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Zebra Longwing Butterfly

The Zebra Longwing Butterfly has been the Florida state butterfly since 1996. Starting out as tiny yellow eggs they grow into caterpillars who are a white to pale yellow and have black spines. Like all butterflies they enter another stage of metamorphosis by developing a chrysalis. The color of their chrysalis can change depending on the surface it is attached to. This is an evolutionary mechanism they acquired a long time ago. Once the butterfly reaches adulthood it becomes a beautiful pollinator like the one shown feeding on a shepherd’s needle. What’s your favorite butterfly? Share with us in the comments below.

#zebralongwing #ImagineOurFlorida#Floridanativewildlife

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Wildlife Passages

Exciting Update From Ginger Goepper Community Outreach

Finally, after 14 months of communicating with FFWC and FDOT regarding the need for wildlife passages, Imagine Our Florida, Inc., received positive, encouraging feedback regarding Director Aymee Laurain ‘s detailed project proposal. Thank you Geico Auto Insurance Company for being

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Power Lines and Birds

Director, Dan Kon was driving through his neighborhood when he saw a young man on a bike who was stopped and staring woefully at a large bird of prey lying on the sidewalk.

Post by Dan:
I stopped to see if the teen and the animal were ok but the turkey vulture was dead. The teen told me he was riding his bike when the bird fell from a tree above and landed on the sidewalk in front of him.
I looked up and saw feathers on the power line above. Either the poor vulture was electrocuted or had fallen from the tree above and made contact with the line on the way down I took several pictures including the pole number and street signs nearby.

I immediately called Duke Energy. The person I spoke with was compassionate and determined to get any potential problem with the power line repaired. She asked for the street and pole number, then promptly scheduled a lineman to be sure the line was safe so no other wildlife could be harmed.

The Duke Energy Representative informed me that dry rot of the insulation, animal’s talons, or sometimes squirrels who tear off some of the insulation, will expose the live wire beneath.

A few days later, I followed up and learned the lineman did inspect the power line and it was not in need of repair. While I did not learn what caused the death of this creature, I did learn that Duke Energy is responsive to keeping our wild friends safe.

Duke Energy asked that if any you who are their customer see an issue like this, please report it to them as soon as possible. Be sure to write down or take a picture of the pole number, located on a tag on the pole, as well as nearby street signs. The company does not want Florida’s wildlife and flora harmed.

It’s good to see a company as large as Duke Energy has joined the worldwide movement to protect our wildlife.

Connect. Respect. Coexist.

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How to Save a Gopher Tortoise who is crossing the street

 

Safely remove the tortoise from the road and move him/her in the direction in he/she was heading to the grass or wooded area on the side of the street.

-DO NOT put a tortoise in water. Tortoises, unlike turtles, can’t swim.

-DO NOT try to relocate a tortoise. Gopher tortoises have an amazingly strong homing instinct and will try their best to return to their home burrows. This puts them at greater risk for road mortality, predation as they lack the protection of a burrow as they wander, and exposure to the elements. Females have also demonstrated behaviors of nest-guarding and if removed from those areas during nesting season it could negatively impact the survival rate of the hatchlings. (Gorsse et al 2012)

-DO NOT handle them beyond the length of time it takes to get them across the street to safety. A study published this year found that brief handling did not cause a stress reaction but handling for more than a few moments caused stress hormones to increase greater than 200-fold. (Currylow et al 2017.)

Remember, Gopher Tortoises are a Threatened Species, therefore it is illegal to relocate a tortoise without a permit or to keep them as pets. (Florida Statute 372.0725; Chapter 68A-27; Rule 68A-27.003)

If you see a tortoise that will require additional assistance, contact the FWC weekdays from 8 am to 5 pm at 1-850-921-1030 or after hours or on the weekends at 1-888-404-3922

Let’s all work to protect our amazing animal friends that we are so lucky to share this state with!

Share this information with your friends and be sure to give our page a “Like” to learn more about Florida’s wildlife and wild spaces.

#gophertortoise #Florida #wildlife #tortoise

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IOF Thanks M & D Hills Photography

Imagine Our Florida, Inc wants to thank the amazing photographic team of Matt & Delia at M&D Hills Photography. They gifted us with beautiful Black Bear portraits to be used by IOF. We are eternally grateful and honored to have people from all over the country donating and helping us carry out our mission right here in Florida. Be sure to check out more of M&D’s stunning art work at http://www.mdhillsphotography.com/ You may even find the perfect image to purchase for your home. Thank you Matt & Delia.

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Latest Facebook posts

To our new followers, Welcome to Imagine Our Florida. Here you will discover places to go, things to do, and learn science-based facts about our wild friends and the ecosystems we share with them. There are plenty of opportunities to get involved. Whether you volunteer at an event, contribute to our social media, host a fundraiser, advocate on behalf of Florida wildlife or their wild spaces, or simply share your knowledge with your friends and family, know you are making a difference. Watch for our daily posts.  We will explore Natural Florida together and discover the wonders of nature and unique ecosystems right here in our own home state. We are happy to have you on our team. :-)
To our new followers, Welcome to Imagine Our Florida. Here you will discover places to go, things to do, and learn science-based facts about our wild friends and the ecosystems we share with them.
------- Injured Bear Relocated ----Recently, what is likely a well-known
------- Injured Bear Relocated ----Recently, what is likely a well-known "neighborhood" bear appeared to have been struck by a vehicle in one of the several Longwood subdivisions in Seminole County
---- World Oceans Day  ----It's hard to believe that our magnificent, powerful, and vital oceans are so incredibly polluted with plastic. We are to blame. World Oceans Day is the day to commit to eliminating single-use plastics.Keep reusable shopping bags in your car. Carry a metal straw and reusable silverware to restaurants. Get yourself a refillable water bottle. It's the small things that make a big difference.
---- World Oceans Day ----It's hard to believe that our magnificent, powerful, and vital oceans are so incredibly polluted with plastic. We are to blame. World Oceans Day is the day to commit to
----When Criminals Disrupt Conservation----Rules are in place for a reason.  Limitations of fish catch are established to reduce the chance of species degradation.  Some animals, such as the spiny lobster play an excellent role in their ecosystem as a predator. Preventing over fishing of these lobsters ensures there is food for their natural predators who otherwise would begin to consume a larger number of other species. We need to abide by these laws to ensure our ecosystems stay healthy.  #spinylobster #lobster #wildlife #illegal https://buff.ly/2spHFRk
----When Criminals Disrupt Conservation----Rules are in place for a reason. Limitations of fish catch are established to reduce the chance of species degradation. Some animals, such as the spiny
Still very soft, the cicada will finish drying before taking flight.
Still very soft, the cicada will finish drying before taking flight.
The wings are almost fully formed and beginning to dry.
The wings are almost fully formed and beginning to dry.
Still clinging to its old self, the cicada's wings continue to expand.
Still clinging to its old self, the cicada's wings continue to expand.
Completely out of the larval shell.  Wings are open and beginning to grow and dry.
Completely out of the larval shell. Wings are open and beginning to grow and dry.
Almost all the way out.  the head and legs are free.
Almost all the way out. the head and legs are free.
The rest of the body slowly emerges.  The wings are still folded and small.
The rest of the body slowly emerges. The wings are still folded and small.
The cicada pulls its head out of the shell.
The cicada pulls its head out of the shell.
The adult cicada begins to emerge.  The shell of the larval exoskeleton has cracked and is opening.
The adult cicada begins to emerge. The shell of the larval exoskeleton has cracked and is opening.
This photo is of the larval cicada.  It has emerged from the ground and is preparing to molt for the last time.
This photo is of the larval cicada. It has emerged from the ground and is preparing to molt for the last time.
Show your love of Florida this summer with one of Imagine Our Florida's original bumper stickers.Order yours here: https://imagineourflorida.org/our-products/
Show your love of Florida this summer with one of Imagine Our Florida's original bumper stickers.Order yours here: https://imagineourflorida.org/our-products/
Happy Foto Friday everyone!  Read to the end to get a teaser on a fun and special photo post for Sunday!  Here's a little girl that many people will be quick to recognize.  She's a young black and yellow garden spider. These spiders range all across the United States and up into Canada as well as south into Mexico and Central America.  The spiderlings emerge in spring from egg sacs laid the prior year.The dense zigzag of silk in the middle of the web is known as the stabilimentum.  The true purpose of this structure is in dispute.  Some say it is to provide camouflage to the spider resting in the center.  Others think it acts as an attractant to insect prey or as a deterrent to birds who could fly into the nest and damage it.   Every night, the female eats the center of her web and then rebuilds it in the morning.  Their bites are comparable to a bee sting and are harmless to healthy adults and those who are not allergic to their venom.  They maintain a clean and orderly web and help remove loads of insects. They are great to have around and are a truly beautiful arachnid.  We hope everyone gets a chance to get out this weekend and enjoy the outdoors!So, as I eluded to above, I was able to get a cool series of photos that I will share on Sunday on a very common, often heard, but seldom seen insect.  Every single one of us has listened to their calls.  So, get ready for Cicada Sunday!  This Sunday!
Happy Foto Friday everyone! Read to the end to get a teaser on a fun and special photo post for Sunday! Here's a little girl that many people will be quick to recognize. She's a young black and
It's Our  Anniversary! Two years ago, we came together, United in our cause to Preserve and Protect Florida's wildlife, habitat, and ecosystem.Today is Your Day to Celebrate!If you volunteered at an event, financially supported IOF's science-based education initiatives, are one of our cherished advisors who freely shares your knowledge, if you enjoyed a hike in the forest or around your yard and shared your wonder with a friend or on this page, if you spoke up at a meeting, attended a meeting or advocated by making a public comment, if you showed a child the beauty of a bee or a butterfly, if you reduced your plastic use, recycled or picked up a piece of litter,  or if you were one of the people who shared pictures from the 2015 bear hunt that brought an understanding that WE need to stand up for bears, their wild friends, and wild spaces, know that YOU have made a difference. TOGETHER, we have reached thousands of people and showed them how to Connect. Respect. Coexist.WE are only just getting started, IMAGINE what we can do Together.
It's Our Anniversary! Two years ago, we came together, United in our cause to Preserve and Protect Florida's wildlife, habitat, and ecosystem.Today is Your Day to Celebrate!If you volunteered at
Imagine Our Florida wants to thank Paleo Enterprises http://paleoenterprises.com/ in Orlando for donating a fossilized leg bone from a Woolly Mammoth which was found in Gilchrist County, Florida. The Woolly Mammoth was a Florida native during the Pleistocene Epoch era which is anywhere from 12,000 to 2.2 million years ago. The extinction of the Woolly Mammoth is presumed to be similar to issues that we have with Florida's current endangered and threatened animals - climate change and over-hunting. The threatened African elephant is a relative of the Woolly Mammoth. #WoollyMammoth #Florida #Extinction #Gilchristcounty
Imagine Our Florida wants to thank Paleo Enterprises http://paleoenterprises.com/ in Orlando for donating a fossilized leg bone from a Woolly Mammoth which was found in Gilchrist County, Florida. The
Today, we pause to remember those who gave their lives for our freedoms.   These freedoms allow us to continue our quest for knowledge through exploration and science.  We are free to have our voices heard and to advocate for what is most important to us.  Freedom also brings a responsibility to the land and water they protected.  This Memorial Day, honor those who gave it all at your picnic or barbeque.  Reduce plastic use, recycle what you can, dispose of trash (and litter) properly, and leave behind only footprints at your beach or park picnic.
Today, we pause to remember those who gave their lives for our freedoms. These freedoms allow us to continue our quest for knowledge through exploration and science. We are free to have our voices
Ferns first appeared in the Devonian period but most of todays species began to show up in the Cretacious period.  Ferns reproduce by dropping spores from underneath their leaves. These spores will mix together and exchange DNA just like a sperm and an egg in humans.  In fact, fern sperm actually have a flagella, a long whip-like tail for moving through water.  This makes them quite sucessful.  #Florida #reproduction #ferns #sawgrasspark #pinellascounty
Ferns first appeared in the Devonian period but most of todays species began to show up in the Cretacious period. Ferns reproduce by dropping spores from underneath their leaves. These spores will
---- SCARE THAT BEAR  ---- Some Mother Bears are teaching their cubs to forage for food.  Other Mother Bears have raised their cubs and have sent them on their way to forage on their own.Will  you encourage these young bears to learn to lead a life of crime? Breaking and Entering into refrigerators, cars, porches, or garages?  Destroying bird feeders, fences, and pet enclosures? TEACH THEM WHILE THEY ARE YOUNG - There is no food in human neighborhoods. Bears are not welcome in human neighborhoods.  Secure your atttractants. When one arrives in your neighborhood,  SCARE THAT BEAR ---- KEEP THEM WILD ----Learn how to safely scare a bear here: https://buff.ly/2s6dkqF#blackbears #Florida
---- SCARE THAT BEAR ---- Some Mother Bears are teaching their cubs to forage for food. Other Mother Bears have raised their cubs and have sent them on their way to forage on their own.Will you
---- SCARE THAT BEAR  ---- Some Mother Bears are teaching their cubs to forage for food.  Other Mother Bears have raised their cubs and have sent them on their way to forage on their own.Will  you encourage these young bears to learn to lead a life of crime? Breaking and Entering into refrigerators, cars, porches, or garages?  Destroying bird feeders, fences, and pet enclosures? TEACH THEM WHILE THEY ARE YOUNG - There is no food in human neighborhoods. Bears are not welcome in human neighborhoods.  Secure your atttractants. When one arrives in your neighborhood,  SCARE THAT BEAR ---- KEEP THEM WILD ----Learn how to safely scare a bear here: https://buff.ly/2s6dkqF#blackbears #Florida
---- SCARE THAT BEAR ---- Some Mother Bears are teaching their cubs to forage for food. Other Mother Bears have raised their cubs and have sent them on their way to forage on their own.Will you
Threatened is Serious,  Endangered is Dangerous.  Extinct is ForeverAccording to the most recent list of Threatened and Endangered species by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 68 Florida animals and 69 Florida plants are now threatened or endangered.  That's one more animal and 5 more plants than last year's report.   These animals and plants are on the list due to over hunting, over development, over-harvesting,  invasive plants and sea level rise.   Throughout the U.S. there are currently 1,459 animals that are Threatened or Endangered.  Do you want to help? Contact us at Imagine Our Florida. Imagine what we can do together.
Threatened is Serious, Endangered is Dangerous. Extinct is ForeverAccording to the most recent list of Threatened and Endangered species by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 68 Florida animals and
Watch your step at the beach!Why? It is sea turtle nesting season from May 1st to October 31st.What can we do to help?Turn out unnecessary beach lights, switch out light bulbs to an amber or red light, or put a shield on the light to project the light down to the ground and not out to the beach.Knockdown sandcastles and fill in sand pits to allow sea turtles a straight path to the water.Keep the beach clean (which we should be doing anyway) This helps both baby and adult sea turtles avoid getting tangled in the garbage and eliminates the need to traverse litter.AND please do not disturb their nests or harass the adults or babies.Simple things like these are what we can do to make a real difference in the health and population of our sea turtles.
Watch your step at the beach!Why? It is sea turtle nesting season from May 1st to October 31st.What can we do to help?Turn out unnecessary beach lights, switch out light bulbs to an amber or
----What is
----What is "Toilet to Tap"-----Toilet to Tap may not have the most pleasant ring to it but it's the process of filtering water for reuse. This process involves several filtration check points
----What is
----What is "Toilet to Tap"-----Toilet to Tap may not have the most pleasant ring to it but it's the process of filtering water for reuse. This process involves several filtration check points
This red-shouldered hawk is a local resident of Bloomingdale, FL.  Many neighborhoods have hawks who linger about the area.  While they mostly prey on small rats, squirrels, and other birds, they will make a meal out of stray animals.  If you have a pet, keep them inside or on a leash, secure all holes in your backyard to limit the exposure range, and for extra security ypu can get a raptor proof vest for when you walk your small dog. Making small changes in human behavior helps us coexist with our native critters.  It also helps keep them on a diet that may just get rid of the invassive rat species.  ;-)  #redshoulderedhawk #raptors #florida #floridawildlife #birdsofprey #imagineourflorida
This red-shouldered hawk is a local resident of Bloomingdale, FL. Many neighborhoods have hawks who linger about the area. While they mostly prey on small rats, squirrels, and other birds, they
Manatees Deserve  Respect They have been here since the Pleistocene period. Keep them safe from boat propellers, fishing hooks, monofilment and other litter.  Inlanders, keep storm drains and waterways free of litter and fetilizer runoff. #manatees #cleanwater #Florida #fishing
Manatees Deserve Respect They have been here since the Pleistocene period. Keep them safe from boat propellers, fishing hooks, monofilment and other litter. Inlanders, keep storm drains and
A young otter was found in a woman's garage.  Thanks to her immediate action in calling local officials the displaced otter was rehabilitated and is doing fine. #otter #florida #orangepark #imagineourfloridahttps://buff.ly/2jBVkAs
A young otter was found in a woman's garage. Thanks to her immediate action in calling local officials the displaced otter was rehabilitated and is doing fine. #otter #florida #orangepark
It's another Foto Friday.  There was so much interest in the post about the Lake Wales Ridge a few weeks back that I thought I would share a few other photos from that area.  This cool looking plant is Tillandsia utriculata, or the Giant Airplant. Its status in Florida is Endangered (listed as a result of Mexican bromeliad weevil attack).This one was still small, only about 18 inches in height but these can get up to 2 meters long. When they mature, they produce a single flower spike then die.  The Lake Wales Ridge is home to many rare and endangered plants and animals.  Make sure to get out and explore.  Use our state parks, wildlife management areas, and National parks.  This shows, to government officials, how valuable natural spaces really are to people.  Attendance matters.
It's another Foto Friday. There was so much interest in the post about the Lake Wales Ridge a few weeks back that I thought I would share a few other photos from that area. This cool looking plant
Remember, any body of water in Florida can be the home to an alligator.  Make sure you always give them space, never feed them, and keep clear of females nesting. #Alligator #Florida
Remember, any body of water in Florida can be the home to an alligator. Make sure you always give them space, never feed them, and keep clear of females nesting. #Alligator #Florida
---Thank you to all the Teachers---We appreciate all the hard work that teachers do.  We especially appreciate those who share their knowledge about the natural world we live in.  Whether you teach children to read about the exciting adventures through the wilderness, create beautiful art that shows an appreciation for natural beauty, emphasize the quantitative importance of data through math, teach the history of our world and the natural and man-made disasters throughout time, or the science that ties into our ecology, we thank you.  One way we like to help out is by creating science-based lesson plans that help meet state standards.  We supply the information and tools to make life a bit easier.  Check out our K-5 lesson plans now.  #Nationalteachersday #teachers #science #nature #ecology #Floridahttps://buff.ly/2vOrnX4
---Thank you to all the Teachers---We appreciate all the hard work that teachers do. We especially appreciate those who share their knowledge about the natural world we live in. Whether you teach
This really shows that citizens of #Florida care about #manatees but perhaps a bit of sex education when it comes to wildlife might help us identify those intimate moments and maybe give them a bit of privacy.  https://buff.ly/2r0hvo8
This really shows that citizens of #Florida care about #manatees but perhaps a bit of sex education when it comes to wildlife might help us identify those intimate moments and maybe give them a bit
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