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FOWR Ecology Field Course 4: Community Ecology Rock Springs Run State Reserve

February 18, 2018

The 25 course participants enjoyed a great (hot) central Florida winter day at Rock Springs Run State Reserve. This 14,000-acre tract is a part of the Wekiva Basin State Park lands. It has Rock Springs Run and the Wekiva River as its west and east boundaries, and it includes some great scrub, sandhill, flatwoods and wetlands habitats. We took a park-provided tram and stopped to dive into distinctive Florida habitats where we talked about the variations in vegetation, wildlife, fire frequency, hydrology and underlying soils of each community.

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Wekiva Basin Ecology Field Course # 3: Winter Birds of the Wekiva Basin

December 16, 2017 at Various Locations

We had what was likely a record number of participants in the 27-year Wekiva count. A total of 79 people participated in the count, spread over 15 zones and 26 different parties. We observed a record number of individual species – 140 – potentially because of the relatively high number of observers in the field.

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Wekiva Basin Ecology Field Course # 2: Fire Ecology

On October 15, the Friends of the Wekiva River hosted the second in a series of ecology field courses in the Wekiva Basin. The 25 participants in the six-part series convened at Wekiwa Springs State Park (WSSP) to discuss historical and current fire management in the longleaf pine/wire grass ecosystems that predominate the uplands within the park.

The course instructors included Jay Exum, who is leading the series, along with Paul Lammardo Park biologist at WSSP, Zach Prusak with The Nature Conservancy and Randy Mejeur with AECOM. Paul, Zach and Randy all provided expertise on the implementation and consequences of fire in longleaf pine ecosystems. WSSP provided a tram to traverse the field roads along our 6-mile study area.

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Wekiva Basin Ecology Field Course # 1: Wetland Hydrology and Breeding Frogs

The first installment of the Friends of the Wekiva River Ecology Field Course was held on August 19 th at Seminole State Forest (SSF). All 25 slots for the course were taken and there was a waiting list – we may have to schedule another nocturnal excursion into SSF later.

Based on a study of the breeding frogs in shallow, ephemeral marshes on SSF a couple of years earlier, I had already identified the areas that we visited on Saturday night. I had also done some recent reconnaissance to find the most convenient way to access a couple of the most productive marshes.

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Year-End Summary/Wekiva Basin Biological Calendar

What’s going on in the Woods of the Wekiva? Year end summary. Year-End Summary/Wekiva Basin Biological Calendar

On a cool, sunny morning in late February, I realized that I had completed a full year of What’s Going On in The Woods articles. The realization came from undeniable cues that plants and animals had transitioned to spring. Read more

Hiking Pristine Ecosystems in Wekiwa Springs State Park and Seminole State Forest

Hiking pristine ecosystems in Wekiwa Springs State Park and Seminole State Forest

Just a few miles away from downtown Orlando, there are outdoor recreation opportunities that will take you into the middle of a Florida wilderness that looks like it did 500 years ago. Carefully planned within Wekiwa Springs State Park and Seminole State Forest are hiking trails that allow a long, inspirational immersion into relatively pristine habitats within the Wekiva River basin.

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Central Florida’s Version of Winter is Upon Us

What’s going on in the Woods of the Wekiva? January, 2016 edition

Central Florida’s version of winter is upon us. Like the other seasons, there are plenty of signs that winter is here, but this winter is not necessarily evident in colder temperatures and low humidity with no precipitation. In fact, we have mostly experienced just the opposite during this winter.

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25th Annual Wekiva Christmas Bird Count, Saturday December 19th

What’s going on in the Woods of the Wekiva? November, 2015 edition

25th Annual Wekiva Christmas Bird Count, Saturday December 19th – I’m going to devote the next two monthly articles to the Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC). For this month, a little history and some encouragement for everyone interested in the natural environment in the Wekiva basin to participate in this year’s count. Next month, I will summarize some of the details of the Wekiva CBC – scheduled for Saturday December 19th.

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Yes, there is a fall season in Florida

What’s going on in the Woods of the Wekiva? October, 2015 edition

Yes Irene, there is a fall season in Florida. Every year, my wife, Irene and I debate whether there is actually a fall season in Florida or whether it is mythical or a delusional state that I solely enjoy. Here in late October we are finally enjoying a break in temperature, and a slow-down in thundershowers and rainy afternoons that accompany summer weather patterns. However, for some people, cooling down to a daytime high of only 86° does not constitute a fall season. So, I have compiled a list of changes that are occurring that I hope will be a compelling argument for the wonderful nuances of fall in central Florida. For example:

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