Imagine Our Florida, Inc. 

 

Is on a Mission to Educate and Empower the people of Florida

to become a voice for our wildlife, advocate for environmental stewardship,

and coexist within our unique ecosystems.

Our purpose is to bring people together in a shared vision to preserve and protect Florida’s wildlife, habitat, and ecosystems. We plan to accomplish this via science-based education and the development of appreciation and respect for the natural world and our place within it.

Using our custom designed lesson plans,  IOF volunteers encourage critical thinking through exploration and discovery.  We make it a fun, hands-on experience while showing people of all ages how to put away their phones and connect with Florida’s wildlife and wild spaces. When folks understand the sentient beings with whom we share our state, they learn to respect rather than fear them. They begin to realize the importance of the land and water we share. Therefore, IOF offers opportunities for beach cleanups and teaches the importance of recycling. For those who want to advocate on behalf of  Florida’s wildlife or natural resources, IOF is prepared to instruct folks of all ages on how to be most effective.  In addition, IOF will soon launch groundbreaking research which will provide a better understanding of human-caused stress in Florida Black Bears and will potentially lead to the proposal of more responsible wildlife management practices.  There are over 21 million Floridians and 113 million annual visitors, all of whom can become voices for our voiceless wildlife. When each of us does our part, no matter how big or small, we can all begin to Imagine Our Florida where we peacefully coexist with our native wild friends.
Connect. Respect. Coexist.

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    Imagine Our Florida, Inc.

    Our purpose is to bring people together in a shared vision to preserve and protect Florida's wildlife, habitat and ecosystem. We plan to accomplish this via science- based education and the development of appreciation and respect for the natural world and our place within it.
    Imagine Our Florida, Inc.
    Imagine Our Florida, Inc.
    Reduce phosphate fertilizers --- Plant native

    In 1888 the first mineral resources were discovered in Hawthorne Florida. Back then most mineral resources were collected in rivers. Among those resources was phosphate. In the first year, 125,000 tons were hand-picked and ready for sales. According to a 2017 report, that number increased to about 1 million tons of phosphate.

    Phosphate has been used in water-based paints, sealants, water treatment, and nutritional supplements but is primarily used as a fertilizer. However, more Floridians are learning that by planting native plant gardens fertilizer is rarely necessary and in many cases, organic fertilizer is all that is needed.

    References:

    https://pubs.usgs.gov/bul/0604/report.pdf

    http://www.fipr.state.fl.us/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/FIPR_ANNUAL_REPORT_FY16_17_FINAL.pdf

    Photo Attribution: Harvey Henkelmann

    #ImagineOurFlorida #IOF #nativeplants #nophosphates
    Imagine Our Florida, Inc.
    Imagine Our Florida, Inc.
    --- Black Skimmers ---

    Black Skimmers, Rynchops niger, are seen flying low to the water with the lower part of their bills skimming the water for food. Their bills are wide at the top and come to the point. When a skimmer senses a fish in the longer, lower mandible of its bill, the upper part instantly snaps shut.

    Striking and easily recognizable, skimmers are medium-sized tern-like seabirds with red and black bills and a wingspan of 3 to 3.5 feet. They have black wings with white edging, black backs, and a white underside and head. Black skimmers inhabit coastal areas such as beaches, estuaries, and sandbars.

    Breeding and roosting occur between May and early September in colonies of up to several hundred pairs. Skimmers lay three to five eggs which are incubated by both parents for 23-25 days. Skimmers are protective parents and the colony acts as a village when it mobs a predator as a group in an effort to protect nests. The young fly at 28-30 days old. A successful colony will use the same nest site next year.

    Black skimmers are threatened in Florida and are protected by the U.S. Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Coastal development and human activity without regard to seabirds pose the biggest threat. Predators such as crows, raccoons, opossums, coyotes, and feral hogs find skimmer eggs and chicks to be a delicious meal. Pets, beach driving, recreational activity, oil spills, shoreline hardening, and more cause parents to abandon their nests. Sea level rise poses another threat to the black skimmer population.

    With all of these threats, most of the colonies in Florida are managed by local land managers and volunteers. Documented black skimmer colonies in Florida are managed with fencings and/or informational signs.

    With your help, black skimmers can make a successful comeback. Heed the signs you see while at the beach. Call the number on the signs at a beach near you and volunteer to make a difference. Let's all do what we can now to protects these beautiful Florida seabirds.

    Photos courtesy of FWC and Kon Studio

    #ImagineOurFlorida #IOF #blackskimmer #beach
    Imagine Our Florida, Inc.
    Imagine Our Florida, Inc.
    --- Saturday Saunter ---
    --- Playalinda Beach at Canaveral National Seashore---

    Imagine spending a day at the seashore, a day free of condos, hotels, and tourists. A day where you can be one with nature in a place where you feel the power of the ocean, hear the pounding of the waves and share all of that glory with only your friends and the wildlife who make their home there.

    There is a little known gem in Florida known as Playalinda Beach. It is a part of Canaveral National Seashore. Take a trip to Titusville, go east on Garden Street and continue driving east until you reach the beach. The ocean is not visible from your car. As you drive parallel to the ocean, you will see sand dunes on your right. There are 13 parking areas, each with its own boardwalk. Any of the boardwalks will lead you over the sand dunes where the ocean in all of its magnificence will appear before your eyes.

    There you will meet some of the 310 species of birds found at Canaveral National Seashore, including migratory birds, who will enjoy the beach with you. If you are lucky, you may meet a loggerhead, green or leatherback sea turtle who makes her nest in the sand or hatchlings as they make their way to the ocean. Enjoy your day swimming, surfing, sunbathing, fishing, and bird watching.

    Stop along the way to or from the beach and explore by car or on foot, some of Canaveral National Seashore ecosystems. These include a barrier island, offshore waters, lagoon, coastal hammock, and pine flatwoods. Outdoor experiences include canoeing, kayaking, boating, hiking, camping, and historical trails.

    There is an abundance of wildlife and wildflowers at Cape Canaveral National Seashore. Keep your eyes open for bobcats, raccoons and more. Look for beautiful flowers and the pollinators among them. We hope you encounter some of the threatened species who make their homes there. You may see Florida scrub jays, Southern bald eagles, wood storks, peregrine falcons, eastern indigo snakes, and manatees.

    Take a day, or two, or three, and immerse yourself in the beauty of natural Florida, the way nature intended it to be.

    #ImagineOurFlorida #IOF #Playalinda #CanaveralNationalSeashore
    Imagine Our Florida, Inc.
    Imagine Our Florida, Inc.
    An invitation from Cuplet Fern to IOF to join them in Sanford this Sunday.
    Meet some like-minded friends while building a Bee Hotel for your backyard pollinators.
    Hope to see you there!
    Imagine Our Florida, Inc.
    Imagine Our Florida, Inc.
    ----Foto Friday---
    ---Warri Tree (Caesalpinia bonduc)---

    This vine is native to Florida and contains casings with coarse hairy seed pods containing smooth seeds. The seeds inside, called Nickernuts, have had many purposes.

    -Jewelry
    -Indigenous people used the seeds for medicinal tea.
    -Yellow and red dyes

    These plants can be found around coastal areas of south Florida. The first specimens recorded in Florida were found in Monroe County in 1891. The ones in these photos were found at the TECO Manatee Viewing Center in Hillsborough County.

    #Florida #Floridanativeplants #nativeplants #Monroecounty #Hillsboroughcounty #warritree
    Imagine Our Florida, Inc.
    Imagine Our Florida, Inc.Imagine Our Florida, Inc. shared a post.
    Thank you Cuplet Fern, for this reminder.