Thursday, August 12, 2010

Gallery Updates

New photos have been added to our Invertebrates and Beaches (was Florida Coast) galleries.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Moving On

Greetings folks,
I apologize for the lack of updates. Life has changed quite a bit since our last update...and then changed again. We finished up our jobs in New Mexico in September 2009, and have since returned to the beloved southeast. However, before we returned, before we even knew where we were going next, we traveled the West Coast for six weeks, driving through the states of Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California (Northern and Southern), Nevada, and Utah; visiting places such as Yellowstone, Seattle, Hurricane Ridge and the Hoh Rain Forest, Klamath Basin, Oregon Caves, the mighty Redwoods, John Muir Woods, Kings Canyon/Sequoia, and Joshua Tree. It was truly the trip of a lifetime. Some of the wildlife highlights of the trip were Western toads, Pacific treefrogs, Ensatina, rough newt, northern red-legged frogs, foothill yellow-legged frogswandering salamaders, marbled murrelets, black oyster catchers, banana slugs, and black bears.

The Redwoods were so outstanding we didn't want to leave. The redwood forests give you a sense of tranquility and you truly feel as though you are walking through an enchanted forest. No other forest has ever made me feel so incredibly small. Although the sequoias may be wider, it is the height of the giant redwoods that dropped my jaw. Neither species covers the earth as they once did; however, the giant redwoods have retained more of the their wild, natural forest, state, whereas much of the sequoias have been harvested and/or stressed from the years of tourism, so our visit to the park felt more like visiting a museum, observing the great things of the past behind fences. Because of poor early park planning, Sequoia NP did more harm than good for some of its largest trees. In hopes of protecting them, they are now fenced in to restrict visitors to paths and away from the delicate root systems.

We traveled and explored many places in those six weeks, but eventually our time was up, and we drove to Iowa before returning to the great state of Florida. By this time it was November, and we were without jobs but we had hope in NW FL with Nokuse Plantation and the E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center, owned and founded by Mr. M.C. Davis. Eventually, after I interviewed and returned to Iowa for the holidays, they were able to hire us, assuming further funding would come through later in the year. Matt was hired as a land steward for Nokuse Plantation (a 50,000 acre landbase), and I was hired as an environmental educator at the Biophilia Center, teaching 4th and 7th grade students about the longleaf pine ecosystem they live in. In June I started working with Matt on Nokuse while school was out for summer. Despite the never-ending heat, we were really enjoying our new positions; however, we knew that the funding situation wasn't what it should be and no new funding had come in like expected. So by the end of June they had to eliminate our positions due to the lack of funding and the poor economy.

Now we are job hunting once again. We are still in N Florida but will be moving on by the end of the month, hopefully to new jobs, but if nothing presents itself we will likely move to Iowa and search for opportunities in the Midwest.


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Gallery Update

Our new gallery, Florida, features choice photos of our findings while living and working in Florida. Check in frequently for new additions to this gallery. New photos were added 2 August 2010.