Chamber to offer hiking tours thanks to Aucilla Research Institute

Debbie Snapp, ECB Publishing, Inc.

The Monticello-Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce held its monthly Tuesday afternoon meeting on January 8. The speaker was George Cole, one of several volunteer professors, with Aucilla Research Institute (ARI) in Monticello.
ARI is volunteer run and operated; depending on grants and donations to keep the facility, located at N. Jefferson Street, up and running.
Cole spoke to the membership about ARI, its purpose and what's happening in the coming year. He's been with ARI for five years now and is proud of its accomplishments thus far. He shared about the study of the prehistoric Aucilla River Channel, showed and explained maps and charts of the area's artifacts and talked about student involvement in studies and presentations.
He told about the unexplored Native American Mounds and using drone photography and ground penetrating radar with grids.
“You learn trigonometry and such in school and think that you will never use it...well this allows an opportunity to use those studies,” he states.
Cole and his wife Margie have lived in Jefferson County since 1997. He is a founding board member of ARI. He holds a BS degree from Tulane University, and MS and PhD degrees from Florida State University. He is a professional surveyor, engineer and geographer. He has also authored several surveying text books.
The Chamber is teaming up with ARI as early as February in offering hiking trips along the Aucilla River. These hiking trips will be held, weather permitting. Transportation to and from the starting point, and lunch will be included. For those interested contact the Chamber at or call (850) 997-5552. The three-hour walking tours will also include the Aucilla Sinks, Goose Pasture and a lecture.
Rev Cafe provided the luncheon meal of grilled shrimp and grits.
The next Chamber meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 5 from 12 to 1 p.m. at 420 W. Washington Street and will feature a program, speaker, and lunch. Contact Executive Director Katrina Richardson at (850) 997-5552 for more information.