Category: Florida

When you and your friend know you have sweet dance moves…

Just look at these gorgeous manatees! Each November marks Manatee Awareness Month, a reason to celebrate these gentle giants, lovingly called sea cows. The average manatee is about 10ft long and weighs 800 -1,200lbs, eating approximately 1/10th of their body weight every day. From November to March, about 600 can be seen vegging and eating vegetation in the warm waters of Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge in Florida.

Photo by Michel Gilbert, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Munch on these facts, manatee-style: www.doi.gov/blog/6-facts-about-manatees

One of the best things about getting outdoors is seeing wildlife. We can admire their uniqueness and imagine their lives. How high can a bluebird fly? Do deer get sad in the rain? What do alligators eat? How nervous is that turtle right now? These are the questions we ask ourselves on World Animal Day. Discover more fascinating wildlife stories at Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuge. Photo courtesy of Mickey Foster, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service volunteer.

Happy Labor Day! Thanks to all of the hard workers, especially our Interior employees, who make our country the amazing place it is. We hope you find a special place to relax and get some rest – like this manatee at Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge in Florida. Photo courtesy of David Schrichte.

A brilliant sunset casts color and light over pinelands and grasslands in Everglades National Park, the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States. This Florida park is a subtle place where earth, water and sky blend in a low green landscape – where mere inches of elevation produce distinct changes in vegetation and a great wealth of birds and other unique wildlife find refuge. One of the most environmentally significant regions in the world, Everglades National Park can also impress with its sublime beauty. Photo by Vineesh Agrawal (www.sharetheexperience.org).

This shouldn’t be a surprise, but cypress trees are an important part of Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida. A cypress dome is a fascinating habitat. Forming over an underwater depression, the tallest trees grow in the deepest water and the smaller trees grow along the edge in the shallower water, giving the dome its shape. The trees’ wide bases help them absorb water and keep them stable in storms. Epiphytic plants attach themselves to the tree trunks, earning them the name of airplants. River otters and alligators make their homes here, too. It’s probably not a place you’d want to live, but the shade, colors and reflection are worth the visit. Photo by National Park Service.

Get ⚡️charged up for the weekend! Florida’s dramatic thunderstorms and gorgeous wetlands make an appearance together at Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge in Florida. The refuge, located in Broward and Palm Beach Counties – protects the northern Everglades and the mosaic of plants and animals that call this ecosystem home. Photo courtesy of Ross Macdonald.

Take a moment to relax and enjoy this gorgeous tie-dye sunrise at Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuge. This delightful refuge is a place to experience warm air, gentle waves, soft bird calls and miniature deer slowly prancing by you. The refuge was established to protect Key deer and other wildlife in the Florida Keys and includes pine rockland forests, tropical hardwood hammocks, freshwater wetlands, salt marsh wetlands, mangrove forests and absolutely stunning views. Photo courtesy of refuge volunteer Mickey Foster.

In 1513, Don Juan Ponce de Leon discovered the islands of the Dry Tortugas 70 miles west of Florida. By the time Florida was acquired by the United States in 1821, military strategists of the young nation already had plans for this vital anchorage. Construction on Fort Jefferson began in 1846, but was hindered by heat, hurricanes, disease and distance. Today, Dry Tortugas National Park preserves the fort, as well as the marine ecosystems and island beauty that mesmerize everyone who visits. Photo by Glenn Gardner, National Park Service.

May is an exciting time at Nathaniel P. Reed Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge in Florida. Loggerhead sea turtles are coming ashore to nest. A female sea turtle lays an average of more than 100 eggs in each nest. If the nest is left undisturbed, the eggs will hatch around 60 days later and the hatchlings will race to the sea before they become snacks for hungry predators. Wildlife is not the only threat to the hatchlings. Human activity can destroy nests and distract hatchlings. Please help protect sea turtles by keeping beaches clean and limiting your use of lighting near nests. Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

At the confluence of temperate North America and the tropical Caribbean, Everglades National Park covers 1.5 million acres of South Florida. Rich with flora and fauna, walk the winding trails and notice the dazzling tropical hardwood forests, sawgrass marshes, cypress swamps, delicate orchids and the presence of wildlife like alligators and anhingas. With multiple visitor centers and both guided and self-guided tours available, explore this vast and open landscape however you chose. Photo courtesy of Paul Marcellini.