Tuesday, February 25, 2014

New Space Port Controversy

Nick talked about this during class one day. Here is more info from Ducks Unlimited. We are past the open comment period but there is more info on the website:

A new space port has been proposed for construction along the boundary of Brevard and Volusia counties, within the management boundaries of the John F. Kennedy Space Center and Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.

While Ducks Unlimited is not opposed to the development of space launch facilities and the associated economic benefits, we have concerns with site placement and the potential indirect and direct impacts that could occur to the surrounding wetland ecosystem.

Specific concerns with the development of the Shiloh Launch Complex include: (1) impacts to waterfowl habitats and management, (2) disturbance to habitat and wildlife, and (3) impacts to hunting opportunities.

The open comment period ends Friday, Feb. 21. As a Florida citizen and Ducks Unlimited member, we would ask you to submit comments via faashiloheis@cardnotec.com to the Federal Aviation Administration. DU has submitted a formal letter of comment which you may use to develop your comments if you desire.

Here are a few points in brief:

* Merritt Island is a designated Globally Important Bird Area and serves as an important migration and wintering site for a variety of waterfowl, shorebirds and neotropical birds.

* Potential impacts from the development of the launch complex could include alteration of surface hydrology from infrastructure such as roads and other impervious surfaces which can increase runoff, pollution and ultimately impair water quality within the Mosquito and Indian River Lagoon ecosystems and adjacent managed wetlands.

* Due to location of the proposed launch facility, issues with access especially to the Shiloh 1, 3 and 5 impoundments could potentially prevent proper management of these important wetlands, thus having negative effects on the vegetation used by migratory birds and local fisheries.

* While disturbance from the Proposed Site could impact the use of nearby wetlands for migratory birds and other wildlife, an additional concern is the impact to users of the refuge, in particular the capacity of waterfowl hunters to access the surrounding managed wetlands that may be closed due to launch activities. Hunt areas on Merritt Island that could be impacted by development of the launch site facility include the Shiloh impoundments of the Indian River Lagoon, as well as additional hunt areas within Mosquito Lagoon.

Click here to view the DU letter to the FAA in PDF format.

As always, thanks for your support of Ducks Unlimited!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Citizen Science Saturday

Hey gang,
Next Saturday we will be doing some Citizen Science activities. If you have a chance, please take a look at the following websites to give you an idea of what we'll be doing:
[Introductory] Wildlife Watch-
[Snapshot] Great Backyard Bird Count
[Sightings] Project Budburst
[Sightings] Invasive Exotics
[Sightings] Mushroom Observer
[Monitoring] Florida Butterfly Monitoring Network-
Plus take a look at the Citizen Science blog I maintain for some other options.
We will be doing the Great Backyard Bird Count, one of the [Sightings] projects and the butterfly monitoring projects.

New Projects coming up with FWC:
- Starting in April – SE American Kestrel Nest Box Monitoring 2014 – Help monitor kestrel boxes throughout the 2014 nesting season!
- Starting in Late February/Early March – Tegu Lizard Trapping, Monitoring and Removal Efforts!
Contact FWC volunteer coordinator for more information.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Can you name this fish?

Here's a photo of that fish we caught in Dude Lake in Little Manatee River State Park that we were unable to identify. If anyone finds a resource with the correct ID, please leave a comment so we can add it to the resources section. I sent an email to Ranger Kate to see if she can identify it as well.
photo credit: Dale Meyer
I've uploaded the photos I've been taking of the class to the FMNP Flickr site. If anyone else has taken photos and is interested in adding them, you are invited to open a free Flickr account and add them to the group or email them to me and I'll upload them for you. My email limits the size to a total of just 25mb so photos may have to be resized to get it to go through.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

FMNP at Camp Bayou 2014

Classroom Facility Information
Camp Bayou Outdoor Learning Center
4140 24th St SE, Ruskin, FL 33570

Instructors Information
Dolly Cummings, EE Director
Assistants: Rob Heath, Senior Ecologist at Wildlands Conservation and
George Shambaugh- Entomologist, Retired Ohio University
Organization: Bayou Outdoor Learning & Discovery, Inc. (BOLD)
Phone: 813-641-8545
Email: campbayou@gmail.com
Website: www.campbayou.org

Course Schedule
Day 1 (Saturday, January 25, 2014)
      8:00am-4:00pm Classroom, Video, Field trip
      Topics: Ecology, Birds I and 2

Day 2 (Saturday, February 1, 2014)
      8:00am-4:00pm Classroom, Video, Field trip
      Topics: Interpretation, Fish, Invertebrates; Visit to Little Manatee River State Park

Day 3 (Saturday, February 8, 2014)
      8:00am-4:00pm Classroom, Video, Field trip
      Topics: Woody Veg, Reptiles, Amphibians; canoeing the Little Manatee River

Day 4 (Saturday, February 15, 2014)
     8:00am-4:00pm Classroom, Video, on-site survey- GBC
     Topics: Herb Veg, Mammals, Ethics, Citizen Science Sampler

Day 5 (Saturday, February 22, 2014)
     8:00am-4:00pm Interpretive stop and Final projects

NOTE: Details and updates will be posted on the blog at http://hillsboroughfmnp.blogspot.com/

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Camp Bayou schedule

What's New at Camp Bayou?

Get ready for some outdoor educational fun at Camp Bayou in the next few weeks! Some activities planned at Camp Bayou include:

- Birding Walk for the Great Backyard Bird Count at 9am, Saturday, February 16. All ages welcome to walk the trails to try to spot all the bird life on the site in one hour. These numbers will be sent to Cornell University to include in their citizen science campaign to take a real-time snapshot of where the birds are. Free.

- Family Naturalist Hour starts at 9:30am on Saturday, March 2. Come out for a butterfly walk to count the butterflies along the trails and in the Butterfly Habitat. Data will be recorded for the Florida Butterfly Monitoring Network, All ages- Free.

- Camp Bayou will host the League of Environmental Educators in Florida (LEEF) mini-conference on Saturday, March 9. Whether you work in a school or park, homeschool your child or just have a love of the Florida outdoors and a passion for sharing your knowledge, consider registering for this event. For adults only- see registration for cost details.

- Light up the Night Hike starts at 7:30pm on Friday, March 15. Start by looking for the Comet Pan-STARRS in the evening sky, then hike- without flashlights- into the deepening darkness along the trails, ending at the campfire for s'mores and night sky stories. $5 donation requested per person; all ages; limited to 20 participants. Contact Dolly to register- 813-641-8545 or campbayou@gmail.com .

- Save the Date for the Spring Open House, Saturday, March 16 from 9am-1pm. Details to be announced but expect the usual outstanding schedule of activities, including trail walks, speakers, nature stations and crafts, information tables from local environmental organizations and the newest favorite game- cockroach races! Free admission.

These events are Be Out There!, Get Outdoors Florida, "Let's GO"- Children and Nature, No Child Left Inside, and Let's Move Outside inspired initiatives.

Camp Bayou is neither a campground nor a summer camp. It was an RV park before the County's ELAP program purchased the land but it is now open for day use only, open to the general public. Through volunteers, donations, membership and grants, the RCDF offers pre-scheduled programs to schools, youth groups, adult groups and families plus it's open from Thursday- Saturday from 9am-2pm for passive recreational pursuits such as wildlife watching, nature photography and trail walks. General admission is still FREE.

The Camp Bayou Outdoor Learning Center is a public- private partnership between Bayou Outdoor Learning and Discovery, Inc. (BOLD), Ruskin Community Development Foundation, Inc. (RCDF) and Hillsborough County Parks, Recreation and Conservation. Camp Bayou is located 3 miles south of SR674 at the end of 24th St SE in Ruskin. More information is on the web at
http://www.campbayou.org/ or call 813-641-8545.

Pictured: Dr. George releases the racers at the first cockroach races held at the Fall Open House. Who will win this time?
Photo credit: Becki Stafford