Florida State Parks – Big Lagoon

Big Lagoon State Park has it all. It’s uncommon for so many different ecosystems to exist within one 955-acre park, but as I looked at the map upon arrival, my fingertip traced the Intracoastal Waterway, Grand Lagoon, multiple ponds, salt marshes and upland pine flatwoods. With five miles of trails, there is a lot to…

Florida State Parks – Big Talbot Island

The scene was dramatic. My friends and I had descended down a steep bluff to a narrow beach facing Nassau Sound. Across the water was Amelia Island State Park; behind us tall live oak and cedar trees towered over both saw palmettos and, farther below, sand. On the beach lay the bleached trunks and branches…

Birding Maine – Birding My Neighborhood

Though I have birded across Maine and across the United States, there’s something special about birding in my very own neighborhood. I grew up in the town of Cumberland, and am lucky that my parents still live there. Behind our house is a large tract of unbroken forest, dominated by the deep green of hemlock…

Nat Geo – Winter Expedition Day One Continued

Continued from here. You would think the cold created a woods devoid of life, frozen, if you will, until the spring thaw brings warmth and energy back to Little Moose Mountain. You would be wrong! Throughout most of our hike, the calls and chatter of Golden-crowned Kinglets, Black-capped Chickadees, and Red Squirrels rained down on…

Duke Nicholas School – The Importance of Nature Writing

I have recently taken it upon myself to sign up for a library card in my local town, frequent used book stores, and peruse the discount shelves of new-title book seller establishments: I have decided that I need to return to my roots as a prolific reader. Somewhere in college I became caught up in…

Birding Maine – Fishing for Loons Part II

Continued from Fishing for Loons. Loons are smart birds, and over the years certain loons on certain lakes have discovered that when an angler catches a fish, that fish is ripe for the taking. They swoop in like underwater torpedoes, stealing the trout and zooming off. While it may be a boon for the loons,…

Duke Nicholas School – Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day

First posted for the Duke Nicholas School of the Environment. Though they are beautiful creatures, Lionfish have become a major problem in Florida. They are recognized as an invasive species, covering many artificial and natural reefs throughout state and federal waters. First reported in 1985, they now decimate native fish species by consuming them or…

Birding Maine – Fishing for Loons

When my boyfriend (now my husband) Brian and I first started dating, I made sure to bring him up to the Maine North Woods to see how he reacted to the area. Staying with in-laws is always a little nerve-wracking, so I couldn’t abandon him completely to my father while my mother and I went…

10000 Birds – The Return of Nesting Skimmers and Terns

They have returned! Last week I drove over the Navarre Beach Causeway, peering carefully to either side as I slowed to 20 mph. For the last few months the sloping sides of the bridge met the water with no birds dotting its sand other than a few pigeons or gulls. In one big wave the…

One World, Two Feet – Anhingas in the Everglades

On the way to the Keys in 2014, my friends and I spent a morning on the Anhinga Trail on the Florida Everglades. Though we saw many species of birds – in addition to dozens of alligators – the Anhingas stand out most in my mind. Their ebony forms shimmered in the early light, and…

Birding Maine – Northern Parulas End the Morning

Continued from Trying to Spot an Ovenbird. The prime time for birding had passed, but that didn’t mean we were done for the morning. Passing a low tree just beside the office building, we heard a strange buzzing. “Is it a bird call?” I asked, and Mom nodded, approaching the tree with her binoculars. We…

Nat Geo – Winter Expedition Day One

It had been almost exactly a year since I had last seen snow. As we drove to Moosehead Lake in the North Woods of Maine, we definitely didn’t have that problem. Despite an unseasonably warm December in the state, we were driving the day after the winter’s first blizzard, and anywhere between five and eight…