Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Latest Field Trips

November 6, 2007

Wildspots Foundation, Inc., through Nova Southeastern University, made an unusual foray into the ‘wilds’ of America last month…Robinson, Illinois! Dr. Barry Barker’s comment, “If we can promote eco-tourism, conservation and biodiversity in small towns in foreign countries, why not in our own country?!”

No butterflies were around as the temperatures were too low, but the fall foliage was gorgeous and there are trees in Illinois bigger than most people ever get a chance to see.
This is Joe Boyer, our field leader, standing under a huge sycamore tree, one of many we encountered. There were lots of white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, and I especially enjoyed seeing some of the birds that I haven’t seen for a long time…black-capped chickadees, house finches, black-throated and chipping sparrows.

This little bee was too cold to move, but still trying to gather pollen for the winter.

A field of millet planted for wildlife in a conservation area.

This is the Wabash River, in shades of gray rainy pastels, reminiscent of the Renaissance artists.

And could Illinois be better represented than with a photo of a cow?

We were welcomed by the inhabitants warmly and stayed at the beautiful Quail Creek Country Club Resort, where I took this photo of the colorful trees shimmering in the lake.

There was a full moon, too, and I shot this picture in the morning as it was reflected in the water among the aquatic plants.
And Paper Birch:

And Juniper Berries!

The history of the area was fascinating; with intriguing stories of more Al Capone hide-outs, old preserved log cabins, and haunted houses! We had a great trip, stopping at covered bridges in Indiana and the Mammoth Caves in Kentucky.

An exhibit of Wildspot’s excursions will open on Thursday, November 8, 2007, at 5:30 PM, at the Alvin Sherman Library Gallery on the second floor. It will feature Illinois, Uruguay, Ecuador…all taken by student photographers and professionals who attend the photography workshops. If you have a chance, come see the exhibit!

In the meantime, I also got to lead a couple of school trips into the Everglades! Dr. Joshua Feingold’s Marine Biology class visited Anhinga Trail, Long Pine Key and Flamingo. Eco Pond was devastated by Hurricane Wilma two years ago from the salt-water intrusion flooding. It has become a pool of toxic red cyanobacteria, devoid of fish, frogs, turtles, butterflies, birds…and even the trees were downed. It is a sad reminder of how devastating hurricanes can be.

Dr. Robin Sherman’s Biology II class went to Shark Valley the next day and I got this great shot of milkweed bugs. I’ll be going back in two weeks with Dr. Feingold’s Biology II class and am looking forward to it!

The Fall butterfly count will be taking place at Crystal Lake and Hillsboro Pineland Natural Area on November 10, 2007. If you’d like to attend, send me an email! sandykoi@bellsouth.net.

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