Walking with the Alligators

Walking with the Alligators
A Florida Alligator

August 26, 2012

Paradise Comes With A Price

Today's Blog is about what is happening to our state right now, Hurricane Isaac.
We haven't had one this close in a bit, so everyone is nervous.
Not knowing is the worst part.
The "isolated" tornadoes thrown off of the "feeder" bands,
are what we here in the Ocala Forest would most like to forget about,
especially those who live in Lake Mack and Lady Lake,
who lost so many that terrible February night in 2007.
We have dealt with the terror of tornados coming in the dark of night
and the memories are still very strong for some of us.
So, if you are reading this from the quiet, safe shelter of your home,
please give the state of Florida and those who live here, on two legs or four,
a moment of your time today and wish us all a safe passage
through the night tonight and in the morning tomorrow.
We thank you and as Tim Tebow always says, "God Bless."

August 19, 2012

So Many Babies And Counting~

  A Loggerhead Hatchling

What a joy it is to report this kind of story for a change.
It gets very old, day after day, talking about the countless tragedies involving
Endangered Wildlife here in Florida, but this is all so good!
There are Loggerheads, Leatherbacks and Greens, all are either Threatened
or Endangered and all are producing offspring this season in the highest numbers
that have been seen in the state in many years.
So many Floridians have done so much for them for so long and this year,
finally, they can pat themselves on the back for a job well done.
Protective and Environmental groups all across the state have worked tirelessly
to make this happen and this years "bumper crop" is their reward!
These groups and random strangers have done everything from " lights out at night, "
to eliminating traps, trash and nets that can harm the Turtles.
Is this the beginning of a new upswing for a precarious group of reptiles that
has teetered on the brink of decimation for so very long?
Only time will tell, and as the experts here are saying,
" let's wait to see if they come back next year to make more babies! "

August 11, 2012

What Are A Few Bombs Among Friends, Right?

Harriet, our resident Gopher Tortoise.  A Florida Scrub Jay  A Sand Skink  A Florida Scrub Morning Glory
Scrub Morning Glory photo: Scott Zona
When a team of "five environmental experts," goes onto a bombing range to determine
the status of some Threatened or Endangered species, is this dedication or ??
Recently this group went onto the Pinecastle Range here in the Ocala Forest near where
we live, to see the effects the Navy bombing has had on several threatened species.
The areas easily accessible to the group, yielded a poor sampling, but when they got into a
military Humvee and went further in, they found a better representation of these species,
which includedgopher tortoisesscrub jays,  sand skinks
I am not sure what all of this really means to those doing the hunting,
but for those of us who live here in the normally tranquil Ocala Forest,
we can assure them that we humans are being very disturbed.
Every time they start their bombing "practices," our walls shake and our Airedale goes nuts.
We always know before our enemies do, when they are about to get bombed.
So, if we are this disturbed and are about 40-50 miles away from the Range,
I can only imagine how frightened the animals are that live at ground zero.
The Jets are supposed to be using computers, not live bombs,
but I can't imagine any computer that exists today,
that could shake our house from that far way~

August 8, 2012

It's Crunch Time In Tallahassee, Where Need Meets Greed!

 The Green Swamp Preserve
The Green Swamp Preserve, a part of Florida Forever.
Photo credit: John Moran/John Moran Photo.com
Eric Draper, the head of Audubon Florida, along with several other environmental
groups has just launched a campaign to get a constitutional amendment put on the ballot.
Republicans have been doing a hack job on Florida Forever,
to the tune of 97.5 % and making it just about impossible to protect
our land and water, as this program was originally set up to do.
The money to pay for the program comes from tax stamps, which comes
from home sales and we all know how the housing market has been.
So, when Republicans need a little extra money for odd and ends in Tallahassee,
they "borrow" it from this Environmental program.
It will take over 600,000 signatures to get this Amendment put on the Ballot
and if approved it would go into effect in 2015.
There's not too much at stake here, just the decision as to whether or not,
we are going to safeguard any land or water at all,
to pass on to the next generation of Floridians.
Oh, so that would be the present generations legacy, right?
And, what if this Amendment fails?
What does that say about us here in the present?

August 5, 2012

The Blessings~

 My daughter, me,  my sister and our Mother on the beach in Florida many years ago.
This week with no pressing, or alarming Endangered Wildlife crisis to write about,
my thoughts turned to the many blessings that we here in Florida have and I
wanted to share them with those of you not fortunate enough to live here.
Number one, coming from thirty years of living and working in Los Angeles, fresh clean air.
Next, an array of stunning wildlife, the likes of which are rarely ever seen, anywhere on Earth.
An abundance of pure, clean, clear water, on both sides of us,
the Atlantic on the East Coast and the Gulf of Mexico on the West.
When you think about this, we are so very lucky here, we can drive
for just a short time and be in paradise on a Coast.
For a lucky few, we are already there.
I have been coming here since the early 1970's when my parents first moved here
and as they moved around looking for, like the three little bears,
"just the right place" to spend their remaining days, I have through them,
seen nearly every nook and cranny of this gorgeous state.
I knew, even back then in the '70's, that one day, just like the little bears,
I would find my own "just the right place" here too.
Well, now it is 2012 and we all did find our special place
and for us, at least, it is here in the Ocala Forest.
Welcome to our paradise, welcome to our Florida.
Please, please, leave it as good as, or better than, you found it.
The two leggeds, four leggeds and winged ones all over this state thank you.
Please Keep Florida Wildlife Wild And Alive.

August 2, 2012

Ever Thought About Joining A Facebook Wildlife Group?

A Roseate Spoonbill     A Florida Grasshopper Sparrow     A Florida Wood Stork     A Florida Snail Kite
Today I would like to share something not specifically about one particular
species of Endangered Wildlife, but about groups that you might wish
to join on Facebook that are each themselves dedicated to one topic.
I have just joined all of these groups and some others as well and have found
the photography, conversations and people involved, to be remarkable.
If you have one animal or cause that you are passionate about,
I highly recommend that you look at the names of the groups below for ideas.
If what you seek is not there, Google the topic of your hearts desire and go for it.
You have nothing to lose and may be delighted at the results, just as I was.
So, go get involved~