Why blog about nature?

What is it about the natural world here in Florida that made me start thinking of myself as a naturalist? I certainly had no training as one in California, which arguably has more nature. In the 20+ years that I lived there, I got to know the Pacific Ocean by swimming, bodysurfing, and surfing in it. I got to know the mountains and the deserts from my interest in rock climbing. But I knew the nature of California in the same way I knew her freeways: Read more

Mars has water

NASA's Phoenix lander has at long last provided direct evidence of water on Mars. And it's been a long time coming. Back in the nineteenth century, an italian observer, Giovanni Schiaparelli, wrote that he saw "channels" or "grooves" (canali) on the red planet. Percival Lowell, betrayed by what we call un faux ami in French, preferred to read canali as canals; ie, structures built by sentient life Read more

The buzz about the ladies of Fern Forest

As I've complained elsewhere in this blog, the summer sun in Florida is hot. Brutally hot. When it's on, like it is today, it feels like you've somehow wandered into a humid blast furnace. Clothes, if you're wearing them, pull the sweat out of you (the technical term for this is transpiration) and then stick to you like glue. The sweat that doesn't get mopped up by your clothes drips down your arms, your legs, your face. It's just plain hot. Trouble is, it doesn't pay to stroll around in the south Florida sun naked, either. Read more


The summer sun in Florida is brutally hot. It's almost directly overhead, and the protection supposedly afforded by Earth's atmosphere seems marginal at best. Those who live only a short distance from the beach can look forward to the cooling effect of the sea breeze, but for those of us who are farther inland, Read more

Snakes can swim!

One of my favorite spots to go for a walk during the week is Fern Forest Nature Center in Broward County. And on April 1 of this year, I happened to see something that I’d never seen before on the spatterdock leaves in the remnant agricultural canal that parallels the Wetland Wander trail at the park. It was a little tiny snake, not more than a foot long, if that (although I never did see it stretched out full length), resting on the broad leaves of this emergent plant. Curious, I started to take pictures. Read more
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