Our Florida vacation earlier this spring caused us to get behind on things we had planned for Alligator Alliance. Getting behind on things is something I’m not very familiar with, because I am extremely organized. I am one of those types who like to make lists and check things off as I go. I set goals and deadlines for myself, as well as for our organization. However, we have been so focused on Alligator Alliance since 2010 we felt we really deserved a vacation. So, with that being said, it was back to work for us in Brunswick County May 15th - 21st.
We’ve been working very hard on redesigning our brochure. The goal was to have it completed by April. It ended up taking us until May, but it was well worth the extra effort we put into it. Once again, our friend Angie helped us out and was the first one to read it. Angie has become our biggest supporter over the past few years and we are so lucky to have her in our corner! She was the first one to read my children’s book (“BEAUTIFUL BEAU”), the first one to see our new t-shirt design and one of my biggest cheerleaders when I was losing weight. We just want to say “THANK YOU” again to Angie!!!
We handed out several of our new brochures while we were in Brunswick County. We also had the opportunity to meet some new people as we were cleaning alligator habitats. We were allowed to put brochure stands in several local businesses and restaurants. We have gotten a very good response from people e-mailing us and telling us where they picked our brochures up at.
Our website views have gone up substantially. Just since May 1st we’ve had over 33,000 views. Our website numbers typically go up and down, but since we were featured in two magazines last year, we’ve never had less than 8,000 views per month.
As I have mentioned many times before, we are 100% self-funded and non-profit. Everything we do, we do because we LOVE alligators! Even though many people have offered donations and inquired about setting up “Go Fund Me” accounts, we have always turned them down. Last year we accepted a drone from a close friend of ours (who wishes to remain anonymous). Earlier this year we had the idea to put up signs at some of the habitats that we clean and that same friend had them made for us. We are so grateful for their support!
We were glad to see some of our “regular” alligators … Beau, Neo, Sobek, Jax, Baby Charlie, Quinn, Michael, GiGi (and her new hatchlings!) … just to name a few. We also found a few new ones along the way, which is always exciting for us! We were happy to see Cadence, a beautiful juvenile, who returned to her habitat for the second year.
I can’t tell you how exciting it is for us to watch an alligator through the years and see her have new hatchlings every spring! GiGi is one of our favorite alligators and she never lets us down. We are very cautious around ALL the alligators that we encounter, but we are extra cautious when it comes to GiGi. Mother alligators are notorious for defending their young, both before and after they have hatched. We were able to count four new hatchlings, but I’m sure there were many more that we didn’t see. Some of the best photos we’ve taken all year are of GiGi and her newest family members.
To see more pictures of GiGi & her Hatchlings, go to our
"Meet The Gators" page.
We spent an entire afternoon picking up trash on one of our Adopt-A-Highway roads. We picked up three large bags of trash, as well as several items too big to put in a trash bag. Even though it is hard work, it’s something we enjoy. It gives us such a sense of accomplishment and it’s a great way to get some exercise! I have now lost a total of 145 pounds!
Unfortunately, we saw a three foot alligator in the middle of River Road (Highway 133) that had been ran over. It’s not the first time we’ve seen something like this. In fact, just a couple of years ago, we saw a smaller one ran over in nearly the exact same spot. It’s a low lying area and it’s surrounded on both sides by swamps. We know that these things are bound to happen, but it doesn’t make it any easier for us when we see it.
In my last blog I shared with you that in March we were contacted by a film maker and producer from Wilmington (NC) who invited us to participate in a documentary he is making about alligators. We had hoped to begin our initial filming with him while we were in Brunswick County in May, but he was tied up in Peru, where he was working on another documentary. We are anticipating working with him this summer.
All winter long here in NC we look forward to spring and summer. During the colder months we miss our alligators and we miss the work that we do. When spring finally arrives, it seems like we blink our eyes and summer is here! Then, all too quickly, summer is over and fall is upon us. This year will be no different for us. We have a very busy summer ahead of us. We will be working on the documentary and have a few presentations lined up. We have an ever growing list of things we’d like to do concerning Alligator Alliance.
Coming soon we will have new business cards and car magnets. We are currently waiting on a quote for key chains and ink pens. We try to use every option available to get the word out about our little organization! These will be things we hand out for free, along with our brochures and wristbands.
We still haven’t had the chance to do our alligator handling certification class yet. Our friend Chad (CCSB Reptile Rescue & Rehab Center) has been very busy teaching other classes. He not only teaches certification classes, he has a business to run. He is going to do a special class just for us and we have to work with him on his schedule (which we are more than happy to do)!
I have gotten so many e-mails concerning my children’s book (“BEAUTIFUL BEAU”). I am thrilled that so many parents and children alike love my book! It is our hope that we can one day sell the book to a publisher. In our (nonexistent) spare time we are pursuing several options. Things like this take a lot of time and back and forth phone calls and e-mails. In the meantime, I have written my second children’s book. I will be sharing it with you on our website early next year. It’s a little different. I’ll give you a hint … it’s NOT about alligators, but it IS about someone very near and dear to my heart!
We had such an amazing time on vacation earlier this year in Florida. I will always love Brunswick County, but Florida is calling my name! I love the fact that there are so many alligators and it is warm all year round. We recently found a realtor to work with there and the search is on! It might be a little bit trickier finding property in Florida than it was in Brunswick County, but we love a challenge! I’ve also been thinking about expanding our organization there, which would mean Alligator Alliance would be dedicated to protecting alligators in TWO states. I’m not sure how this will work, but it is something I have been giving a lot of serious thought to. I am excited about exploring all the possibilities Florida has to offer!
As always, I am thankful! THANK YOU to my tireless husband John who takes my ever changing ideas and turns them into reality! He did an amazing job on our new brochure
and it is EXACTLY what I wanted! Without him Alligator Alliance wouldn’t have a website.
He does a wonderful job and more than one person has contacted us asking who created our website and if they’d be willing to do theirs. Sorry, but that would be a “NO” … he’s way too busy doing stuff for me LOL! He is an amazing wildlife photographer
and it has been a pleasure to see how much he has improved through the years. And best of all, ANY time I have an idea, no matter how CRAZY it sounds he is ready to help make it happen!
Thank you to all of the people who continue to support us. We appreciate it so much! Thank you to Tina Vucci for the great pictures that she allows us to share on our website. Thank you to the people who allow us access to their private property to observe alligators. It is a privilege! A special thanks to our friend John at Oak Island Golf Club! Thanks to Dawn for letting us stay in her parent’s house once again in May. Thank you to our wonderful friend Kim for always opening her beautiful home to us. I hope we never wear out our welcome!
We hope everyone has a wonderful and safe summer! Please remember, ANY body of water in the Eastern part of our state (NC) has the potential to have an alligator in it. PLEASE keep your distance from them if you see one! Keep your children and pets away from them. Alligators can be extremely dangerous, especially when they are fed by humans.
Winnie Jo … The Official Mascot of Alligator Alliance