More Photos of the Tosohatchee WMA coming soon

More Photos of the Tosohatchee WMA coming soon

I posted a write up about the recent open house at the Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area about a week ago. It might have given the outdoor enthusiast a pretty decent feel for what that very cool event was like.

What I didn’t do was post more than just one or two pix about the hike we took. Just a quick post today to let you know that I’m putting together a better post about the hike specifically.

I had a lot of fun and took over a hundred pix on our trek through one of Florida’s natural spaces; soon I’ll have that feature up. Until then, the banner photo is one of the shots I like best.

#GetOutdoors!

 

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

 

About the Open House at the Tosohatchee WMA

About the Open House at the Tosohatchee WMA

This post took a while. Bulldog’s had a lot on his plate of late. But that event at the Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area was very cool, and there’s much on which to report.

First of all, this open house took place on Jan 27th and the occasion was the 75th anniversary of the Florida Wildlife Commission. I was surprised at how robust the turn our was that day. And all the staff I spoke to were quite pleased with it.

The banner photo you see with this post is of some of the FWC crew who were on-hand for the event. There were plenty of staff there, and all the ones I spoke to were very helpful in answering questions and telling parts of the story of the Commission.

You may know that the FWC here in Florida has its own fire crews. They do respond to fires that fall to other agencies, but their primary mission is to be the dedicated team to carry prescribed burns and to respond to wild fires for the FWC. Two of the crew were on hand for this open house and answered a thousand questions; about half of those were from me!

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One of the activities on that fine Saturday afternoon was for the kids. Volunteers were on hand to help them “make” a pizza showing them the critters one can encounter in natural Florida and WMA’s in particular. There were no kids at all under the tent when I stopped by and the helpers were really bored. So they prevailed on me to go through the pizza-making process and learn–as the kids do–what one can see in the under-appreciated and undeveloped parts of the Sunshine State.

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Of course, there were EMT’s on duty and ready to respond to any situation which called for their skills. I think they were really bored, what with the moderate temps that day, but they no doubt had lots of chances to tell attendees of all ages about what they do.

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There were way more things to do at this great event which commemorated 75 years of service by the Fish and Wildlife Commission than I could possibly cover here; suffice to see it was a cool event and I enjoyed myself immensely–and learned some great stuff, especially in my many chats with the helpful crew.

On the way out, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to pose with one of their airboats! Going to take one of those airboat tours before long; that would certainly  be material for another post on another day…

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Get outdoors, people! Here’s a cliche, but it’s true, nevertheless: you’ll be so glad you did!

 

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credits Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

Fine Fotos: A Beautiful Nature Spot in the Middle of Orlando

Fine Fotos: A Beautiful Nature Spot in the Middle of Orlando

As you guys know, posting pix of some of the beautiful places I visit is one of my very favorite things to do on my blog! I’m a total outdoor nut and proud of it!

Well, I had to go to my pharmacy today and pick up scripts. I was struck at how beautiful the campus of Aspire Health Partners is on Mercy Drive in Orlando. Well, it’s not the first time I realized that, but it is the first time I whipped out a camera to record the moment.

I like the way these pix turned out. Didn’t take lots of ’em. But very happy I didn’t let the moment pass.

Always tickled when I find spots of bucolic beauty in the middle of the city. I’ll soon be back haunting some of our lovely state parks here in Florida to drink in nature’s beauty in places where we’re a bit more accustomed to seeing it!

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

From the vault for National Squirrel Appreciation Day

From the vault for National Squirrel Appreciation Day

I’m thinkin’ not too many folks know that today is “National Squirrel Appreciation Day!” Yes, that’s for real!

In honor of the occasion, here’s a piece I wrote quite a long time ago for my first (now dormant) blog site; I ran it here in May of 2016.

Enjoy The Squirrel and the Spiritual Experience!

I had just dropped off a fare in my taxi and i decided to stop in at
a fast food place in Altamonte Springs for a quick bite. If you do
know the territory, Backyard Burgers is a better-than average
burger drive-through in an Old Checkers location. It’s quite popular
with the locals.

It’s pretty popular with some furry critters up there too! I got
my “Black and Bleu” burger, an extremely yummy burger featuring
black angus beef and bleu cheese, and proceeded to make short work
of it. It truly was as good a burger as this dog had ever put into
his jaws!

Just as I was about to toss the last morsel down, this very tame
squirrel began to make her way over to the patio table where I was
enjoying this late lunch. (At Backyard Burgers, there is no indoor
seating.)

As she got a little closer, I became transfixed at the sight of her
approach and could not eat that last bit until I knew what she was
up to. In pretty short order she hopped right up on the bench next
to me and reared up on her hind legs. By now she was only about six
inches from me–from me and the last few crumbs of what had been the
best lunch I’d had in quite a while…

As I extended my hand in her direction, she actually put her little
claws right on my first finger and clasped my hand very gently
with a measured and seemingly purposeful pressure. I was quite
surprised to say the least. What I had expected her to do was to
reach for the bite o’ burger and scamper away like a bandit.

For a moment or two she just stayed there clasping my hand and
looking me right in the eye. Then, with consummate timing, she took
the morsel in her mouth and ate it in two or three bites all while
maintaining her eye contact with me, her very flabbergasted
benefactor.

Then she turned away, paused for just a moment and scampered
away towards a towering oak on the edge of the patio.

I suppose it’s a routine she’s quite comfortable with. I have not
been back to Backyard Burgers since but I’m thinking that she
probably has a regular stable of folks who share the last bite of
their lunches with her. I’ve even wanted to get back up there to see
if she’s still around, looking for humans who want to share their
grub with her, but I don’t get that far away from downtown
Orlando in my cab very often.

As I cruised back towards my preferred territory a little closer to
home, I could not get the image of her pausing with her paws on my
hand out of my mind… She seemed to be saying, “Thanks for sharing
your lunch with me! I hope you’ll come back and see me again” or
some such thing in her non-verbal squirrel language which humans may
be graced to understand just once in a while…

The memory of my shared lunch with my furry mistress comes back to
me often; especially when I’m passing any burger joint or when I see
squirrels scampering up and down our majestic oaks and through our
many parks. I would surely love to have a “Black and Bleu” burger
again. And you know I’d save the last bite for my new lunch
companion!

 

Bulldog Ben, respecting all of my

furry friends today just a bit more…

 

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

Headed Back to Tosohatchee Next Saturday

Headed Back to Tosohatchee Next Saturday

The Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area is, by far, the closest of Florida’s WMA’s to my neck of the woods. I loved the afternoon I spent there back on January 4th and so I was happy to see that our FWC is planning an event at Tosohatchee in about a week’s time to give the nature lovers among us a chance to see one of our WMA’s up close!

Hunting and fishing are two activities that happen a lot on our WMA’s here in the Sunshine State but hikers, campers and birders love them, too. And if you get a chance to come out next Saturday, the 27th, Rangers and other staff with the Fish and Wildlife Commission can get you up to speed on all the reasons to visit Tosohatchee or any one of Florida’s WMA’s.

To see the PR release from Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Commission about this free and family-friendly event, just follow this handy link.

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

Hikers, Hunters, Birders and Campers Love the Tosohatchee WMA

Hikers, Hunters, Birders and Campers Love the Tosohatchee WMA

Just 20 minutes east of Orlando is the Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area and it’s a site well worth seeing for outdoor-loving folk like you!

Florida’s Wildlife Management Areas are quite different from State Parks, as folks who want to hike, camp, hunt or target shoot are free to do so in large and completely undeveloped spaces. If you’re a hunter, angler or like to plink, you simply have to have a hunting license and you can engage in those outdoor activities to your heart’s content.

I spent about three hours in the Tosohatchee WMA Thursday and had a ball. I didn’t get as many pix as I often do, but the banner photo here is the one I like best. And I’m headed back to Tosohatchee soon to spend a little more time.

 

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

 

Fish and Wildlife Commission Sets Aside a New Conservation Area

Fish and Wildlife Commission Sets Aside a New Conservation Area

Our FWC here in Florida is always engaged in doing things to protect wildlife and make it easier for Floridians to learn about and enjoy it.

In fact, to me, our Fish and Wildlife Commission is just about the only arm of state government here that I have complete confidence in. They do a lot of good work.

The commission released a PR bulletin today to let the public know that they’ve created a new Critical Wildlife Area in Volusia County. It’s called the Port Orange Colony and though it’s not of considerable size–being a bit less than two acres–it is, nevertheless, a very important site for many bird species. An incomplete list includes the tricolored heron, great egrets, the American oystercatcher and the brown pelican.

It seems to this nature lover to be a very significant action by the commission and the FWC chairman has said as much. Here’s what chairman Brian Yablonski said in today’s release about the creation of our newest CWA here in the Sunshine State:

“Protecting Florida’s birds is what gave rise to the conservation movement in the United States. This is a legacy moment that we leave for the ages as a Commission.”

Kudos to Florida’s FWC for this and all the fine work they do. To read the complete press release all about the Port Orange Colony, our newest conservation area, follow this link.

 

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile