Stop Breeding Mosquitos 

Mosquitos lay up to 200 eggs in moist areas. When water is added by rain or humans, the eggs become larvae. Once the larvae are mature enough, they will become pupae. During this stage, metamorphosis takes place and an adult mosquito is born. The entire process takes 8-10 days.

The most common mosquito in Florida is the Aedes aegypti. The females are carriers of West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, Dengue fever, Chikungunya, and Zika virus. Female mosquitos need blood to produce eggs, therefore they love to live where people and pets are abundant.

What can you do to stop mosquito breeding in your yard?
Mosquitos only need 1-2 centimeters of stagnant water to breed.

1. Change water in birdbaths 2x/week.
2. Be sure flower pots and dish underneath does not contain standing water.
3. Be sure gutters are debris free so that water will not collect in a leaf “dam.”
4. Bromeliads are a perfect habitat for mosquitos to develop. Flush bromeliads with a garden hose 2x/week.
5. Check yard toys and yard ornaments for standing water.
6. Check for leaks from outdoor faucets and around your air conditioner.
7. Is there standing water in your boat or any other vehicle stored outdoors?
8. Look for standing water near your swimming pool, pool equipment and pool toys.
9. Check for standing water in holes in trees and bamboo.
10. Walk around and look for water in things like trash cans, trash can lids and any container or object where water can accumulate.
—— Install a Bat House ——–
Bats can eat up to 600 mosquitos in an hour!!

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Ethos Vegan Kitchen and Imagine Our Florida, Inc.


IOF is honored and grateful to Ethos for partnering with us and donating 5% back to our organization. If you haven’t tasted their delicious plant based food, be sure to stop in the next time you are in Winter Park. We promise you, the food is delicious.


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Wildlife Passage Update

On July 2, 2017 Imagine Our Florida Director Aymee Laurain was driving through the pan handle when a vehicle

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Bumper Stickers

Show your support for Florida Balck Bears and Florida Wildlife. Bumper Stickers are available in the IOF store for $5.

Our Products

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Bridging Education, Advocacy and RESEARCH

IOF will be represented at the ISWE Conference by Aymee Laurain!!!

Thank you to all who have donated thus far. We are halfway there and have allocated funds to cover the costs of membership and the convention.

Will you please donate what you can today for accommodations? It is during the after-hours when Aymee will meet and form lasting friendships and business connections with scientists from around the world.

IOF recognizes that scientific research is the key to sustainable change. We are moving into the research phase. To that end, this conference will allow IOF to make connections with the leading researchers around the world. And, who better to represent IOF than our own Aymee Laurain? Her dedication to our wildlife and wild spaces is beyond comparison.

Thank you for supporting IOF as, together, we will change hearts and minds of future generations for the peaceful survival of all Florida’s wildlife. Our bears, panthers, manatees and gopher tortoises thank you! So do all of their wild friends and all of us at IOF


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Attention Orange County Residents in Bear Country 

—- Mark Your Calendars —-

Orange County Commissioner Bryan Nelson has announced the opportunity for people in Unincorporated Orange swap out Automated Bear Resistant trash cans.
Sept 9th
Orange County Service building – Rock Springs Rd. in Apopka The cost is only $50 since Orange County is subsidizing $150 of the total cost of $200
This is your chance to thank Commissioner Nelson for working hard to provide an affordable way for you to show your commitment to coexisting with our bears and helping to reduce human/bear conflicts.

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Florida Panthers need YOU to be their voice.


Federal Wildlife Officials are reviewing the endangered status of the Florida Panther. The current estimated population is 200, a mere fraction of this number that lived in Florida. Panthers are apex predators and a necessary and important element in the trophic cascade. Once again, we need to learn Connect.  Respect. Coexist.

Contact David Shindle today and make your voice heard.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is accepting public input for consideration in the review of Florida Panthers until Aug. 29. Input should be sent to biologist David Shindle through one of the following methods:

• Regular mail: South Florida Ecological Services Field Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 12085 State Road 29 S, Immokalee, FL 34142


•Fax: (772) 562–4288

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Seminole County Bear Resistant Trash can Update

On behalf of all of us at IOF and our Florida Black Bears, Thank You, Commissioner  LeeConstantine, for taking the lead on resolving human/bear conflicts and showing the rest of the state how Seminole County coexists with our beloved bears. Commissioner Constantine proposed affordable trash cans for Seminole County in 2015. We created a petition and 5250 of you signed it in support of Commissioner Constantine’s proposal. This is the result of what happens when citizens and government work together to Connect. Respect. Coexist.

From Commissioner Constantine:
With the announcement that the FWC will not pursue a bear hunt, we can take pride in the success of the Urban Bear Management Program. Seminole Couty was the first to implement the ordinance, which has drastically reduced human/bear conflicts. Now, with the $200,000 grant from FWC, we are poised to purchase bear-resistant containers and deliver them to 100 percent buy-in neighborhoods in the Bear Management Area at a 75% discount, individuals a $40 discount and those below the poverty level a free can. Starting in May this program will continue to show why Seminole County is a special place to live.

UPDATE 1: The bear-resistance container program has been a huge success with more requests for cans than we have on hand. The county will be using the funds collected to purchase more cans. Citizens interested in purchasing a discounted bear-resistant container should visit for more information.

UPDATE 2: GOOD NEWS, on July 25th, a new refuse agreement will be voted on extending the current contract. If approved, beginning January 2018 the $60 per year bear can pickup surcharge will no longer be collected.

UPDATE 3: In August, the Central Florida Zoo will open its Florida Black Bear Habitat Exhibit. GO CHECK IT OUT!

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Is Air Quality Important to You?

Two air quality bills are being reviewed by the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works: Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety.

1) S. 263: Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2017…/115th-congress/senate-bill/263… –
This bill would amend the Clean Air Act which would require ozone standard reviews to be extended from 5 years to 10 years and would put state governors in charge while reducing federal intervention.

2)S. 452: ORDEAL Act of 2017- (click on picture)
This would delay the implementation of the 2015 ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) so that states would have more time to adopt new methods.

Both of these bills impact our air quality. Please, contact all members of the committee as well as Fl Senator Bill Nelson and Fl Senator Marco Rubio and let them know how you feel. Loosening regulations on our air quality can result in negative effects to public health and contribute to the acidification of our oceans.

Shelley Moore Capito, Chair (202) 224-6472

Jim Inhofe (202) 224-4721

John Boozman (202)

Roger Wicker (202)

Deb Fischer (202)

Jerry Moran (202) 224-6521

Joni Ernst (202) 224-3254

Richard Shelby (202)

Sheldon Whitehouse, Ranking Member (202) 224-2921 :

Benjamin L. Cardin (202) 224-4524

Bernard Sanders (202) 224-5141

Jeff Merkley (202) 224-3753

Kirsten Gillibrand (202) 224-4451

Edward J. Markey (202) 224-2742

Tammy Duckworth (202)

Florida Senators:

Bill Nelson (202) 224-5274

Marco Rubio (202) 224-3041

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Be a Citizen Scientist by Simply Taking a Picture

Do you have a butterfly garden? Do you enjoy watching butterflies and moths while out on the trail? Snap a picture, identify the species and submit it to The Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA) project. This data is used to track the range of butterflies and moths and compares it to historical range or it can check migration trends if butterflies are in a certain location while out of season. Remember when we talked about planting only native milkweed because it could make Monarchs late for migration? This is one way to track complications such as that.

Check out the site and start uploading your pictures and reporting your fluttering friends today.

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—-Save the Date— —-Sat July 22—–Ethos Vegan Kitchen

Ethos Vegan Kitchen has chosen Imagine Our Florida to give back 5% of the day’s profits! We are honored to have been chosen as a worthy organization.

Grab some friends and your loved ones and experience vegan food. It is wonderfully delicious! Check out the menu.

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The Milkweed Assassin

The Milkweed Assassin (Zelus longipes ) might sound like a villain but think of him as a vigilante for your garden. They are fantastic at catching invasive or hard to manage insects that would otherwise damage your garden. These funny little bugs set a sticky chemical trap before hiding in the foliage. Once they catch their prey they use a long feeding appendage referred to as a beak which is used to suck the fluids out of their prey. They will eat almost any types of flies, aphids, and broom moths. If you see them in your garden don’t be alarmed. They are there to help. Just don’t touch them. Their bite can leave a burning sensation that swells for a few days.

#Florida #milkweedassassin #insects #ecology #interdependence

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Ruddy Turnstone

This Ruddy Turnstone was spotted eating a shrimp at our winter Gandy Beach Clean-up in St. Petersburg, FL. These rock dwelling birds spend the winter months in warmer climates, such as Florida, and migrate back to the Arctic Circle in Alaska in central Canada to breed during summer months. These birds are protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBCA). Despite protection, these birds face numerous threats from deteriorating habitat along coasts to contaminated waters which directly threaten their health but also the health of their food source. Climate change is another risk factor. These birds rely on predictable climate patterns for food and breeding. Like many migratory animals if the climate is offset it could throw off their migration patterns. This means they may have a shorter time to raise their babies or their food sources may not be available when they previously had in the past. One study even estimated that migratory bird populations are likely to decline 66-83% in the next 70 years. (Wouchope et al 2016) These migratory animals are another reason Global warming should be a concern for Floridians.

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Purple Bankclimber

The Purple Bankclimber is a fresh water mussel reaching a length up to 5.5 inches.

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From Sea to Shining Sea…

One of the best advantages of living in Florida is that, if we travel far enough in either a Westerly or Easterly direction, we will find…water! And, one really cool thing about that is when the water seems to glow, as if by magic.

On a summer evening in the Indian River lagoon, a natural magic illuminates the wake of a boat, the splash from a paddle, or creates beautiful blue flashes of frenzied schools of mullet. If you run your fingers through the water, you can see it fall in gorgeous blue-green luminescent droplets… What is causing the lagoon to glow? Bioluminescence! Tiny dinoflagellates (Pyrodinium bahamense) – or bioluminescent plankton – create light through biochemical reactions. When excited or stimulated, these plankton become little flashlights in the water, much like fireflies do on land.

This evening, the plankton are lighting our way, as we kayak along the Indian River and into the lagoon. Originally named the “Rio de Ais,” after the Ais tribe of Native Americans who made their home along the East coast of Florida, the lagoon is, in actuality, a grouping of five lagoons, which comprise the most biodiverse lagoon ecosystem in the Northern Hemisphere, with over 10,000 species of plants and animals – thirty-five of these threatened or endangered. The lagoon is rife with game fish, such as tarpon or snook, which grow to epic sizes because there are very few predators in the lagoon. It is also host to all three types of mangroves, which provide filtration and nutrition to the ecosystem. We are told by our guide that, due to development, the mangrove population has been reduced by 85%. In addition, the water level in the system is rising due to increased runoff from the city. And there is also the danger from algae blooms, which form as a result of deforestation, pollution and high temperatures. Surely, these things are serious indications of danger to our natural ecosystems. However, they do not detract from the magic we are witnessing this evening; the beautiful blue glow serving as a reminder of the uniqueness and intricacy of this environment, one we must cherish and protect.

If You Go…
If you are looking for an educational, but interesting and fun adventure to share with family or friends, consider taking a bioluminescence tour! BK Adventure offers environmentally-friendly guided eco-tours. For more information, they can be reached at: | | (407) 519-8711

To help ensure an enjoyable experience, we suggest wearing a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, and closed shoes, and taking along some mosquito repellent, as well as a change of clothes, as you will likely get wet – but, that’s part of the fun!

*Bioluminescence photo courtesy of BK Adventure*

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The Florida Marsh Rabbit

The Florida Marsh Rabbit, Sylvilagus palustris paludicola, is a cousin of the cottontail rabbit. However, unlike the cottontail, the marsh rabbit has a brown tail and is an excellent swimmer. They are found in brackish and fresh water marshes, in flooded agricultural areas, and in swamps. They are never found far from water. Females can produce 6 litters a year of up to 4 babies. They are most active at night or in the early morning hours. Birds of prey, alligators and fox all are common predators of the marsh rabbit.

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—- Florida Panther 5 Year Review —–

US Fish and Wildlife Service is initiating a 5-year status review of 23 southeastern species, including the Florida Panther, under the Endangered Species Act of 1973.

At Imagine Our Florida, Inc., we recognize that every species, including apex predators, contribute equally to a balanced ecosystem.

As per the document, you may request more information, submit information or review information received.
Contact David Shindle at the Ecological Services field office in Immokalee by phone or email:

Read more here:…/u-s-fish-and-wildlif…/443699001/

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—–A Thread in the Web of Life—-

When a thread in the web of life has been woven, its purpose does not wither. It holds together the fibers of many other lives who were impacted by that single thread. On July 2, 2017 a beautiful thread was woven. Dr. Ileana Sisson, has left this world. She left behind strength, kindness, compassion, wisdom, friendship, and love. These traits will radiate from every thread she touched in the web of life. May her light never fade.
After the 2015 bear hunt, Ileana made herself available for free counseling to all bear monitors who had documented bears as they were brought into check stations to be weighed. Ileana then traveled 4 hours to host an outdoor retreat in central Florida for the bear monitors. With patience and compassion, she listened to our stories. She gave us tools to work through our trauma. She showed us how to turn our grief into strength, our passion into determination, and our defeat into can-do attitudes.

It is because of Ileana’s lessons, that we were able to dry our tears and get on with the business of not only saving our bears, but all of the wildlife and wild spaces they share.

Ileana, your spirit will always be the guiding light for Imagine Our Florida. You are our Angel Warrior. We love you.

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Happy 4th of July!

Wishing everyone at IOF a fun, safe and memorable holiday!

As we celebrate our independence, let’s remember our wildlife who have given up their freedom to roam about their homeland when we moved in.

Take a few moments today, to teach someone the value of a bug, how we are all an equal and valuable part of the circle of life, how our oceans depend on us to recycle, the difference between a turtle and a tortoise, to appreciate the beauty of a blooming “weed” or what to do if they see a panther or a bear.

Together, we can make a change. One voice at a time. One person at a time.

Imagine the hearts and minds we will collectively change today if we all reach just one person.

Connect. Respect. Coexist.

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