy Screenwriters

content marketers comedy screenwriters

There’s nothing like going to the movies and spending a couple of hours forgetting your cares while enjoying a good comedy flick. The best one are fun and memorable while even giving you heartstrings a little tug. While everything you see plays out onscreen, it’s the work of the comedic screenwriters that give the work life.

As a content marketer, there’s a lot you can learn from that work.

Tell a Story

The best comedic screenwriters don’t go forth on a project with the idea of getting a laugh as their man goal. Instead, their aim is to tell a story. Well, yeah. Haven’t you ever noticed that the best comedy movies tell a story?

Take the “Hotel Transylvania” franchise. The third movie that just hit screens sets the scene for a long overdue monster vacation, with several subplots weaving together to create one story. One main premise is that more than a century after losing his wife, Dracula could be ready to find love again. Meanwhile, Wayne and Wanda the Werewolves finally have some adventurous quality time without their pack of pups. All this, while their trip could have disastrous consequences. Of course, there’s more. But who am I to give it away? Not to mention the fact that it builds on the story created and expanded upon in the first two flicks.

My point is that while “Hotel Transylvania” is packed with tons of funny, the story is what draws in the audience. We become invested in the characters and their journey. That’s all thanks to comedic screenwriters Michael McCullers and Genndy Tartakovsky, who based their work on the characters created by Todd Durham.

As a content marketer, you can learn a lot from this storytelling idea. The best content tells a story, with your audience as the hero on a journey. Then your organization becomes a character that helps them along that journey, overcoming challenges, fulfilling needs. If your content makes them smile or giggle, that’s cool. But it’s the story they remember.

The best content tells a story, with your audience as the hero on a journey. Tweet This!

Know Your Target Audience

“Hotel Transylvania” has a target audience of young children up to tweens. But going to animated movies can be a family affair. So parents of said kids are the secondary audience. And of course, it even expands out to adult fans of animated movies and the long list of talented actors making up the cast. I’m mean, Adam Sandler is all I have to say, right?

But the comedic screenwriters do a great job of keeping things interesting and fun for everyone. One might say they’re engaging the audience. What a gift!

So while this film trilogy does have a wide and varied audience with universally appealing content, it only targets one demographic. This is good for you, as a content marketer, to bear in mind. You can’t be everything to everyone. So focus on your target audience. This will help your content make its mark and generate those coveted conversions.

Doing your research will help you find your target audience. The analytics from your social media, websites, and email campaigns will tell you the age, interests, and other demographics of your most engaged audience. That’s your target. Interpreting the analytic data will tell you how to reach them. And as with any comedic screenwriter’s best work, your content will also attract and engage well beyond that target.

Be Original

We’re all familiar with such iconic creatures as vampires, werewolves, mummies, zombies, and the monster of Frankenstein. But the “Hotel Transylvania” screenwriters take the familiar and present it in a whole new way. Thus, it’s an entirely original concept that uses that familiarity as a source of humor.

The lesson here is that your content marketing should be original. Instead of chasing the latest trend or trying to keep up with your competition, have confidence in who you are and what you have to offer. Even in the sea of content and competition out there, you can stand out just by being your original self.

Develop Your Voice

Part of being original includes developing your voice. The comedic screenwriters of the “Hotel Transylvania” series made sure to do this by establishing a witty tone that’s also family friendly. This successful combination sets it apart and makes it fun.

As a content marketer, finding your voice is key to engaging with your audience. A great way to start is with your company’s brand and services. What do you offer your customers and how does your branding support that? The voice of your content marketing should work in sync with that.

Next, delve back into your into your analytics report. That supports your branding because your audience is drawn to you for a reason. They’re interested in your brand because it has the possibility of solving a problem, answering a questing, or fulfilling a need for them. Things like their age, locality, income level, shopping and entertainment habits, and interests will also guide you.

When you think about it, it’s pretty easy to establish your own voice. Factoring in key analytics with what your company represents should make it develop smoothly.

As a content marketer, you can learn quite a lot from comedic screenwriters, if you pay attention. By studying their work, you can pick up on such lessons as letting humor come naturally by focusing on storytelling, identifying your target audience, standing out from the crowd by being original, and developing your voice.

 

Using Humor to Re-engage Customers Who Forgot About You

Humor reengage customers

You’ve developed your company brand and established your business as an industry authority. But along the way, you’ve forgotten about customers who had at one time been engaged but haven’t kept your attention for a variety of reasons. Before you write them off completely as a loss, give those forgotten customers another look. After all, winning them back benefits everyone. You cultivate conversions and they get information and services from a source they learned to trust. One of the best strategies is using humor to re-engage customers who forgot about you.

Establish Your Online Personality

Making humor a part of your company’s online personality keeps it memorable. That generates likes and shares, and interaction from your audience. But how do you do that? Just by incorporating a fun tone into your content that’s already helpful and informative.

As part of establishing your online personality, it helps to ask a few questions:

  • Are your company’s offline and online personalities similar?
  • How does humor fit into both of these personalities?
  • How does your audience follow you on social media? That audience includes followers, fans, and existing customers.
  • How does your audience perceive you? Do they think of you as conventional, adventurous, educational, daring, edgy?

Once you’ve answered those questions, you’ve got a better handle on your company’s online personality. That shapes your content and its messaging.

But what do you do with that messaging to reel back in those customers that are close to getting away? Simple, use that previously mentioned fun factor to reel them back in.

Have Fun With Your Audience

  • Post videos that are informative and entertaining.
  • Once a week, post a thank you to your most engaged followers for the week. You can post a picture or GIF of your coworkers celebrating or a video of them dancing joyously, etc.
  • Conduct weekly polls that tie what’s going in pop culture into your company.
  • Do short interviews with coworkers with fun questions like what they have on their desk, things they can’t live without, how they plan to enjoy the weekend, what chore they hate, etc. Then ask your audience to weigh in with their own answers.
  • Have a Take-Over Tuesday. Let different people in your company or special customers takeover your social media feed for the day each Tuesday. It shakes things up and attracts an audience curious to see what’s in store.
  • Have a Throwback Thursday. Spend each Thursday reposting from the past. This gives new followers insight into your company’s history and showcases how far you’ve come.

Tell A Good Story

Everybody likes a good story. It grabs and retains attention. It’s really effective when you incorporate humor, even if it’s subtle. If your office has a company mascot, post his daily adventures and weave it into a narrative from his perspective. If you get regular visitors to your business, post pictures giving a shout-out to them and put it in an ongoing story format. If something weird happens in the office or just outside, post updates in a tongue-in-cheek news format with pictures or video.

Keep It Short, Sweetheart

As the old entertainment business mantra says, “Leaving them wanting more.” These days, audiences want their content in tiny nuggets that don’t take a lot of time to peruse. That’s true for video and written content. So even if your aim is to give your audience a slight grin or an all-out belly laugh, be concise. That way, your content will stick with them and motivate them to engage and share with more potential customers. Keeping it short will also leave your audience eagerly awaiting your next post.

Avoid Insults

In today’s society, we’re striving to be a lot more open minded and accepting of others with a live and let live attitude. While the bread and butter of stand-up comedians has always been taking jabs at the world around them, some of them are getting called out for being callous. So when you’re planning ways to weave humor into your content, it’s probably best to stay away from poking (too much) fun at others. Otherwise, you could be starting a social media war that ends up spiraling out of control.

Plus, your seemingly innocuous post could alienate part of your audience, leading them to unfollow you and share their disdain in their own posts. And that’s definitely NOT what you want. So it’s best to be safe and play nice.

Stay Consistent With Your Brand

With your content, your aim is to inform, entertain, and generate various levels of laughter from your audience. But keep in mind that it should always point back to your company. Even if it’s a subtle undertone, the message should respect your company brand. After all, developing content that draws followers to consider your products and services is the ultimate end game.

With a little creativity and strategy, you can easily incorporate humor into your online presence. Then before you know it, you’ll find those customers who forgot about you are back and actively re-engaged.

Cathy H has years of well-rounded experience in the writing field. Since transitioning from the newspaper industry, she has written countless pieces for clients that include content for blogs/articles, website landing pages, apps, press releases, and email newsletters. While her versatility enables Cathy to adapt her tone to the need, her favorite projects are those that add a dash of fun.

Need some summer reading ideas? Check out these Kids Town picks!

There’s nothing better on a lazy summer day than to settle in with a good book. The fun and adventure are enough to stimulate any young mind. If your young reader is looking for something new, check out these great summer reading ideas for kids. No matter what the age, there’s bound to be a page turner for everyone.

“Unicorn Rescue Society” series by Adam Gidwitz

Children’s author Adam Gidwitz offers kids ages 8-12 the chance to take unforgettable adventures. They’ll love the two-part series, “Unicorn Rescue Society.” The first book follows new kid in town Elliot Eisner who’s unsure about his move to a new town. Life turns upside down when his new teacher, Professor Fauna, plans a field trip for Elliot’s first day at school. With his outgoing new friend, Uchenna Devereaux, Elliot is thrust into a secret group of adventurers, The Unicorn Rescue Society, who protect the mythical creatures. With his new friends, Elliott must free a Jersey Devil from the underhanded Schmoke Brothers.

Once kids have finished that adventure, they can delve into the second installment, as “The Basque Dragon” just hit shelves in July. Just as they catch their breath from the first adventure, Elliot and Uchenna, are sent on yet another quest – across the Atlantic to Basque Country. The duo could be in over their head this time. And they could face a familiar foe.

“The Dork Diaries” by Rachel Renee Russell

Kids in grades 3-8 can’t help but be drawn into this New York Times Best Selling series. The 12-book series is written like a diary, complete with doodles and drawings, to follow the life of 14-year-old middle schooler Nikki Maxwell. The adventure begins in “Dork Diaries 1: Tales of a Not So Fabulous Life,” when Nikki starts a snobby new school and contents with her mom for an iPhone.

“Cat Wishes” by Callista Brill and Kenard Pak

This 40-page picture book will delight kids ages 3-8. Released in July, this playful and subversive fairy tale follows the scrounging and hungry Cat, who learns that wishes do come true. And sometimes in surprising ways. It’s a funny and heart-warming story of friendship that celebrates connection to others.

How Twitter Can Help Your B2B Marketing Efforts

Twitter for B2B marketing

Traditional advertising is so 20th century. These days, the way to market your brand is through social media. One of the best outlets is Twitter. Below are ways to make the most of the platform for your B2B marketing efforts.

Establish Your Industry Expertise

Twitter is a great way to set your company apart as an expert in your industry. First hit up Quora and Buzzsumo to find out what questions are being asked in your field. Then use Tweets to answer those questions and provide guidance.

A great way to do that is by matching up those needs with those who you count on most in your company for getting the job done in those particular areas.

Have your expert take over the company Twitter account for a day or a week, whichever you think would be most effective while enabling them to continue handling their other duties. Then they can host a Q&A, discuss relevant industry trends, or unpack their own challenges and how they handled them. The possibilities are endless.

This is a great way to showcase your company’s expertise, your top employees, and your company for having the good insight for knowing good talent when you see it.

Build Relationships

Twitter is a relationship-based medium. Unlike an opera singer squawking about “Mi, mi, mi,” your company wants to use Tweets to converse with existing and potential customers. By engaging in two-way conversations, you find out your audience’s needs and challenges in real time and figure out whether or how your company can fit into their picture.

Think of it like a chance meeting or a dinner party. You both introduce yourself and mine for common ground. Once you develop a rapport, the seeds of a friendship have been planted. Pretty soon, you’re regularly meeting for coffee and solving the problems of the world while laughing at yourselves. Before you know it, you’re besties celebrating each other’s achievements and guiding each other away from bad haircuts. You end up firm fixtures at each other’s special moments and proudly introduce each other to other members of your respective circles.

That scenario has many parallels with your business networking with Twitter. It can be fun and mutually beneficial.

Develop Your Company’s Personality

Part of developing relationships involves letting your personality shine through. That’s just as true when cultivating a following on Twitter. What do you want your Tweets to say about your company? You’re fun and casual? You’re always ready to learn and educate?

If you’re not sure what your company’s personality is, think about who your target audience is: For the most part, generations X, Y, and Z have distinctive viewpoints and priorities. Small business owners are also vastly different from large corporations. Let these distinctions guide the tone your Tweets take.

Twitter analytics is great for mapping out a host of audience demographic information. It helps you build a picture of your key and target audience is. Then all you have to do is shape your messaging tone toward that audience. What do you know? You’ve taken the first step in developing your company’s persona.

Target Your Time Zones

As long as you’re thinking about your target audience, include their time zone in your thought process. Again, Twitter analytics maps out that information for you. It also lets you know when your Tweets are getting the most attention and what kind of reactions they receive. Once you have that information, you can schedule your Tweets to ensure they get the most views.

Promote Your Company

Hang on a minute! Didn’t I just spurn self-promotion? (Cue awkward silence.) Well, yes. But I also talked about building relationships. And that involves sometimes taking the time to talk about yourself.

Twitter is the ideal platform for placing B2B marketers in front of the right set of eyes at the right time. And once you’ve developed relationships and established your industry influence, you can – every once in a while – incorporate your company’s products and services as part of the answer to questions your audience is asking.

But you want to be sparing in doing this. Otherwise you’ve come across as spammy, sales pitchy, and just plain annoying. Generally speaking, only about 20% of your Tweets should focus on your company’s brand. The rest should be informational Tweets that help your potential and existing customers find answers they’re looking for.

Make It Fun

I know I’ve talked about being informative while peppering your Tweets with a little spotlight on your company. But part of that relationship building includes having a little fun (think about the previously mentioned friendship scenario). Your B2B Twitter marketing strategy should include just engaging your audience with fun Tweets.

All you have to do is designate a day for something a little different. Add a quiz, poll, photo bomb, fill in the blank, employee pet spotlight, etc. You can even tie your Tweets into what’s going on in pop culture.

A lot of times people sneak a Twitter peek for a cerebral break. These type of Tweets once a week provide that break, enduring your brand to your audience even more.

Cathy H has years of well-rounded experience in the writing field. Since transitioning from the newspaper industry, she has written countless pieces for clients that include content for blogs/articles, website landing pages, apps, press releases, and email newsletters. While her versatility enables Cathy to adapt her tone to the need, her favorite projects are those that add a dash of fun.

Checklist: Creating Customer Personas

creating customer personas

So now you’ve happily agreed with the powers that be to find a way to connect with your existing and potential customers by creating customer personas. There’s just one problem…you have no idea what that even is, let alone how to make one. Before you break out into a cold sweat and start rethinking turning down your brother-in-law’s offer to pack it all in and start that catfish farm in who knows where, take a break and relax. It’s not as hard as you think.

A customer persona is just a composite sketch of your target audience. You already know content marketing is all about speaking to the individual instead of casting a net and trying to be everything for everybody. That composite sketch, or customer persona, lets you know exactly who it is you’re trying to reach. You know, the things that people who are into your company have in common. It takes the guesswork out of understanding what kind of content your audience is looking for.

So now that you know what a customer persona is, the next step is creating one. To do that, you need to do some thinking.

Think about your ideal customer

  • How old are they?
  • What’s their educational background?
  • What’s their annual income range?
  • What kind of community and what region do they live in?
  • What’s their job title and function?
  • What industry do they work in?
  • How long have they been doing this kind of work and how does their contribution relate to others in their organization?
  • What are their interests outside of work?
  • What’s their marital status and the size of their family?
  • Do they have pets?
  • What kind of lifestyle do they lead? Do they like going to sports events, trekking in the great outdoors, or getting creative at home?

By thinking about these questions, you begin to get a picture of who your target audience is. From there, you can sharpen that picture with just a little more thought.

Think about your ideal customer’s goals, responsibilities, and challenges

  • What do they need to do to be successful in their endeavors?
  • What work-related challenges do they find most frustrating?
  • What do they need to alleviate that frustration?
  • What might prevent them from ending that frustration?

By thinking about your ideal customer’s goals, responsibilities, and challenges, you begin to develop ideas for content topic ideas that address them. When you do that, you set your company apart as an industry authority that builds loyalty in your existing customers and is extremely attractive to potential customers.

Think about how your ideal customer likes to communicate

  • Where do they find their content? A website? A particular social media platformEmail?
  • How often do they like to receive updates on the content that interests them?
  • Do they spend most of their time on a computer? A tablet? Their smartphone?
  • What part of the day do they like to get content?
  • What social media platforms do they use most and how often?
  • What influences their decision-making? Friends? Colleagues? Peers? Industry authorities?
  • Do holidays or outside events affect their behavior or activity?

By considering the ways your ideal customer likes to communicate, you can then use those platforms to reach him or her, cultivate a relationship, and ultimate improve your conversion.

Think about the role your ideal customer plays in your company’s operating cycles

Giving this some consideration sheds light on how your company can best approach him or her with your content.

  • What information do they need in order to comfortably make a purchase?
  • What keywords do they use when searching for that information?
  • What stage of information gathering for a purchase are they in? Initial research? Comparison?
  • What might prevent them from finding the information they need or from making a purchase?

Think about getting accurate customer data

In order to accurately answer all these questions, you want the best data you can find. You can get it in several ways.

  • Talk with your sales team: They’re interacting with customers every day and keep a record of them. Those records and insights from your sales team are valuable intel.
  • Talk with your customer service team: This group is your company’s first line of defense for handling problems customers may have. Talking with them can both answer questions about customer challenges and give you ideas for content.
  • Survey customers: Who better to give you the information you need about customers than customers, themselves? You can talk with them via social media or email with polls and surveys for your mission.

Once you have all your information, put it together to create your company persona. And voila! This is usually a one-page document containing a “picture” of the customer. You can five them a name, too. Summarize your findings in a way that makes it clear to the reader what they’re all about, what makes them “tick,” what problems they’re trying to solve and how they want to solve them, how they want to engage, etc. Whatever is most relevant to your marketing and sales team. And your content copywriters, too!

But once you have that persona, share it with other departments in your company to make sure you’re all on the same page with your goals.

And don’t forget that people change over time, for various reasons. That’s why it’s vital to periodically update your persona to keep it relevant to your company’s needs.
There, isn’t that better? After just a few minutes you now know what a company persona is and how to create one. Now get out of here and get to work.

Think about getting some expert help!

Not so sure you’re up for going it alone? Consider working with a Content Strategist on WriterAccess to help create your personas.  Reach out to our Talent Management team when you’re ready to get started!

Cathy H has years of well-rounded experience in the writing field. Since transitioning from the newspaper industry, she has written countless pieces for clients that include content for blogs/articles, website landing pages, apps, press releases, and email newsletters. While her versatility enables Cathy to adapt her tone to the need, her favorite projects are those that add a dash of fun.

“The Country Co-ed” Heads to Washington, DC

Jacksonville State University’s Flying Blind Theatre Ensemble is taking its original comedic production of “The Country Co-ed” straight to the nation’s capital.

“It’s a real feather in the cap for us, the drama department and JSU at large,” said lead playwright, cast member and JSU Drama Professor Dr. Michael Boynton.

The troupe is set to perform a four-day stint in the Cap Fringe Festival. The two-hour performances of the production, which is suitable for adults only, are set for July 25-29 at the Blind Whino: Turquoise in Washington, DC.

JSU Drama students collaborated to create, produce and perform a reading of “The Country Co-ed,” which is loosely based on William Wycherley’s Restoration Comedy “The Country Wife” from the late-1600s, during the spring 2018 semester.

“This production is a unique product of my Special Topics in Performance course on Devised Theatre, where myself and the students created a new original work as a collaborative team,” Boynton said.

Boynton is especially proud of his student’s and fellow FBTE company member’s work.

“JSU was hit by a tornado during the production period of our show, which caused serious setbacks and challenges not only for the entire university of course, but also our fledgling company,” he said. “I was amazed and impressed by the students who soldiered on with the show, even when some of them had lost their electricity, vehicle, or even their homes. And yet we still continued the work, even if it meant doing read-throughs in my living room at crazy hours.”

The cast and crew include Anastasia Barker, Chloe Barnes, Boynton, Colton Cram, Sam Eddy, Ansley Gayton, Jessika Holmes, John Mackey, Larry Mason, Meghan Browning Phelps, Alexis Robinson, Catie Stahlkuppe, Shauna Steward, Eric Wilkerson, Aaron Williams, Dakota Yarbrough, Brooke Elam and Ebony Antoine.

Tickets are $17 and are available online up to two hours before each performance. Tickets can also be purchased at the venue up to 45 minutes before each show. You must also purchase a Capital Fringe Festival button to gain entrance into the show. To purchase tickets or read more about this production, visit the Capital Fringe website. To learn more about the Flying Blind Theatre Ensemble, visit their website. To make donations to and help support this newly formed theatre company, visit the FBTE donation page to make a tax-deductible donation through the JSU Foundation.

Pete Conroy Appointed to Alabama Educational Television Commission

 

JSU Environmental Policy and Information Center Director W. Peter Conroy has been appointed to the State of Alabama Educational Television Commission.

In this two-year position, Conroy will serve as a member of Congressional District 3. He will attend periodic meetings and serve as a decision maker in statewide policies regarding public television.

“I have made honesty and integrity a priority in my administration,” Gov. Kay Ivey wrote in her appointment letter to Conroy, “and I know that you will embody these two virtues while serving the people of Alabama.”

This is not the first time Conroy has been appointed to serve the state. His previous appointments include:

  • Forever Wild, Establishment Committee, 1990
  • Director, Governor’s Office for Environmental Affairs, 1993
  • Forever Wild, Board of Directors, 1999
  • Chair, Alabama Geographic Information Council, Chair, Alabama Commission on Environmental Initiatives, Chair, Ala. Millennial Trails Commission, 2000 -2004
  • Chair of the Region 4 Arts, Culture and Tourism Committee of the Alabama Rural Action Commission, 2009

Additionally, Conroy leads a number of projects related to conservation and economic development.  Examples include the establishment and operation of the Little River Canyon Center, the Talladega Mountain Center, Longleaf Studios and entertainment complex, the re-use of the former Fort McClellan, the Chief Ladiga Rail-Trail, and several Alabama-based initiatives promoting smart growth, environmental education, arts, conservation, tourism, water policy and sustainable hospitality.

Since 1997, Conroy has served as the director of Jacksonville State University’s Environmental Policy and Information Center (EPIC). Trained as a biologist, he moved to Alabama in 1985 to work as the curator of the Anniston Museum of Natural History.

Cheaha Challenge Deemed a Record-Breaking Success

Jacksonville State University

The 26th annual Cheaha Challenge Gran Fondo Century & ULTRA in May had a record-breaking 879 participants from 30 states and 13 countries descending on the campus for this year’s event, with 70 percent of riders staying at least one night and 90 percent of riders living outside Calhoun County. Of those, female ridership more than doubled from the usual 10 percent to 23 percent. The Cruise also saw a significant boost with a 47 percent increase in participation. Riders touted the volunteers, giving special props to rest-stop volunteers and marshals on the roads. This year’s event was so successful that 98.54 percent of riders said they would recommend the event to others. Not including spending at Effina’s Cooter’s and Jacksonville Walmart, the event pumped about $548,553 into the local economy.

Cycling enthusiasts can look forward to coming back next year, as Ride Director Brooke Nicholls Nelson said the UCI Gran Fondo Worlds qualifier will return to JSU and the city of Jacksonville in 2019.