Florida Beauty in Nature on WUSF TV
Big Cypres Swamp
WUSF Public Media is proud to announce that the Mosaic Co. has underwritten a new series of 90-second videos by award-winning filmmaker Elam Stoltzfus featuring short stories on the environmental beauty of Florida. Stoltzfus is well known for his numerous Public Broadcast Television documentaries, including Kissimmee Basin: the Northern Everglades and most recently the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition: Everglades to Okefenokee, which was also underwritten by Mosaic. The short videos will air on WUSF TV throughout the coming year. We hope you enjoy the beautiful sights and sounds of natural Florida as much as we do.
Rookery Bay, Naples, Florida
One of the Nation's last remaining undisturbed estuaries is located near the Western edge of the Everglades in Southwest Florida. Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is a sanctuary for a productive and diverse community of wildlife. This estuary provides a nursery for a wide variety of birds and marine life. The reserve's boundaries have expanded to one hundred and ten thousand acres, from Naples south through the Ten Thousand Islands.
The Myakka State Park
Myakka River State Park is located 9 miles east of Interstate 75 in Sarasota County. Myakka is one these unique landscape treasure that keeps calling you back in the waterway and marshes. There are many opportunities to capture great wildlife images. The 90 second story that was produced this summer, the video was captured in two days from dawn to dusk. Myakka is one of the state's largest and oldest parks. The land area is 37,000 acres making this one of most diverse natural areas. A series of excellent hiking trails provide an outdoors enthusiast a place to observe wildlife through the marshes and pine lands. The Park has a diverse collection of wildlife including a large inventory of Florida gators.
Birds of Southwest Florida
Florida Cattle Ranches
Florida has the longest history of ranching of any state in the United States. Florida's cattle industry, one of the oldest and largest in the nation, is vital to the state's well-being. Ranching is an essential economic activity that preserves many aspects of the natural landscape, protects water resources, and maintains areas used by wildlife or for recreation. Few people know about Florida's unique ranching traditions, which have been adapted to the subtropical climate and influenced by the state's distinctive history.
Circle B Bar Preserve
A well-kept secret within Florida's heartland, located a few miles east of Lakeland, Circle B Bar Preserve is a special treasure. A former ranch, the Circle B Bar Preserve spans over 1000 acres and is home to a large population of birds and other wildlife. A nature lover's paradise with a series of nature trails, this preserve contains a smattering of ecosystems ranging from tranquil oak hammocks to freshwater marshes and hardwood swamp to bird-filled lakeshores.
Bears and Turkeys
The Florida black bear is a subspecies of the American black bear that has historically ranged throughout most of Florida and southern portions of Alabama and Georgia. The large black-furred bears live mainly in forested areas and have seen recent habitat reduction throughout the state. The white-tailed deer, also known as the Virginia deer or simply as the whitetail, is a medium-sized deer native to the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America, and South America as far south asPeru. The Osceola Wild Turkey, also known as the Florida Turkey can only be found on the Florida peninsula. This bird is smaller and darker in color than the Eastern Wild Turkey and was named after the famous Seminole Chief Osceola in 1890.
Flowers of Southwest Florida
The region of the wilds in Southwest Florida has a very diverse collection of plants. The flowers that bloom in abundance range from the endangered Ghost orchid to the dazzling air plants in the deep swamps. "An artist must process Nature. He must identify himself with her rhythm, by efforts that will prepare the mastery which will later enable him to express himself in his own language." - Henri Matisse
Disney Wilderness Preserve
The Disney Wilderness Preserve, managed by The Nature Conservancy is an essential part of the Everglades ecosystem and contains 3,500 acres of restored wetlands—the life-blood of peninsular Florida. Located south of Orlando, the 12,000-acre preserve straddles the headwaters of the Northern Everglades. Bordered by cypress-ringed Lake Russell, with one of the area's last undeveloped lakefronts. The preserve is home to more than 1,000 species of plants and animals. The Disney Wilderness Preserve is a showcase for habitat restoration and conservation.
Forest Lands of Florida
Forestlands cover almost half or 47% of Florida's total land area—more than 16 million acres. Florida has three National Forests and 34 state forests. Florida's forests provide wildlife habitat, clean air, clean water, recreation, and more than 5,000 consumer products that we use daily. Florida's forests shelter more than 100 species of animals including threatened and endangered species such as the Florida Panther, Black Bear and Red Cockaded Woodpecker. Florida's forests provide a water filtering system that improves the drinking water of 90 percent of the state's population.
The Suwannee River
The Suwannee flows from the Okefenokee Swamp in southern Georgia to the Gulf of Mexico in Florida. It winds for almost 266 miles through swamps, high limestone banks, hammocks of hardwood, and salt marshes. The Suwannee River is a federally designated wild river. It is the only major waterway in the southeastern United States that is still unspoiled.
The Kissimmee River Basin stretches from the southern tip of Orlando to the northern edge of Lake Okeechobee covering a distance of a little over 100 miles. The surface water that filters into Lake Okeechobee is 35 miles wide at its peak and is the largest source of surface water to flow into the lake. Due to its key role in filling up Lake Okeechobee, the Kissimmee River influences the water quality of Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades—which lay directly south of the lake.
Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park
Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park stretches over fifty-four thousand acres and is home to an array of endangered plants and animals. Visitors have the opportunity to spot the elusive Crested Caracara, hear the endangered cricket-like song of the Florida Grasshopper Sparrow, or maybe even spot a Burrowing Owl. This protected acreage is the largest remaining stretch of Florida dry prairie.