Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Sunday, December 19, 2010
We had some wicked cold weather last week. Fortunately, it did not last long, but Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission folks report that over 250 sea turtles were rescued, most from our own Cape Canaveral area. They were parsed out to various rehab facilities (those facilities certainly got a lot of experience last year!), and most are expected to survive. Keith Winsten, Director of our wonderful Brevard Zoo, writes an excellent bi-weekly column for Florida Today, and his most recent one spoke to how critters adapt to cold weather. There's a link to the article in Referenced Links below.
Charlie and Charlotte Corbeil had yet another story in the Florida Wildlife magazine - Mating Displays of the Great Blue Heron, with lots of beautiful Charlie Corbeil photos. I received their e-Christmas card the other day, and Charlie has given me permission to use it. I'll post it this coming week - you'll love it. The 2011 Indian River Lagoon calendar includes one of his black-necked stilt photos and a great land crab pic. (This is one of Charlie's great blue heron pix from his silhouette series. I love his pictures, and I particularly appreciate his willingness to let me share them with you.)
Friend Wayne (Space Coast Wildflowers) came over last weekend to dry-run his beautiful Wildflowers of Wickham Park presentation that he'll be giving at the Florida Native Plant Society (FNPS) Conradina Chapter meeting on Monday, January 10 at the Melbourne Library on Fee Avenue, 6:00 to 8:00. It's terrific. Very organized and informative (as you might expect from a former system engineer with a really nice mind), and chock full of gorgeous pictures of the wildflowers he has found and identified during his trips to Wickham Park. If you live in Brevard County, make plans to attend.
Artist friend Vickie Henderson continues to lead the fight against hunting sandhill cranes in Tennessee. What a really dreadful idea! Follow the link in Reference Links below to her gorgeous site - her artwork is just amazing. Be sure to look at her art cards and prints. (This photo is of some "tourists" visiting our defunct golf course today. At least I am assuming these are northern sandhills.)
A few weeks ago, my dog and I found a little three-striped mud turtle wandering around our aforementioned defunct golf course. Since it was mowing day, I brought him inside, made a mud turtle habitat on the screened in porch, gave him some canned dog food, and kept him through the cold spell. I'm not fond of the water on the golf course that he came out of, so on a warm day last weekend, I took him to a nice calm water location and released him. The three-striped mud turtle is not a flashy critter, and they are a little shy, but he was a very pleasant fellow, attractive in his own way. I hope he got burrowed into the mud before the cold spell arrived.
I've gone on waaay too long - hope your week before Christmas is non-stressful :)
Keith Winsten: Animals adept at dealing with cold weather
Blog the Beach: Tenth Annual Birding and Wildlife Festival
Charlie Corbeil Photography
Space Coast Wildflowers
FNPS Conradina Chapter
Vickie Henderson Art
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Women's Business Center
Thursday, December 9, 2010
We've had some record cold mornings this past week (30s and low 40s), and the manatees are coming into the canals from the river because the canal water is warmer. Wayne got these pix at a canal near his home in Satellite Beach.
I'm most appreciative of Wayne's photos - every very time I try to take a manatee photo, by the time I get my act together, the critter has ducked back under the water, and I have yet one more picture of water!
This photo reminds me of a bunch of kids in a swimming pool having a party!
(Photos by Wayne Matchett)
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
Sunday, November 21, 2010
And speaking of the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival (January 26 - 31, 2011), friend David McCree is once again blogging professionally about it. His current post (see Reference Links below) is about a nature bloggers' luncheon at the Festival! What a cool idea. When you think about it, blogging has not been mainstream for very long - there were precursors in 1997-98, then the politicians picked up on it in the early 2000's, and it started becoming more popular with "the masses" in the 2004 timeframe. My first blog post was in May 2008, and I remember having to explain the term "blog" and the concept to folks. So the nature bloggers' lunch at the Festival should be interesting indeed.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Other e-friends, Cactus Jack Splash, Mushboy, and DOR, have submitted their photos to NASA's Fly Your Face in Space program. so they are eagerly awaiting the launch (see Reference Links below). After the launch, they can retrieve a Flight Certificate - a commemorative certificate signed by the Mission Commander.
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Thursday, September 30, 2010
CCI provides highly-trained assistance dogs for children and adults with disabilities. Cardosa will remain with Charlie and Melea until he is 18 months old, going to obedience class, getting socialized, etc. Then he'll go to CCI "college" with his perment master.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Thursday, September 9, 2010
(This is a reprint of last year's post about the first NFL game of the season. We weren't in Afghanistan then. Once again, I'll think of our warfighters as I watch the game, and hope that they are safely gathered around their TV sets watching it too.)
Tonight, finally, the NFL kicks off its season. The first game of the season brings memories of 2003, the year the Iraq war started in earnest. I was working for Harris Corporation, a major defense communications equipment manufacturer. In April of that year, a friend on the manufacturing floor called one day and said it was time we did something to support the troops and I should organize something. So after we put up some posters and had a few meetings, we packed about 60 shoeboxes and sent them to a contact in Iraq. Bear in mind, this was just a couple of months after everything over there started, so the infrastructure for our warfighters was pretty slim. The response from the troops that received our shoeboxes was heartwarming, so we did a 4th of July mailing and pretty much adopted a Signal Battalion in Camp Adder and a Signal Brigade in Mosul. By this time, we were getting some fairly regular correspondence, and it became apparent that a lot of the soldiers really missed their sporting events, so we started planning for the start of football season. We shipped over 350 pounds of chips, peanuts, salsa, nacho cheese sauce, door prizes, disposables, and instructions (for example: Put cheese in disposable pan, cover with plastic wrap, and set on top of humvee hood to heat). The party took place September 7, when the troops watched the first NFL games, with a delay of about 8 hours because of time differences.
Door prizes (the football team cheerleader posters were a big hit!)
Local businesses supported the effort whole-heartedly. Texas Roadhouse donated 100 pounds of peanuts in the shell. Publix kicked in 64 pounds of salsa. Sodexho provided chips for 350, enough jalapeno slices for an entire Army, and disposables. Carroll Distributing provided customized 3 ft x 6 ft Budweiser banners. The Tampa Bay Bucs, Miami Dolphins and the Jacksonville Jaguars each sent posters and team memorabilia. Harris provided 10-ft long banners for each location proclaiming “The NFL Kicks Off In Iraq”, and Harris employees brought in football magazines. Cash donations filled in the holes – nacho cheese sauce, four footballs, ESPN stadium music, and tickets for door prizes. And Harris picked up the shipping costs, which made everything possible.
These soldiers were two of the party committee that set everything up - including spelling out NFL with cups of peanuts. So young, so lovely, so handsome.
The parties were a huge success. We got reports that a great time was had by all – lots of cheering and lots of eating - and that the troops were genuinely delighted that people they don’t know would throw them a party. The goal was to give troops a touch of home, and in the Battalion CSM's words, “Mission Accomplished”! The Brigade in Mosul reported a “blowout” party, even though the satellite card for their TV did not arrive, so they had no football.
We continued our support with Halloween, Christmas, and Valentine's Day parties, with a final banner welcoming the troops home. It's hard to believe that seven years have passed.
So tomorrow I'll get back to talking about beach things, but tonight I'm going to watch football and think of our warfighters around the world and hope they are getting a chance to watch it too. HOO-AH!
Monday, September 6, 2010
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Once the floor was taking shape, Frank started bringing the art up the walls. What fun! (Thanks to prodigiously talented friends like Charlie Corbeil, Jim Angy, Matt MacQueen, and Wayne Matchett, I had some wonderful reference photos for Frank. I pulled them into a PowerPoint presentation on my laptop that Frank could move around with him.) His first scene was a wetlands view behind the 20 foot curly willow tree that stands in one corner. After I saw that, I was hooked into more wall art, so I now have an anhinga in nuptial plumage drying his wings by the dining room table area, a great blue heron with his neck curled around a light switch by the sliding glass door, a pig frog by the guest bathroom, and a dragonfly in another corner. (We sea-bean symposium folks think that Cathie Katz comes back to us as a dragonfly, so of course there had to be a tribute dragonfly.) An alligator on the floor will peer at guests sitting on the couch. Grasses coming up the walls tie the whole thing together. (Ignore the African art - it will get moved into the Safari Room.)
Yesterday, the final clear sealer coat went on - we're done! Well, at least with the art. Furniture can go back in place mid-week, after everything cures for the appropriate amount of time. (Frank worked extra hard to come up with products that were pet-friendly in terms of limited outgassing - we kept a lot of fans going, and it was not smelly at all.) Rope lights will go along the baseboards. Artificial water lilies will be scattered on the floor. A frog statue that I've had for years will now sit on a lily pad. I gracefully turned down a friend's offer for a canoe that could be used as a couch - we certainly don't want to go over the top here :)
DONE! Matt came over yesterday and shot a short video - when that gets edited, I'll post it and you'll get a better idea of the finished product - a thing of beauty! Frank's new web site is in work - when that is up and running next week, I'll provide you with a link to it so you can see some of his other creations. Meanwhile, if you need a mural or faux art, Frank is your man!
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
"This morning after survey when we were dumping our trash, we heard a hiss from the trash can. When Alex looked in the can, she saw this opposum staring at her. He was quite upset to have styrofoam thrown on him. We decided to tilt the can and let him out. First, lots of cans and bottles and alcohol-smelling liquid fell out, and then out came the possom, soaking wet and reeking of beer.
He staggered over to the sea grapes and eventually climbed up on a limb. At first we thought he was sick or injured, but he seemed to recover pretty quickly. "
Well, the title would have rhymed better if it had been a skunk, but we certainly thank Ann for saving the inebriated possum and sending us the photos!
Saturday, August 14, 2010
As always, a grateful salute to all our warfighters, past and present.
Sunday, August 8, 2010
It's a lovely, rainy Sunday afternoon (and we really need the rain) - a perfect time to catch up a little.
I often use Charlie Corbeil's beautiful photos on here. Many of those photos come from the Viera Wetlands, where Charlie can be found every morning and every evening, taking pictures and checking up on things. A couple of years ago, I introduced Charlie to a friend who at the time was the editor of Viera Voice, a local monthly newspaper. Thereafter, every issue had one of Charlie's photos in it. Recently, Viera Voice took it to the next level and produced a charming video featuring Charlie in the Wetlands. It's on YouTube, and the link is in Reference Links below. I was amazed at how "un-nervous" Charlie was - and his love of the area and the inhabitants comes through loud and clear! (The photo is one I took of Charlie and the Viera Wetlands sign featuring one of his photos.)
David McRee did a terrific post about Blair Witherington on his Blog the Beach site (link is likewise in Reference Links below). As faithful readers know, Blair and Dawn have spent their summer out on boats in the Gulf rescuing oiled sea turtles. I recently sent a card featuring one of Jim Angy's sea turtle hatchling photos to Fed Ex, with a note thanking them for their generous donation of resources to transport the coolers full of eggs from the Gulf Coast to Kennedy Space Center (see last couple of posts for a description of this monumental task). There's a link below to a Fed Ex site that describes the logistics involved in the transport - a very impressive effort. And the good part is, according to a recent story in Florida Today, it's working! The story reports that since 11 July, some 2,600 hatchlings have been released from KSC beaches. The eggs are hatching at an 80 percent to 95 percent rate, better than in the wild. An added bonus is the lack of artificial lighting on the beaches where the hatchlings are being released, so there's less disorientation.
I was so touched when co-workers in another state recently made a donation in my name to the Audubon Nature Institute Sea Turtle and Marine Mammal Response Fund for "rescuing, rehabilitating and successfully releasing stranded and injured sea turtles and marine mammals." The Beatles said it well - we get by with a little help from our friends.
Friend Marilyn and I attended the third annual Tour de Turtle release at the Barrier Island Center last Sunday. This event is sponsored by the Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC), formerly the Caribbean Conservation Corporation (CCC). The last two releases were over an hour after the advertised time of 8:00 a.m., so one had to hang around on a hot beach while the resin affixing the transmitter cured. So I suggested to Marilyn that we plan to arrive about 9:00. Well, wouldn't you know - as we pulled in, cars were pulling out. A quick-curing epoxy was used in place of the resin, and Hope (so named in a contest) swam out shortly after 8:00. The good news is that there was a record crowd of spectators (over 600), and we bought cool t-shirts. And ate a good breakfast at Friendly Toast on the way home. Check the STC link below for Hope's progress.
Monday, July 5, 2010
Thursday, June 17, 2010
I hate the effects of this gusher on the marinelife, but even more so, I'm so sorry that folks like Blair and Dawn, whose life purpose is to preserve and protect these critters and educate others about them, are being subjected to these horrors. This is a nature lover's war, and the scars will linger a long time. But Dawn shared her perspective thusly. She says there is a term for not being able to help - "compassion fatigue." She said that she was depressed before they went out there, and that while the whole thing was disturbing, being able to save turtles helped her mood a lot.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Thursday, June 10, 2010
NASA is encouraging people to send electronic images of their faces to fly into orbit aboard one of the two final remaining space shuttle missions.
To put your face in space, follow these directions:
1. Go to http://faceinspace.nasa.gov/
2. Upload your image or type in your name to be flown aboard a space shuttle.
3. Print and save the confirmation page.
4. After the mission, return to the website and print your "flight certificate."
You can read the whole story as it appeared in our local Florida Today newspaper here.
Sunday, June 6, 2010
My Eco blog has "field trip reports" on some of the locations Wayne has identified in his posts, but not all - he really gets around! At some point, we plan to collaborate on a four-fold reference brochure.
Wayne's contact information is on his site - if you have questions, corrections, or comments, he'll be pleased to hear from you.
On a separate note, today is the 66th anniversary of D-Day and the invasion that turned the tide of World War II. When I bought my Buddy Poppy for Memorial Day and thanked the elderly Veteran for his service, he said "Oh, that was a long time ago." I suspect he was a Korean War Vet. It's hard to believe the WW II vets are in their late 80s and 90s now. The Orlando Sentinel carried this story about the invasion and its terrible toll on the troops. As always, our thanks for Warfighters past and present.