Wakulla Green

Watch dimensions Wednesday, 7:30 PM/ ET to go on our latest EcoAdventure- up the St. Marks River (on WFSU-TV).
Click each flag to see a photo.
Rob Diaz de Villegas WFSU-TV

IGOR chip- human appreciation 150

You may notice our EcoAdventures taking us further and further away from our usual dwellings In the Grass (salt marshes and seagrass beds) and On the Reef (oyster reefs). Our next couple of adventures take us up rivers, and away from the salt and the waves, and the little fiddler crabs. Yet these freshwater bodies are inextricably tied to marsh and reef ecosystems that sit in the Apalachee Bay, into where the St. Marks and Wacissa (via the Aucilla) empty.

We interviewed Cynthia in a favorite spot of hers, at the convergence of the Wakulla and St. Marks rivers. It's also this man's favorite spot to catch fish, as we found after starting our interview.

When you watch our trek to the ghost town of Magnolia, up the St. Marks, on Wednesday’s dimensions, you’ll see Captain James Hodges slow down as he passes a couple of fishermen. They tell us they are catching a pinfish. You can see that it’s a fully grown pinfish. If you set minnow traps in an oyster reef (like David Kimbro in this video) or dragged a net by a salt marsh (like Jack Rudloe does here), you can see where pinfish spend their juvenile years hiding from larger predators. Same for the mullet and redfish we spotted off of our canoes in the Wacissa. The osprey we see taking flight in Wednesday’s video depends on these fish for food. The health of the river is as dependent on these habitats as oyster reefs are dependent on rivers for fresh water to maintain a livable level of salinity.

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A good stretch of the St. Marks River borders the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. Having this protected land along his charter routes makes his tours a more profitable endeavour.

Among the beneficiaries of this interaction are people working in the ecotourism trade. The Tallahassee Community College Wakulla Center saw an economic opportunity for the county in its abundance of protected land- 73% of Wakulla is managed by state and local government. The Green Guide Certification Program gives people both the understanding of how local ecosystems work, and the business training so that they may make a living. Cynthia Paulson of Palmetto Expeditions set us up on two guided trips. The Magnolia trip airs this Wednesday, the Wacissa trip airs on January 18, 2012.

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About Rob

Rob Diaz de Villegas is a senior producer and editor for WFSU-TV. Rob covers ecology, managing the National Science Foundation funded In the Grass, On the Reef project. Previously, Rob produced and directed WFSU’s music program, outloud. He has also produced a number of ecology and music related documentaries and was selected the PBS Producers Workshop, a program that grooms up-and-coming producers to create programs for national broadcast.