Voices for Biodiversity – Livable Shorelines

Choctawhatchee Bay encompasses a large estuary along the Florida Panhandle, a watershed that stretches across Okaloosa, Walton, Washington and Holmes Counties before extending into Alabama. Fed mostly by the Choctawhatchee River — the third largest river in Florida by volume — the bay exchanges water with the Gulf of Mexico through Destin’s East Pass. Bordered…

Voices for Biodiversity – From Restaurant to Reef

I sat at a high table at Half Shell Oyster House in Destin, Florida. Christmas music played softly in the background, complemented by fir boughs adorned with red bows on each table. General Manager Stephen Vallette sat across from me as we discussed details of the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA) oyster shell pickup at his restaurant….

Voices for Biodiversity – Brief Eulogies for Lost Animals

As individuals who work in the environmental field and whose hobbies involve being outdoors, we had heard of some of the extinct species featured in Brief Eulogies for Lost Animals by Daniel Hudon before we read the book. The popular metaphor-bird, the dodo, is one extinct species almost everyone knows about, and we also recognized Bachman’s warbler,…

Voices for Biodiversity – Birdwatching in Colombia

In November 2016, Colombia’s congress approved a historic peace deal after a 52-year conflict with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). For decades, the presence of armed groups prevented Colombia from welcoming more tourists, but it is now poised to showcase the country’s incredible biodiversity. No species are more sought after than Colombia’s birds, and a…

Voices for Biodiversity – 2017 International Coastal Cleanup

On Saturday, September 16, hundreds of thousands of volunteers from across the world headed to their coastal beaches and marshes to remove trash and marine debris as part of the 2017 International Coastal Cleanup. In the 2017 International Coastal Cleanup Report, organizers write that over 500,000 people participated last year alone. In the end, 13,840,398 items…

Voices for Biodiversity – Studying Sea Otters

I stood atop Yampah Hill with Kerstin Wasson, Research Coordinator for the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve (ESNERR). A large tidal creek wove through the marsh grass, its arms snaking this way and that, filling additional pockets with water that reflected the blue sky above. From where we stood, Wasson pointed out the long, dark forms…

Voices for Biodiversity – Garbage to Garden

Landfills create big problems. Toxins in electronic refuse — old cell phones, computers, televisions, etc. — can eventually leach into the soil and groundwater, causing decades of environmental health hazards. Food scraps and green waste are covered and packed down as they decompose, a process that reduces oxygen and eventually releases methane, a gas 21 times…

Voices for Biodiversity – Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

Established in 1999, the Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (GB NERR) now stretches across 18,000 acres. In addition to the estuary’s salt marshes, the reserve also covers rare pine savannas, full of blooming wildflowers and carnivorous plants. Read the rest on Voices for Biodiversity!

Voices for Biodiversity – New Fishing Line Recyclers Along the Emerald Coast

For a few months this winter, my office in Okaloosa County became storage space for ten monofilament recyclers. Wide PVC pipes had been painted with beautiful marine designs from herons and crabs to mermaids — by local wildlife artist Annette Taunton, and were ready for installation near piers and marinas across Okaloosa County.   Read the full article on Voices for Biodiversity. 

Voices for Biodiversity – Global Big Day 2017

Birders had their binoculars and checklists ready on May 13 for the annual Global Big Day,and I was one of them. Armed with my eBird phone app, which allows me to record when and where I see specific avian species, I submitted three checklists with a total of 20 species along the Florida Panhandle. Shorebirds, seabirds…

Voices for Biodiversity – Rookery Bay

As part of an ongoing project, Erika Zambello is visiting all National Estuarine Research Reserves in the continental United States. Established by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the sites work together toward long-term research, education and coastal stewardship. Mangrove estuaries are fast disappearing in the United States. Kayaking through Rookery Bay – which…