Friday, February 11, 2011

Beach fossils at Guana's Evironmental Education Center

We have a huge jar of these. They're fossilized sharks' teeth, all collected from the stunning beaches of a Florida State Park. .
Tomorrow we're joining a bunch of other beachcombers and fossil freaks and interested learners at Guana's Environmental Education Center to learn more about some of the stuff we've collected. Walking a couple of miles on a pristine beach several times a week is restorative and healing. In the case of my dear old person, as many of you know, it's also a potent method of pain management, at least for a litle while. And you can build quite a collection, if you want to, of mesmerizing artifacts from the ancient history of the planet.

Good news: the kind people at Guana called me again, this time to say they'd like to do more than just add me to a mailing list. They want to reach out to you, gentle readers. How amazing is that? I can hardly wait to hear from them, and to extend their news to our little circle. Until that happens, please let me know if you'd like to help with invasive species removal, or are interested in learning more about the role of fire in ecosystems. Both involve field trips, and the former is an opportunity for hands-on volunteer field work.

Bad news: state parks have been on the budgetary chopping block. The list includes Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings State Park, and local favorite Washington Oaks State Park, where many springs have welcomed countless visitors as the dazzling, flamboyantly glorious azaleas open their faces to the returning sunshine. For the moment Lord Voldemort has said no to the closings, but keep your eyes open, people. These lands are fragile, diverse and preserve our heritage but they are dangerously vulnerable to loss.

Really good news: your own state parks, whether in Florida or elsewhere, are probably just a few miles from you. And whether or not it seems likely to those of you in the northeast, spring is within scenting distance. A few more weeks, everybody. In Florida and Arizona we can already hear the herald of spring in the eagerly-awaited clarion call with which baseball fans put winter to rest: "Pitchers and catchers report". Spring is coming. Spring training is coming. Birds and flowers are coming. In a few weeks we'll all be able to step outside and bask in it.

Until it gets here, my beloved old person and I will wrap up in scarves and sweatshirts and walk on the beach. And I'll bring you all the news I can from the tiny, beautiful microcosm of life at Guana Reserve.

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