Dear supporters of the Randell Research Center,
As one might guess, “digging” out from the effects of a storm as intense and impactful as Hurricane Ian takes quite a while. Yet, as we move toward the end of 2022 we want to assure you all that recovery from the storm is our top priority going into 2023. For a research center like the RRC and an archaeological site like Pineland, there are additional layers of consideration for how we decide to respond and grow in the face of devastation.
For example, the Ruby Gill House, which serves as our administrative offices and laboratory, was badly impacted by storm surge. The first floor was flooded, but the laboratory on the second floor fared quite well.
Following Ian, we wanted to make sure the laboratory specimens and equipment were stored in a safe, climate-controlled area while we deal with the effects of the first-floor damage. In November, maintenance technician, Andy Jendrusiak, and Operations Manager, Annisa Karim, transported the contents of the laboratory for safe keeping to the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville. The Anthropology Division at the Florida Museum came together to make much-needed space to house and rehabilitate the RRC lab in Gainesville.
Meanwhile, here on Pine Island, debris clean-up and restoration planning at the Calusa Heritage Trail is coming along. While we prepare to have debris hauled away and mitigate damage to archaeological contexts, we are also witnessing new, natural patterns of recovery in unexpected places, such as many little corkystem passion-flower (Passiflora suberosa) vines popping up on the grounds where we’ve never seen them before!
While 2022 will forever be marked in our history as the year of before and after Hurricane Ian, we are ready to move forward and continue the legacy of community engagement and research that is the hallmark of the Randell Research Center. We look forward to being in touch at the start of the New Year with more details and plans for the 2023 season.
The Randell Research Center Team
Charlie Cobb, Director
Michelle LeFebvre, Assistant Director
Annisa Karim, Operations Manager
Andy Jendrusiak and Linda Heffner