Please join me for a walk in the woods on Thursday morning, 25 February. This walk will be along an old logging road that will go through some pine uplands bordered by sand live oaks and then through a pretty swamp area with bald cypress. It will be a two mile walk. We will walk a mile out to a small pond, and then return along the same road. A small area is still under water, so you may get your feet a little wet (or balance on some wood across the stream). We will meet at the Cedar Key Town Park parking lot closest to the beach at 8:30 to car pool. If you have any questions, please call 352-543-6738.
While walking in the Refuge this week, I saw at least 7 different kinds of butterflies out and flitting about. It is time (past time!) to clean up and weed the Refuge Pollinator Garden to prepare it for spring blooms!! If you are able and willing, please meet at the Lower Suwannee NWR headquarters at 9am on Monday, Feb 22 for a couple hours of weeding and digging. Please wear long pants and long sleeved shirt and bring gloves and any gardening tools you may have. I hope to see you there! If you need further directions or have questions, please call me, Donna Thalacker at 352-543-6738.
Those with the good fortune to have attended last Saturday's presentation by the Nature Coast Biological Station at the Cedar Key Library got an outstanding introduction to the Suwannee alligator snapping turtle (Macrochelys suwanniensis), a local species that is new to science. These turtles were long thought to be members of a wide-ranging species that occurs across much of the southeast. But investigators noted that they shun salt water, come out on land only briefly to lay eggs, and probably have been isolated from their closest relatives for tens of millions of years. Biologists Savanna Barry and Travis Thomas summarized several lines of scientific evidence that clearly demonstrate that those in the Suwannee basin are members of a distinct species. Few people and few professional biologists have ever seen these secretive turtles in the wild, but they are abundant in the Suwannee and its tributaries, and are huge, weighing up to 250 pounds. Thomas and several collaborators also discovered another new species, the Apalachicola alligator snapping turtle that occurs on the western edge of Florida's Big Bend region. Thanks to the NCBS for reminding us of the unique biological treasures that surround us.
Become a Citizen Scientist and learn what YOU can do to help them!
Registration is now open for the Citizen Science training for the Spring 2016 surveys. Please note that space is limited.
This program is a partnership between the Friends of the Refuges, Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, and the University of Florida Seahorse Key Marine Lab and Department of Biology.