Though renowned for its beauty and diversity, the Myakka is not the pristine stream G.O. Shields described in the 1800s. When the land was first acquired for a state park in the 1930s, the priorities were to prevent lightning fires from burning, to minimize flooding of the river, and to prevent the lakes from...
Gardening Saturday: The Trees of Florida
Mastering the language of botany can seem an overwhelming task for the beginning student of our flora. There often appears to be no end to the complex technical vocabulary that is commonly used in describing the various characteristics of a plant’s morphology. However, acquiring a command of such language is a necessary prerequisite for...
Nature Friday: Florida’s Waters
In their original, pristine condition, all of Florida’s lakes were outstanding water bodies. The Indian names of Florida’s lakes and ponds – Tsala Apopka, Tohopekaliga, Weohyakapka, and the others – testify that they have always attracted people to their shores. Today, many have changed greatly due to human impact.
Learn More about Florida’s Waters at...
Cracker Thursday: Classic Cracker
By the middle of the 19th century, the adventurous family-oriented pioneering homesteaders whose development we have been observing would have gained enough self-confidence from independently eeking out a living in the Florida scrub that they now set to planting fairly large acreage of citrus, cotton or tobacco with the sheer audacity that these might...
Ghosts Wednesday: Florida’s Ghostly Legends and Haunted Folklore Vol. 2
In addition to screams heard from both the inside and outside, the sounds of muffled crying are sometimes heard floating through the broken windows to the parking lot bellow. From time to time people have heard the sounds of a dog whimpering and its tags or chains jingling as if it were running down...
Travel Tuesday: A New Guide to Old Florida Attractions
In tiny Palmdale near Lake Okeechobee, Gatorama opened in 1957 and still thrives. The attraction features a 1,000-foot boardwalk to enable visitors to view thousands of alligators and crocodiles along with a pair of Florida panthers, bobcats, skunks, raccoons, and exotic animals such as peacocks, African tortoises, macaws, and kinkajous (a South American mammal...
Poetry Monday: Causeway
Now that the causeway spans the channel
The venerable ferry is up for sale.
Mainland traffic edges out, bringing
Timetables, souvenirs, a new breed of trader.
The islanders go indoors, harboring their secrets.
But the birds line the causeway railing
To get a better view. Perched midway
Between tradition and progress, they enjoy
A little of both weathers, the dark
Ancestral green and...
Poetry Monday: Dog Island
Coming out from Carrabelle
South through the veering channel
Into Saint George Sound
Past the weathered docks and sheds
Of the fishery with its pungent near-rot
Of salt and fish odors, the unaccustomed
Stinging spray and hollow slap
Of the pummeled hull, sunglare
A white maze over the whipping awning,
I crouch, palest of landsmen,
Amid the strewn tackle and groceries,
Skull grinning in the...
History Sunday: The Edisons of Fort Myers
Except for the “chief weed stalkers,” the Fort Myers laboratory staff of seven men had arrived on January 16, 1929, ahead of the Edisons. The weed stalkers were on their way, after scouring the landscape in New Mexico and Arizona for plant specimens.
Mrs. Edison planned a surprise for her husband and secretly had a...
Gardening Saturday: Natural Florida Landscaping
Some natives will thrive in your landscape while others won’t. Why? The answer is that the ones that thrive are probably a part of the natural grouping of natives that once grew in what is now your yard. The soils around your foundation may be imported fill dirt used to raise your home above...