Field Trips for 2015-2016
The Public is Invited!
Titusville's Blue Heron Wetlands is a waste water treatment facility using man-made wetlands of several kinds (lakes, marshes, etc.) to absorb remaining nutrients so the water can be released into the environment. The water in these stages is actually quite clean and the birds and other wildlife love it. Special arrangements have been made so we can visit Blue Heron Wetlands on the weekend. We will have lunch at Enchanted Forest Sanctuary.
Our field trip to Bok Tower Gardens in Polk County will correspond with their weekend Boktoberfest celebration featuring free admission, a large plant sale, and food and entertainment with a German theme. We will bird the trails through natural Lake Wales Ridge scrub habitat watching for fall migrants. Many of the native plants will be in bloom. There are also historic gardens designed by Frederick Law Olmstead.
This Polk County preserve proves that much Central Florida ranchland, when historic water levels are restored, can become as valuable to native plant and animal life as it ever was. This former ranch supports a wide diversity of birds and other animals in many different habitats (woods, lake, meadow, marsh, you name it!).
Sunday, December 6, 2015 -- Lake Apopka North Shore Restoration Area
This is a large preserve on the site of former muck farms that polluted Lake Apopka for years. It is being restored and has become excellent marshy habitat for a wide variety of species. We will tour the newly opened public trails. This area has had some of the highest bird species counts in the state, and we will be there when some of our winter duck species will have arrived.
Sunday, January 3, 2016 -- Christmas Bird Count
Not exactly a field trip, but more! We have numerous teams that spread out close to home to count birds from sunrise to sunset as part of an annual Audubon Society citizen science and conservation project throughout the western hemisphere. This is the 116th year!
This is guided tour in a restricted area at Lake Hancock in Polk County. Special arrangements have been made so we can visit!
On this trip to the Space Coast, we will look for wintering ducks, shorebirds, wading birds, and numerous other water bird species and their tree-dwelling cousins in the salt marsh habitats. Afterwards, we will have a late lunch at famous seafood restaurant Dixie Crossroads in Titusville!
Enjoy a field trip right in Kissimmee. This former citrus grove contains pine flatwoods, wet and dry prairies, oak hammocks, and hardwood wetlands and is home to several important species, such as American bald eagle, sandhill crane, swallow-tailed kite and Eastern bluebirds. Hike the trails, appreciate the wildlife, and enjoy the history!
"Lake X" is really 1350-acre Lake Conlin east of St. Cloud, where a boat company used to test its speedboats. The area was bought by Mr. Kirchman, a software company owner, who turned it into a 2500-acre private nature preserve with superbly managed pine flatwoods habitat. They conduct environmental education and youth camps with a conservation focus. Audubon is promoting it for purchase by the State of Florida as a conservation easement so it will stay natural despite development pressures. Our advance team says it is beautiful, and we have arranged to visit for the day!