Dr. Walter Tschinkel has developed a novel way to explore ant nests. We travel with him to the Apalachicola National Forest for a brand of research that creates works of art, in collaboration with the ants themselves. You can see an exhibit of this art at the Tallahassee Museum through June 10, 2018.
I think all of us at some time have stepped on a mound of dirt, uncovering scores of scurrying ants. Immediately, we brush them off our feet before they can bite us. When we see lines of ants crossing grass, we chose a different spot in the park to have our snack. And we’re definitely unhappy to see them in our house. When we see ants in our world, they’re pests. Continue reading The Underground Lives of Ants in a North Florida Forest→
Today, we’re taking the kids out to ephemeral wetlands in the Apalachicola National Forest. Our purpose? To show them that right now, the wetlands aren’t so wet.
It sounds like a crazy reason to drag kids out to the forest on a Sunday morning. Last year, we adopted two wetlands with two other families, my son Max’s first grade classmates. So they’ve already started learning about this environment and formed positive memories after spending time here with their friends.
We’re here today because there’s a tremendous value in visiting the same spot in nature over time, through different seasons and climate cycles. Nature isn’t static. Individual plants and animals change through the seasons. The wetland itself changes over the course of wet and dry years. Being here is the best way for kids (and adults) to get in tune with the workings of any wild space.
And even in its current dry state, we still have the opportunity to see some things. In particular, Max, his friend Dylan, and little brother Xavi might get to see the gopher frog, a species of concern.
Byrd Hammock is an archeological site on the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, Wakulla Beach Unit. Here, archeologists with the Southeast Archeological Center (part of the National Park Service) are trying to solve a mystery…
How do you begin to know a person who died over a thousand years ago, and left behind no writing? People lived in north Florida for at least 14,000 years before Hernando de Soto occupied Anhaica in 1539-40. Through the Spanish, we know that the people who lived here then called themselves the Apalachee. We know about their daily lives and religious beliefs, albeit through the biased lens of European witnesses. But at least those clergymen and soldiers lived among and talked to the Apalachee.
There’s no such chronicle for the previous 14,000+ years of life in the panhandle.