Monday, January 28, 2013

Free Pass Fridays Answer: Jan. 25

On average, over 2 million acres of land is treated with prescribed fire every year in Florida. The Florida Forest Service issues an average of 120,000 authorizations for prescribed burns each year to individuals and agencies. In fact, our state has one of the most active prescribed burn programs in the country. To learn more about prescribed fires in Florida, check out the Florida Forest Service's website.

Trained professional igniting a prescribed fire.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Nature Nut’s Tech Corner

Illustration by Jean Bitting, 2012

Do you feel like your inner nature nut and techie geeks are at odds with each other? Are you looking for a fresh new way to explore nature?  Are you a technophobe looking for a way to start plugging in? Perhaps you wish you had a way to inspire today’s technologically bound youth to re-connect with the natural world surrounding them? Whatever your current relationship with the ever-changing world of technology might be, the Nature Nut’s Tech Corner is the perfect resource to help you get your geek on with nature!  Visit us on the last Friday of each month, right here, as we spotlight a new field tested application.


We are focusing on ‘the little guys’ in this edition of Nature Nut’s Tech Corner as we take a look at the app “Phyto”. Phyto, which includes a database of some of the most common salt water phytoplankton, helps you learn to identify phytoplankton and even allows you to hear an audio file of their proper pronunciation. This app, developed by a volunteer member of the Phytoplankton Monitoring Network which is sponsored by the Center for Coastal Environmental Health and Biomolecular Research division of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), even includes a flash card game mode. Whether researching the subject, looking through a microscope, or just looking for a little educational fun we encourage you to test this one out today. Phyto is available on both iPhone and Android platforms.

Excited and needing a reason to use your new Phyto app? Consider donning your citizen scientist hat and joining us at the GTM Research Reserve Education Center as a volunteer for the Phytoplankton Monitoring Network!

iPhone screens

Android screens

Flash Card  Mode on Android

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Free Pass Fridays Answer: Jan. 18

The blood of horseshoe crabs is used to ensure that pharmaceutical and medical devices like intravenous drugs and vaccines are free of bacterial contamination. Luckily, scientist can remove some of the horseshoe crab's blood and then return the animal back to the water. The crab's blood levels rebound in about a week. To learn more, check out the Ecological Research and Development Group's website.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Calling All Potential ‘Shell’ebrities!!

Super Reef Build Event

Have you ever wanted to be a part of something big? Join us on Saturday February 23rd as we add onto our beautiful reef with 444 new reef bags. Every 'Shell'ebrity needs an entourage, so bring your friends, family, co-workers and neighbors! Novices welcome and seasoned volunteers are all encouraged to join this great community effort!  It may be red carpet season, but our event will take place in the mud, so be sure to wear shoes and clothing you don’t mind getting dirty.

Details at a Glance:

When: Saturday February 23rd promptly @ Noon
Where: Meet at the GTM Research Reserve Education Center
Wear: Clothes that can be soiled, rain boots if you have some
RSVP: Contact Lauren Flynn with the GTM Research Reserve

Additional Community Oyster Shell & Living Reef Restoration Project Updates

 Pictures of Progress!

Copyright Walter E. Lara 2012
Walter E. Lara, Registered Biological Photographer, has been specializing in Quality Scientific Photography Since 1990. We are thrilled to have him chronicling our project’s progress through his skilled lens. View all of the amazing photographs in his Oyster Shell Recycling and Living Reef Restoration Album.

That’s a lot to ‘Shell’ebrate!

GTM Research Reserve Oyster Volunteers collected a whopping ~50,000 pounds of oyster shell from local participating restaurants and oyster roast events as of November 2012. Volunteers and staff also are proud to have met the half-way point of the project, building 12 reef sections with 2,160 bags of recycled oyster shell. The following graph illustrates the oyster shell reclamation numbers from the Oyster Shell Recycling Project from its inception in March 2012 through November 2012:

A Huge Thank You to Our Restaurant Partners

Without the contribution and effort from our restaurant partners, this project and restoration would not be possible. Thank you Matanzas Innlet Restaurant, Hurricane Patty’s (St. Augustine), Aunt Kate’s, Cap’s on the Water, and our newest partner South Beach Grill! We encourage you to visit them and help support our project while enjoying a tasty plate of oysters.

Links for Even More Information and Oyster project Blog Articles

Monday, January 14, 2013

Free Pass Fridays Answer: Jan. 11

The State Bird of Florida is the common mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos). These birds live in Florida year-round and are well known for being fierce defenders of their nests. For more information, check out the Florida DHR website.

High-resolution Image of Mockingbird

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Free Pass Fridays Answer: Jan. 4

There are 28 National Estuarine Research Reserves. Almost every state with a coastline has one and some states, including Florida, have as many as three! For more information, check out the NERR website.

Reserve Map