We’re walking on exposed lake bed. The ground is spongey and springy, not a place used to feet pressing down on it. The west edge of Lake Miccosukee is usually kind of a cypress swamp, and in the winter coots issue out of it to forage among the grasses in the open water alongside. Right now, though, the open water looks grassier, and I’m walking in that swamp. Miccosukee’s water is going down a hole. Continue reading →
Welcome to Part 10 (of 10) of Roaming the Red Hills, which originally aired on the April 14 episode of WFSU’s Local Routes. Through ten 3-minute videos, we’ll explore the natural soul of the Red Hills of Florida and Georgia, from the pine uplands down to its rivers, lakes, and farms. Thanks to Tracy Horenbein for creating original compositions for this video series. The series is narrated by Jim McMurtry.
“First impressions put aside, I soon began to appreciate that Jefferson County was- and for the most part continues to be- a beautiful environment.”
-Dr. Flossie Byrd, Echoes of a Quieter Time
Disappointed at being uprooted from Hanes City, Florida, the Byrd siblings soon discovered Lake Miccosukee, Ward Creek, and forests in which to play. Those Monticello woods and waterways fed them with ducks, geese, quail, wild turkey, and, as we see in the video, coot that would “fall off the bone”. In her book, Echoes of a Quieter Time, Flossie Byrd fondly remembers that “A number of the women were excellent cooks who could prepare ‘coons ‘n possums’ that were a ‘gourmet’s delight.'” (Page 86) It was an environment that entertained and fed Dr. Byrd and her sixteen siblings after the relocation of the original seven in 1940. Continue reading →
Below is a quick preview of our upcoming series, Roaming the Red Hills. The segments will air in three installments on WFSU-TV’s Local Routes, starting on Thursday, March 31 at 7:30 pm ET. Meanwhile, here on the Ecology Blog we’ll take our usual deeper look at the places, people, and ecology featured in each segment. Thank you to Gary Asbell for stopping our kayak and grabbing his guitar to sing his song about the Ochlockonee River, which scores most of the promo below. You also hear a little bit of our Local Routes theme by Belle and the Band. Tallahassee’s Tracy Horenbein (a regular guest on our OutLoud show from 1999-2007) has composed original music for the series. Funding for Roaming the Red Hills was provided by Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.
Rob Diaz de VillegasWFSU-TV
For a segment on duck hunting on Lake Iamonia, we met at 5 am, covered ourselves from head to toe in camouflage, and waited for ducks in the early morning sunlight. Photo credit, Georgia Ackerman, Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.
Our mission: to capture the natural soul of the Red Hills region in ten short videos. To me, this is the best kind of project, hitting all of the geek centers in the brain associated with producing ecology videos. We see a 7-day-old endangered red cockaded woodpecker, featherless and reptilian, get banded. We kayak a rugged four mile stretch of Ochlockonee River, on the Georgia side, where we spend as much time climbing over logs as in the boat (and get serenaded along the way). We off road through a longleaf forest in a 100-year-old horse-drawn wagon, the wheels of which can only be repaired by the Pennsylvania Amish. And then there’s the thrill of running through a burning forest with a camera. Continue reading →