Panhandle Outdoors

Beach Vitex… Is It a Growing Problem?

Beach vitex expands its woody rhizomes aggressively; it can actually grow over sidewalks and driveways.   It’s actually a pretty plant, this Beach Vitex (Vitex rotundifolia), and it is very good at stabilizing eroding dunes. In the 1990’s, the state of South Carolina planted this shrub to help restore dunes lost during hurricanes. It was …

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A means of survival: Mimicry

“Imitation is the sincerest of flattery,” wrote Charles Caleb Colton. Colton was a sometimes cleric, essayist, wine merchant and gambler who bounced around Europe and North America during the early nineteenth century. It is likely many of his financial lenders hoped the public would not imitate his borrowing practices. Aside from his few literary works …

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Wildlife Flourishes in Florida’s Summer! But Watch for Invaders Too!

Summer is a time to bask in the sunshine for many of Florida’s wildlife species. Each of Florida’s seasons are characterized by a variety of amazing and beautiful wildlife activities.  Below is a list of some notable native wildlife behaviors occurring in July and August around the state.  July Birds Shorebird migration starts in mid-July, …

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Forestry Tools Jefferson and Leon Outdoor Camp

Campers Measuring Trees with Division of Forestry. Author: Scott Jackson –

Swamps: Watershed or Wasteland?

Swamps provide valuable filtration for surface water Recent rains have left water standing on some panhandle Florida real estate which has been dry for several years.  Ponds, natural and dug, are brimming with water reflecting the generous outpouring from the slow and wet weather system which passed listlessly over the area. The rainwater excess is also …

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Looking Out for Horseshoe Crabs

Horseshoe crabs spawning.Credit: Bill Hall, Univ. Delaware Sea Grant Horseshoe crabs spawning on a beach.Credit: FL Fish & Wildlife Commission The female is the larger of the two horseshoe crabs.Credit: Fotosearch -Stock Photo Spring is here and that can only mean one thing, horseshoe crabs! That’s right it’s horseshoe crab survey time! Each spring the …

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Sinkholes in the Florida Panhandle, Facts and Resources

This tiny sinkhole appeared in my yard during the heavy March rains. Although only 3 feet wide, it was 5 feet deep. My dog looks both curious and jealous that it wasn’t one of the holes he’s dug! During our heavy March rainfall events a tiny sinkhole appeared in my yard.  While it was only …

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Improving Water Quality and Bringing Back the Bayous

Those who have lived in the Panhandle area for many years will remember the days when our local bayous were places people water skied, kids learned to swim, and fishermen brought home plenty of speckled trout.  But today we see little of this.  Water quality within our bayous has declined to a point that the …

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Invasive Species of the Day Series (March 10th): Palmer Amaranth & Nutria

National Invasive Species Awareness Week: March 3rd – March 8th March 10th: Palmer Amaranth (Palmer amaranth) & Nutria (Myocastor coypus):   Image courtesy of University of Illinois Extension Palmer Amaranth: Palmer Amaranth, a type of pigweed, is invading the Southeast.  It is a very troublesome weed for us because it is fast growing, produces a …

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Invasive Species of the Day Series (March 9th): Mimosa Tree & Eurasian Water Milfoil

Mimosa Tree: When traveling down secluded roads, one always marvels at the beautiful fragrant puff-like flowers lining the right of way. Many people decide that they must have one for their yard. Unfortunately, obtaining one for landscaping purposes is a bad decision. This tree is a Mimosa, Albizia julibrissin, and is famous for the ability to thrive …

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