WFSU-TV is hiking, paddling, snorkeling and generally getting dirty and wet in the wild places of North Florida. Living, breathing, fully-functional ecosystems always surprise and delight, especially when you’re the only person for miles. Browse our stories and if you see something lacking, leave a comment and let us know!
When we get to the mouth of Chaires Creek, the tide has gone out enough to see the tops of some oysters. It’s a little after 1 pm- high tide was 10:16 am, and low tide is 4:02 pm. If we stay too much longer, the mouth of the creek will be choked by oyster bars, and sand bars will make the kayak back to Tucker Lake slow going.
(Above) Zoe, Dylan, and Max sit in a field of bog buttons after a day of sampling ephemeral wetlands in the Apalachicola National Forest. Read more about their adventures in citizen science below. Thanks to Dylan’s dad, Don, for letting us use his photo. And thanks to my wife, Amy, for taking most of the photos below.
The following video on the red wolves of Saint Vincent Island premiered at our screening of Red Wolf Revival at the Tallahassee Museum last Saturday. Next Thursday, April 27, at 8 pm ETReel South: Red Wolf Revival will air on WFSU-TV. This award winning documentary looks at the wild population of red wolves, which lives in North Carolina.
As in that previous segment, original music was composed for this video by Tracy Horenbein. Thanks to Tracy, and to Velma Frye and Becky Reardon for allowing us to use their song, Saint Vincent Island.
Looking at it on a map, you can see how Saint Vincent Island is different than its neighbors. Think of Cape San Blas, St. George Island, and Dog Island as its siblings, all four birthed by the Apalachicola River. The others are skinny, while Saint Vincent, the oldest sibling, is, to put it nicely, thick. It’s not typical of barrier islands in Florida. However, this size makes it an ideal host for endangered red wolves. Continue reading Saint Vincent Island | Where Red Wolves Learn to Be Wild→
We’re back on the Florida National Scenic Trail, this time on a new section along the Choctawhatchee River. Thanks to the Choctawhatchee Chapter of the Florida Trail Association for helping us out, and to Bruce Varner and Caroling Geary (of Wholeo.net) for providing photos and video of trail construction.
Tallahassee’s Hot Tamale composed some new music for this video. Thanks again Craig and Adrian for all you do for us!
Our hike by the Choctawhatchee River brims with newness. It’s not just that we get to hike a recently completed section of the Florida National Scenic Trail. That is, of course, pretty cool. That new trail takes us through recently burned forest, the beginning of a cycle of renewal in the longleaf ecosystem. Also, we’re passing through the Nokuse Plantation, where a massive restoration project is making the forest new again. It’s a nice coming together of environmental and recreational upgrades in Walton County.
Kick back and relax on a short trip down the Wacissa River. Recent rains had darkened the water on our shoot day, but wildlife was out in full force. This segment aired on the February 16 episode of Local Routes.
Music in the video was provided by Brian Bowen. Thanks to Brian, and to Dave Murphy of Winterstone Sound for providing instrumental versions of Brian’s songs.
Rob Diaz de VillegasWFSU Media
“If I had to come back to the same place over and over again, I would pick the Wacissa,” Harry Smith told us as we paddled back to the boat ramp. Harry is an outfitter based out of Tallahassee’s Railroad Square. We spent the day kayaking with him, his wife, and a few friends. Retired FWC biologist Michael Hill came along to get in some fishing and share his knowledge of aquatic flora and fauna.
This week’s musical guest on Local Routes is Taller Trees, who perform their song Old As Earth. That’s kind of the theme of this video as well. In it, we look at rocks and fossils with geologist Harley Means. He shows us what the old earth around the Apalachicola River tells us about its ancient past.
Music in this video was provided by Chris Matechik. You can catch his band, The Flatheads, playing in and around Apalachicola. The RiverTrek kayak trip featured in this story is a fundraiser for Apalachicola Riverkeeper.
Alum Bluff was once Apalachicola Bay. Currently, it towers above the Apalachicola River, 84 miles from the coast. Florida’s largest geologic outcropping is a peek under the skin of the earth, eroded into view by the river. Here, we can see millions of years of shifting shorelines and animals long gone. And by we, I mean geologist Harley Means. He sees these things, and he was nice enough to interpret them for us on RiverTrek 2016.
In the video below, first time WFSU producer Zach Hunter takes us to the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge for an early morning of trapping and tagging monarch butterflies. Earlier in Local Routes season 2, we watched as ecology producer Rob Diaz de Villegas and his family raised monarch caterpillars. Here, we see another phase of this butterfly’s remarkable journey.
To tag monarch butterflies, you have to get to where they are before they wake up. Lucky for us, they go to a pretty good place to watch a sunrise. When the sun finally rose over Lighthouse Pond in the Saint Marks National Wildlife Refuge, volunteers had been at work for over an hour. It was mid November, just past the peak migration season. There weren’t many butterflies to see. Continue reading Monarch Tagging at the St. Marks Refuge | Citizen Science at Sunrise→
We journey to one of the most remote places in the WFSU viewing area: Saint Vincent Island. Our hosts are author Susan Cerulean and Florida State University oceanographer Dr. Jeff Chanton. They shared their respective artistic and scientific perspectives of this stunning barrier island.
In the video, you’ll hear a song titled St. Vincent Island, which was written and performed by Velma Frye and Becky Reardon.
After we visited Saint Vincent Island, Jeff and Susan drove me out to a strip of sand called Flagg Island. A popular nesting site for shore birds, the 25 acre sand bar has been proposed as a Critical Wildlife Area. This designation would prohibit people from getting within a certain distance of the island, letting the birds do their thing. Continue reading Saint Vincent Island | Appalachian Sands and Rising Seas→