In this Issue:
  • Backyard Shiitake Mushrooms: a Tasty and SAFE DIY Project
  • Which Local Creatures Eat Venomous Snakes?
  • “Ice Age” Tree in Peril: Florida Torreya
  • The Armored Wanderer – the armadillo
  • Exploring the Gulf of Mexico: Phytoplankton Part 2
  • A Ghost in the Woods
  • The Marshes, they are a-changin’
  • Valentine’s Day… Red… and the Column Stinkhorn Fungus!
  • They Call it “Sea Lice”
  • Florida’s Aquatic Carnivorous Plants – Yes, Aquatic!
  • Curiosities

    Backyard Shiitake Mushrooms: a Tasty and SAFE DIY Project

    Have you ever eaten a wild mushroom and then wondered afterwards if you might have made a mistake? If you are prone to forage outdoors for tasty treats from nature, I’ll bet you have. The problem is, unless you are harvesting one of a few “foolproof” species of edible fungi, positive identification can be very …

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    Which Local Creatures Eat Venomous Snakes?

    In my job, I get many calls about snakes. Most people want to know how to tell a venomous from a nonvenomous one and how to keep them out of the yard.  I was recently reading a new book out by Dr. Sean Graham entitled American Snakes and in the chapter on snake defenses, he …

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    “Ice Age” Tree in Peril: Florida Torreya

    Having just completed the Okaloosa/Walton Uplands Master Naturalist course, I would like to share information from the project that was presented by Ann Foley.   The Florida Torreya is the most endangered tree in North America, and perhaps the world! Less than 1% of the historical population survives. Unless something is done soon, it may …

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    The Armored Wanderer – the armadillo

    The first light of morning can reveal random pockmarks in what had been the perfect lawn the previous evening. The culprit is not likely the neighborhood teenager with a reputation for inappropriate practical jokes. The offender usually is the nine-banded armadillo, sometimes referred to as a Florida-speed-bump or Possum-on-the-half-shell. In addition to manicured landscapes, they …

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    Exploring the Gulf of Mexico: Phytoplankton Part 2

    In the last article, we discussed what phytoplankton are, what their needs were, and their importance to marine life throughout the Gulf and coastal estuaries. In this article, we will discuss the different types of phytoplankton found in our waters. Marine scientists interested in the diversity and abundance of phytoplankton will typically sample using a …

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    A Ghost in the Woods

    Imagine you are enjoying perfect fall weather on a hike with your family, when suddenly you come upon a ghost. Translucent white, small and creeping out of the ground behind a tree, you stop and look closer to figure out what it is you’ve just seen. In such an environment, the “ghost” you might come …

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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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    Valentine’s Day… Red… and the Column Stinkhorn Fungus!

    Valentine’s Day is just a few days away and this month’s theme is evidenced by the color red. Red hearts, bows, roses (imported this time of year from South America) and candy in red boxes This hue is not frequently seen in Wakulla County in the mist of winter’s grip, but this year azaleas bloomed …

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    They Call it “Sea Lice”

    I have played in the waters of the northern Gulf of Mexico all of my life… but I have never heard of this – “sea lice.” It has been in the news recently and I have had a couple inquiries concerning it so I decided to investigate.   A few weeks ago there was a …

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    Florida’s Aquatic Carnivorous Plants – Yes, Aquatic!

    I don’t know about you, but living in “La Florida” – “the land of flowers” (the Spanish translation of Florida – named in 1513 by Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León) makes it difficult to have a short list of favorite plants.  While I do have a number of plants in my “favorites” list, carnivorous …

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