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Author: Renee Bodine

Sunrise to Sundown, Beekeeping Forester Never Stops

Posted by Renee Bodine, Florida Public Affairs Specialist on June 22, 2016 at 10:20 AM
A workshop he took two years ago prompted Willie Earl Paramore to become a beekeeper.

A workshop he took two years ago prompted Willie Earl Paramore to become a beekeeper.

In September, Willie Earl Paramore will turn 90, but he isn’t letting any grass grow under his feet. He doesn’t stop moving, learning or doing. He manages a forest, hiking and four-wheeling though 540 acres, where he sets the prescribed burns himself. He also keeps bees, building his own bee boxes and moving them around to get the best nectar. And he is still on-call for the Paramore Drug Store that now belongs to his son. Willie Earl is frequently the featured speaker on bees and trees at the town civic group meetings and Rotary Club. 

“I retired 21 years ago and have been playing ever since,” he said. Everyone in town knows him and they will tell you right away that no one in town can keep up with Willie Earl, no matter what age. 

A third-generation farmer, Willie Earl became interested in forestry when he planted two acres of longleaf pine trees for his Future Farmers of America project in 1942. But then he was drafted. When he returned from the army he married his high school sweetheart, Corrie, settling in the small rural town of Marianna, Florida. They raised a family and he was the town pharmacist, but it wasn’t long before Willie Earl started acquiring land.  Read more >>

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Tags: Florida, pollinators, longleaf pines, multi-generational farmer

categories Farmer & Rancher Stories

Create Quail Habitat on Your Land

Posted by Renee Bodine on May 19, 2016 at 11:37 AM
A northern bobwhite quail sits in a tree.

The northern bobwhite quail population has declined in America.

Bill Barnhill recalls the days when a robust quail population brought hunters to Florida’s panhandle for national field trials. Since then, the species has declined 85 percent in the United States, according to some estimates. So when he hosted a quail habitat workshop recently, it was no surprise when 100 people crowded into his hunting lodge eight miles northwest of Crestview, Florida to learn how to bring back the northern bobwhite quail. Here is just some of what they learned.

Why are quail in decline? A loss of habitat is the primary reason. In the 1940s, coveys thrived on small farms along the edges of fields, hedgerows, fencerows and windbreaks. But small fields gave way to industrial farms with large expansive fields and development consumed open native grasslands. After decades of fire suppression, undergrowth was choking out quail forage, nesting cover and protection.  Read more >>

Tags: Florida, Longleaf Pine Initiative, Working Lands for Wildlife

categories Landscape Initiatives, Plants & Animals