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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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-----Constitution Day-----Today we celebrate Constitution Day.  Did you know that the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution is an important way for the U.S. Government to help protect our environment?   Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution allows Congress to have control over foreign trade, interstate relations, and negotiations with Indian tribes.  This means if a corporation performs an act that is unsafe to air, water, or human health, Congress can intervene.  The tenth amendment of the U.S. Constitution also states that matters that aren't the responsibility of Congress are left for the state government to decide.  Here in Florida, we have our own state constitution.  Article X Section 11 states that the state legislature makes decisions about public land which is in the best interest of the citizens.  This means that we as citizens can use our voice to vote for who will make our environment a priority and we can make public comments to encourage legislatures to protect our environment.  Article X Section 16 outlines the regulations for fishing nets that must be used in order to protect sea turtles.  Section 17 establishes the Everglade Trust Fund which is used to provide funding for projects that help protect the Everglades ecosystem.  Section 18 states that conservation land can only be sold if the state government decides it is no longer needed for conservation purposes and only if two-thirds of the state legislature vote to support the sale.  Section 28 establishes the Land Acquisition Trust Fund which uses 33 percent of excise tax for conservation projects protecting land, water, and habitat improvement.  As you can see, both the Federal and State constitutions are important in helping to protect our environment but we must remember that our elected officials make these decisions.  Check with your Supervisor of Elections website and see if they have a posted example of your upcoming ballot.  Research the listed candidates and make sure to look at their position on the environment.  Do they have a plan that would benefit the environment?  If you can't find one listed you can contact them and ask.  Most people are not one issue voters but even if you aren't, it never hurts to let candidates or legislatures know that air, water, and wild spaces are important to everyone.  *Imagine Our Florida, Inc. is non-partisan and does not endorse any political party or candidate.
-----Constitution Day-----Today we celebrate Constitution Day. Did you know that the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution is an important way for the U.S. Government to help protect our
--- Foto Friday ------ Slaty Skimmer Dragonfly. (Libellula incesta) ---The Slaty Skimmer is one of the most common species of the dragonflies. They are found in marshy ponds, lakes, and slow-flowing forest streams with muck bottoms. This male landed on a sand pile. Females stay away from the water's edge except during mating and when laying eggs in the water. After the eggs hatch, they emerge as wingless, water-breathing, immature forms called naiads. Naiads will live in the water for up to four years. Even as a naiad, the dragonflies are carnivores. They dine on mosquitos, butterflies, moths, mayflies, gnats, flies, bees, ants, crickets, termites, and other dragonflies. In short, if the Slaty Skimmer can catch it, it will become dinner.The Slaty Skimmer dragonfly is found in all 50 states, Canada, and Mexico. Scientists are researching why their population is declining in Wisconsin.Slaty Skimmers can see almost 360 degrees, however, they can not see what is behind or below them. The Slaty Skimmer's vision lacks the clarity that we see. They can see ultraviolet and polarized light which allows them to navigate easily. The dragonfly is one of the most beneficial insects to humans. They are revered in Japan as the country’s national emblem. Over the ages, dragonflies have been viewed as omens, a sign of good luck, a warning of caution, magical, and were once considered real dragons. When you see a dragonfly as beautiful as the Slaty Skimmer, just remember this - Dragonflies pre-date dinosaurs and had a 3-foot wingspan. Connect. Respect. Coexist.Photo Credit: Dan Kon
--- Foto Friday ------ Slaty Skimmer Dragonfly. (Libellula incesta) ---The Slaty Skimmer is one of the most common species of the dragonflies. They are found in marshy ponds, lakes, and
While mangroves line much of the Courtney Campbell Causeway, these Australian Pines prevent sunlight from reaching sections of the coast.  This makes the coast more vulnerable to storms.
While mangroves line much of the Courtney Campbell Causeway, these Australian Pines prevent sunlight from reaching sections of the coast. This makes the coast more vulnerable to storms.
Shallow roots and tall trees make the Australian Pine easily capable of uprooting and causing erosion.  This was the case with this Australian Pine off the Courtney Campbell Causeway.
Shallow roots and tall trees make the Australian Pine easily capable of uprooting and causing erosion. This was the case with this Australian Pine off the Courtney Campbell Causeway.
This small woody nugget contains one single seed.
This small woody nugget contains one single seed.
Australian Pine Trees can reach heights of  150 feet.
Australian Pine Trees can reach heights of 150 feet.
There are a lot of seeds in this pile. The pine straw is so dense that other species usually cannot grow through them.
There are a lot of seeds in this pile. The pine straw is so dense that other species usually cannot grow through them.
----Keep Cats Safe and Protect Our Ecosystem----Keeping cats indoors protects them and our wildlife.  Help educate others by sharing.
----Keep Cats Safe and Protect Our Ecosystem----Keeping cats indoors protects them and our wildlife. Help educate others by sharing.
Brand new Mangrove
Brand new Mangrove
Invasive Australian Pines out-compete Mangroves.
Invasive Australian Pines out-compete Mangroves.
Yellow-Crowned Night Heron
Yellow-Crowned Night Heron
Ibis looking for dinner.
Ibis looking for dinner.
Peek-a-boo
Peek-a-boo
Great Egret enjoying the day
Great Egret enjoying the day
Green Heron waiting for dinner to arrive.
Green Heron waiting for dinner to arrive.
-- National Wildlife Day --National Wildlife Day,  founded in memory of Steve Irwin in 2005,  is a day to reflect on the worldwide efforts to protect our wild friends whom we share our planet with. Habitat loss poses the biggest threat to wildlife.Today is the day to get outside, listen to the birds and insects while observing the wildlife where you are. Today is the day to commit to doing what you can to advocate on behalf of those we share our state with. It's not hard.  Phone calls, letters, emails, or visits to those in office will have an effect when your voice is added to thousands of others. Vote in November. Volunteer with Imagine Our Florida to educate folks about the importance of every living creature in our state.Imagine what we can do together when we all do our part.Connect. Respect. Coexist.
-- National Wildlife Day --National Wildlife Day, founded in memory of Steve Irwin in 2005, is a day to reflect on the worldwide efforts to protect our wild friends whom we share our planet with.
🐢Slow Mama and all of us at IOF thank you for your contributions to the social and economic achievements of America.  Whether retired or in the workforce, know that your efforts to contribute to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our great country are appreciated.🌴Your work to educate and advocate for the preservation and protection of Florida's ecosystems and wildlife shows your dedication to leaving a better Florida for our next generation. 🌟Today is your Day. 🌟Celebrate You and All You have contributed. Tomorrow, we get back to work.
🐢Slow Mama and all of us at IOF thank you for your contributions to the social and economic achievements of America. Whether retired or in the workforce, know that your efforts to contribute to
A little closer up of the growing fruit.  With luck, this will form about 60 seeds that will disperse in the wind.
A little closer up of the growing fruit. With luck, this will form about 60 seeds that will disperse in the wind.
16 days after the first photo with the clusters of flowers, you can see all the flowers are gone and 2 fruits are forming.  These will form seed pods that contain around 60 seeds.
16 days after the first photo with the clusters of flowers, you can see all the flowers are gone and 2 fruits are forming. These will form seed pods that contain around 60 seeds.
There is a milkweed at the bottom pink ribbon.  These plants, when not in bloom, can be easy to miss.
There is a milkweed at the bottom pink ribbon. These plants, when not in bloom, can be easy to miss.
One of the park biologists who marked the plants.  This will allow them to monitor the growth of the plants and help to protect the site and manage it for the benefit of these plants.  You can really see in this photo that these plants are right along an access road.  These man made disturbed sites are a perfect replica of the more natural disturbed sites these plants need to thrive.
One of the park biologists who marked the plants. This will allow them to monitor the growth of the plants and help to protect the site and manage it for the benefit of these plants. You can really
Like the ceraunus blue, the southern broken dash skipper is one of about half a dozen skippers that have been observed with pollen on them as they move from flower to flower.  Hairstreak butterflies are a 3rd butterfly species that is a known pollinator.
Like the ceraunus blue, the southern broken dash skipper is one of about half a dozen skippers that have been observed with pollen on them as they move from flower to flower. Hairstreak
Everyone knows this guy!  Whitetail deer are able to feed on this milkweed due to its relatively low levels of cardenolides.
Everyone knows this guy! Whitetail deer are able to feed on this milkweed due to its relatively low levels of cardenolides.
The queen butterfly caterpillars are a know herbivore of the Curtiss' Milkweed.  The caterpillars have been observed fully defoliating the Curtiss' Milkweed.
The queen butterfly caterpillars are a know herbivore of the Curtiss' Milkweed. The caterpillars have been observed fully defoliating the Curtiss' Milkweed.
Close up of the flowers of the Curtiss' Milkweed.  There can be some slight variation with the flowers but most will look like this.
Close up of the flowers of the Curtiss' Milkweed. There can be some slight variation with the flowers but most will look like this.
The little Ceraunus Blue is one of the butterflies that have been observed with pollen on them moving from one Curtiss' Milkweed to another.  There have been other insects seen enjoying its nectar but only certain butterflies have been observed with pollen actually on them.
The little Ceraunus Blue is one of the butterflies that have been observed with pollen on them moving from one Curtiss' Milkweed to another. There have been other insects seen enjoying its nectar
You can see this plant has flowers at several stages of development.  On the bottom right, they are all dropped. No flowers remain.  Lower left, the flowers are drying and wilting. Middle right, the flowers are open and full. Middle left, flowers are still opening.  Finally, the top two clusters are still buds.
You can see this plant has flowers at several stages of development. On the bottom right, they are all dropped. No flowers remain. Lower left, the flowers are drying and wilting. Middle right, the
This range map shows the counties that the Curtiss' Milkweed has been vouched for.  For the purposes of this map, the whole county is colored in regardless of how many sightings there are.  With their micro-habitat restrictions, they will not be found over the entire county shaded.
This range map shows the counties that the Curtiss' Milkweed has been vouched for. For the purposes of this map, the whole county is colored in regardless of how many sightings there are. With
---How is NASA Helping Sea Turtles?--- Since the 1960's NASA has been conducting a lot of environmental research including work that benefits sea turtles.  They are able to monitor lighting around coastal areas which can cause hatchlings to crawl toward streets or businesses instead of the ocean.  The Kennedy Space Center also adjusts their own lighting depending on the moon phases.  They have assisted in a number of sea turtle rescue efforts, developed technology to monitor environmental conditions, and monitor the largest loggerhead sea turtle nesting site in the western hemisphere and have been improving conditions that help green sea turtle populations in the area.  To learn more about the work they are doing check out NASA's slide show presentation.http://hdl.handle.net/2060/20180001504
---How is NASA Helping Sea Turtles?--- Since the 1960's NASA has been conducting a lot of environmental research including work that benefits sea turtles. They are able to monitor lighting around
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