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Finding Nature in the City

The Nature Walk Project - Urban Juxtaposition from katienormalgirl.com

The Nature Walk Project, Entry No. 001, Vol. 2

In some areas nature is so prevalent and that it’s practically spoon-fed to you. In other areas you have to seek it out…bend down, look up, look past, and generally ignore foot after foot of concrete. But once you start looking for it, you’ll find that it’s always there, sometimes in the smallest of ways, but it is there.

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The Nature Walk Project, Calendar: November 2012

Please feel free to download this month’s calendar page for your personal use as a printed wall calendar or electronically as the desktop background on your computer.

very time I head out on one of my nature walks, I can’t help but be enamored with the beauty that nature has to offer. All too often that beauty is fleeting, as lovely plants and habitats change with the seasons and never look exactly the same twice.  I find myself so hypnotized by this fleeting beauty that I will take photo after photo trying to capture just the right angle so I can look back and remember where I was standing, what it felt like and the colors of that moment.  While this is a lovely way to remember the places I’ve been, it often results in an abundance of photos. So I’ve decided to turn at least one of my nature walk photos into a calendar page each month.  I hope you enjoy it and thank you for reading and virtually joining me on all of my nature walks.

This month’s calendar page features brilliantly colored, pink seed pods on a Maple tree that grows near my home.  I hope you have a wonderful November!

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Click here to learn more about The Nature Walk Project.

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The Nature Walk Project: One Year Later

This is it!  A year in the making!  I’ve been walking around the same lake, once a month for a year, documenting the seasonal changes, the animals and the plants.  Last night I took my final picture of this lovely, little lake path.  Below is a photo compilation of the wooden bridge that crosses the lake.  The photos start in October 2011 and ended last night, the last day of October 2012.

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A Year of Full Moons – October

he moon has reset and will soon start to wane.  This is your monthly reminder that now is the time to release any bad habits or negative thoughts you might be holding onto.  As our view of the moon shrinks, sliver by sliver, let it take that which you wish to release.  Allow yourself the freedom to let go.  It’s during this lunar phase that the growth of leaves on plants and trees starts to slow, because as the moonlight fades, the plants push their energy down to the their root systems.  Focus on strengthening your own roots, the part of you from which everything else grows and flourishes.

The quote on the photo above is from one of my favorite books, The Girl Who Chased The Moon by Sarah Addison Allen. The story is enchanting and always inspires me to go out and chase the moon.  I took the above photograph during our full October moon in Orlando, Florida, United States on October 28, 2012 at 9:14 p.m. EST, using my iphone.

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Check out more from A Year of Full Moons

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A Year of Full Moons – September

The moon has reset and will soon start to wane.  This is your monthly reminder that now is the time to release any bad habits or negative thoughts you might be holding onto.  As our view of the moon shrinks, sliver by sliver, let it take that which you wish to release.  Allow yourself the freedom to let go.  It’s during this lunar phase that the growth of leaves on plants and trees starts to slow, because as the moonlight fades, the plants push their energy down to the their root systems.  Focus on strengthening your own roots, the part of you from which everything else grows and flourishes.

The quote on the photo above is from one of my favorite books, The Girl Who Chased The Moon by Sarah Addison Allen. The story is enchanting and always inspires me to go out and chase the moon.  I took the above photograph during our full August moon in Orlando, Florida, United States on August 30, 2012 at 8:45 p.m. EST, using my iphone.

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Nature Walk: Christopher B Smith Preserve in Naples, Florida

Regular Nature Walk posts will return next month with the unveiling of the results of my yearlong photography project.  In the meantime, please enjoy the photos and this recounting of my recent adventures in the Christopher B. Smith Preserve located in Naples, Florida, USA.

I recently had the opportunity to go on a tour of the Christopher B. Smith Preserve located in Naples, Florida, USA.  The preserve is owned and managed by The Conservancy of Southwest Florida, an organization that works to preserve the natural habitats of southwest Florida.  The preserve is “an eight-acre endangered upland and scrub habitat” and “is home to native plants and wildlife including the gopher tortoise, a threatened species in Florida” (Conservancy).

Ian Bartoszek, a biologist for The Conservancy and a friend of mine, lead the afternoon tour. As we carefully stepped through the fence and into the preserve the first thing I noticed was that the ground is made up of fine, white sugar sand.  It is a soft sand compared to the type often found along the beaches of the Atlantic and it is pure white.  The sandy ground made the scrub habitat feel so different from the areas of asphalt and manicured lawns that surround it.  The white ground, a leftover seabed from millions of years ago, made this area feel like I was stepping into another world and into another time.  Covering most of the sand was a light-green species of lichen, Foliose Ground Lichen (Parmotrema spp). As we walked through the preserve Ian asked all of us to stick to the paths, so as not to disturb this ancient species.

Looking around I noticed that The Conservancy had installed small wildlife cameras attached to the base of a few trees.  The motion activated cameras are able to capture animal activity that people wouldn’t normal get to see and the biologists are able to study these photos and share them with visitors of The Conservancy.

Also dominating the landscape are the beautiful purple flowers of the Chapman’s Blazing Star plant, also known as Chapman’s Gayfeather (Liatris chapmanii).  These pretty flowers are typically a pretty purple color but every now and then, a white one will bloom.  Among the sea of purple we found two of these white blooms very near each other.  It felt like something special to see these rare flowers.  Ian told us that seedpods from established plants like these could be harvested by conservation groups and used in other habitat reclamation projects.  The use of these seeds is typical when reestablishing an area that may have had the natural scrub habitat devastated by logging, land clearing and other development.

As we walked through the scrub we could hear a gopher tortoise or two shuffling through the palms and undergrowth.  The tortoises were camouflaged in the thick growth and I wasn’t able to snap a photo of them on this trip.  However, I was able to get a few photos of the entrances to their underground homes, which I put into the slideshow below.  In addition to the threatened gopher tortoise, Ian told us that there is a very diverse group of animal and plant species (about 250 of them), from tiny spiders and amphibians to bobcats and coyotes, which live in this protected habitat.

We also found this amazing beehive that covered a good portion of a palm tree.  I was lucky enough to have a good zoom on my camera and didn’t need to get to close too these amazing, buzzing pollinators in order to get a good picture (also in the slideshow below).

The preserve is part of The Conservancy of Southwest Florida’s new Nature Center.  The center is currently being upgraded and when it is complete it will be open to the public later this year.  Ian was able to give our group a quick tour of the progress so far, along with a visit to some of their animal residents, which I included in the slide show below.

I had a wonderful time on my nature walk and can’t wait to come back soon.  If you’re going to be in Florida, be sure to stop by The Conservancy’s Nature Center and get a tour of this unique area of Florida.  Thank you to our guide, Ian Bartoszek, for showing us around and teaching us about the importance of preserving natural habitats.

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[slideshow]

 

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A Year of Full Moons – August

The moon has reset and will soon start to wane.  This is your monthly reminder that now is the time to release any bad habits or negative thoughts you might be holding onto.  As our view of the moon shrinks, sliver by sliver, let it take that which you wish to release.  Allow yourself the freedom to let go.  It’s during this lunar phase that the growth of leaves on plants and trees starts to slow, because as the moonlight fades, the plants push their energy down to the their root systems.  Focus on strengthening your own roots, the part of you from which everything else grows and flourishes.

The quote on the photo above is from one of my favorite books, The Girl Who Chased The Moon by Sarah Addison Allen. The story is enchanting and always inspires me to go out and chase the moon.  I took the above photograph during our full August moon in Orlando, Florida, United States on August 1, 2012 at 9:22 p.m. EST, using my iphone.

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A Year of Full Moons – July

The moon has reset and will soon start to wane.  This is your monthly reminder that now is the time to release any bad habits or negative thoughts you might be holding onto.  As our view of the moon shrinks, sliver by sliver, let it take that which you wish to release.  Allow yourself the freedom to let go.  It’s during this lunar phase that the growth of leaves on plants and trees starts to slow, because as the moonlight fades, the plants push their energy down to the their root systems.  Focus on strengthening your own roots, the part of you from which everything else grows and flourishes.

The quote on the photo above is from one of my favorite books, The Girl Who Chased The Moon by Sarah Addison Allen. The story is enchanting and always inspires me to go out and chase the moon.  I took the above photograph during our full July moon in Orlando, Florida, United States on July 2, 2012 at 9:12 p.m. EST, using my favorite point-and-shoot camera, a 2008 Canon PowerShot SD1000 Digital Elph.

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