Mangroves and Manatees… man what a year

2017 began as most years do, the Bermuda high slid east across the Atlantic Ocean and the cold fronts began to reach the Gulf Coast. However, this past winter was milder than normal.  Either the high did not slide as far east as it typically does, or the fronts did not pack the punch they …

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Deck the Halls With Boughs of Holly

According to Druid lore, hanging the plant in homes would bring good luck and protection. Holly was considered sacred because it remained green and strong with brightly colored red berries no matter how harsh the winter.  Most other plants would wilt and die. Later, Christians adopted the holly tradition from Druid practices and developed symbolism …

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It’s a Strange Thing, These Rattlesnakes

The observations I made of rattlesnakes is just that… observations, there is no scientific study I am aware that supports what I appear to have seen, but I have noticed it – more than once now. The eastern diamondback rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus) is a legendary animal in the southeast United States.  William Bartram mentions it …

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Tallahassee-St. Marks Historic Railroad State Trail

The typical image of a state park is that of a place where visitors enter through a front gate and enjoy the wonders of nature or some historic structure. The Tallahassee-St. Marks Historic Railroad State Trail, which is run by The Florida Division of Recreation and Parks, is truly an exception to the typical model. …

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Agritourism in North Florida- an Emerging Industry

It seems each weekend this time of year is packed with things to do outside; and for good reason!  The weather is perfect and the holidays are approaching.  Among the many festivals and festivities are a number of farm tours, or “agritourism” related events.  For example, there was the recent Tallahassee and surrounding area “10th …

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Exploring the Economic, Environmental and Social Issues Impacting the Coastal Dune Lakes

On a beautiful October day, 35 people gathered at the Camp Helen State Park lodge to share information about the rare Coastal Dune Lakes (CDLs) that line the coast of Walton and Bay Counties. Organized by the University of Florida Extension Programs in Bay and Walton counties, the Water School included a morning seminar series …

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The Marshes, they are a-changin’

Discovering something new is possibly the most exciting thing a field biologist can do. As students, budding biologists imagine coming across something no one else has ever noticed before, maybe even getting the opportunity to name a new bird, fish, or plant after themselves. Well, here in Pensacola, we are discovering something that, while already …

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Monarch Migrations Have Begun

Since we are approaching the peak dates in mid-October, it is time to get your gardens ready for migrating monarchs to fuel up on nectar sources. In their Mexican overwintering sites, these monarchs will have to survive on stored fat all winter. So they need to build up fat reserves by feeding on flowering plants …

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A New Kid on the Block: the Cuban (Brown) Anole

In our continuing battle with invasive species, northwest Florida is now home to an invasive lizard. Known as both the Cuban and Brown Anole, this animal has been reported from Big Lagoon, East Hill, North Hill, and Gulf Breeze in the Pensacola area.  I have seen it at almost every rest area on I-10 between …

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Paddle Sports, the Key to Unlocking Ecotourism

In the Panhandle, we are blessed to be surrounded by some of the most beautiful and ecologically diverse, fresh & marine water bodies on the planet. Paddle sports are the perfect way to experience. So, get out and explore! The oldest form of paddle sports, canoeing, is a great way to explore our natural waterways. …

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