Help for the Eastern Indigo Snake

Help for the Eastern Indigo Snake

One of Florida’s iconic snakes, the Eastern Indigo has been having a tough time in the last little while. The problems are familiar and are not so easily remedied in a time where it seems like every square inch of habitat in Florida has a strip mall or three either being built on it or in the planning stage.

But the good guys are doing what they can to keep our native species from fading to black. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission has a comprehensive plan to address this unhappy situation and the state expends a lot of resources to work that plan.

One of the many actions taken recently to help the Eastern Indigo Snake in particular was the release of 20 captive-bred specimens into the wild at the Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve in Liberty County. That’s in the panhandle region of Florida.

Just how much help this will be to the Eastern Indigo is impossible to tell, but it certainly can’t hurt. The loss of habitat is problem no. 1 facing all of our native wildlife here in the Sunshine State, and though it seems cliché, it’s nevertheless true that the problem is only going to get worse before it gets better.

Well, human nature being what it is, I don’t think it will ever get better, but that’s fodder for a different posting.

For now, I’m glad to see that our FWC is doing fine work, helping to give our native species a fighting chance.

To read the entire press release about today’s very cool event, just follow this link.

 

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

© 2018 Ben Lawrence Basile

 

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

 

 

Mr. Gator Hangin’ Around at the Ritch Grissom Memorial Wetlands in Brevard County

Mr. Gator Hangin’ Around at the Ritch Grissom Memorial Wetlands in Brevard County

Saw this gator playing peek-a-boo among some aquatic plants. Had my trusty camera at the ready, so I got off a shot or three. I’m liking ’em and thought I’d pass some of them along.

Before too long I had a chance to get Mr. Gator up close and personal as we used to say. Here’s one that I think fits into this post quite well.

IMG_6455

 

And, of course, when I say “up close and personal”, I’m talking about the magic of my zoom feature and NOT about me creeping through the wetlands hoping to get much closer to my scaled, reptilian friend…

I got quite a few shots today at this cool spot and some of them are totally blog worthy. I’ll be posting later with more of those.

One of the things that made this trip especially fun is that I wasn’t trying to get to this “new” spot at all. (Of course, by that I mean new to me.) I just happened to stumble across it while cruising on a stretch of Wickham Road which was unfamiliar to me.

Ol’ Bulldog is so set in his ways that he rarely does things in that fashion; but he liked the way it all turned out, so he’s all about spontaneous fun now! Well, okay, he’ll try to do a bit more of that, at least…

I hope you’re doing some outdoor stuff. Here in the Sunshine State, it’s pretty damn hot, but there are still plenty of cool things to do all up and down this state. You just have to make sure you bring along the goofy straw hat, sun block, shades and something to drink. Yeah, that’s the formula!

And, of course, be sure to bring along your camera!

 

“Bulldog Ben” back home in Orlando

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

Tragedy Strikes a Family at Disney World

On Tuesday, June 14th, two year old Lane Graves was wading in ankle-deep water at Disney’s flagship resort, The Grand Floridian, when he was attacked and dragged under by an alligator. Although his father was close by and tried to keep young Lane from being taken, his efforts were no match for a gator’s jaws. Mercifully, Lane’s body was recovered the next day.

The Graves family was visiting Central Florida from Nebraska on vacation and remained here for several days to make the arrangements for their son.

Lane’s funeral was held on the afternoon of June 21st. The service was limited to family and close friends.

A couple of observations about this mind-numbingly tragic event: although the loss of this precious child is first and foremost a tragedy  for the family, it rocked the Central Florida community as well, coming as it did, on the heals of the murder of singer Christina Grimmie and the attack at the Pulse nightclub in downtown Orlando. These three hugely-traumatic events would have weighed very heavily on the heart of Orlando regardless of the “why and when” factors. But having them fall, as they did, in a period of only five days was a perfect storm of shock, incredulity and heart-break for people who call Orlando home. It’s hard to conceive. Honestly. I can’t think of anything remotely like this in my half-century plus of living here.

Having said that, our community began the process of healing from this “unholy trinity” of events pretty quickly. The journey toward healing will be much longer for the families of those who were lost.

A GoFundMe account has been set up for the Graves family. If you’d like to help, follow this link. Please note that if you’re reading this a few weeks down the road from this tragic event, that account may not be active at that time.

To see how you can help the victims and the families of the 102 who were gunned down in the Pulse attack, click here. Note that of the 102 who were shot, 49 didn’t make it. At this writing, two and a half weeks later, only six survivors remain at Orlando Regional Medical Center. One is still in critical condition. But a lot of those folks will be healing from their wounds for a very, very long time.

On the 9th of June, if an angel had come down from heaven and described the events that would soon be happening in Central Florida, none of us would have taken the celestial messenger seriously. Those who might have put some stock in the angel’s revelation could not be blamed if they had taken the first flight out. But much to the credit of our people, this community has risen up and done great things to support the survivors, their families and the ones whose lives were lost. I hasten to add that much love and support has flooded in from places way beyond our part of the world. Like the love and unity which seemed to be everywhere in the aftermath of 9/11, these “warm, fuzzy” thoughts and behaviors will most likely wane as the shock and grief lessen. But the love and unity I’ve seen all around Central Florida in the last two weeks has been extraordinary and I hope it lasts a while.

I Cor. 13:13  New Living Translation

Three things will last forever–faith, hope, and love–and the greatest of these is love.

 

 

Orlando’s very, very tragic week

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve no doubt heard about the incredibly tragic events here in Orlando over the last week. There’s been non-stop coverage of all three events, not by local media only, but the big boys have been all over it too. CNN and the New York Times, among many others. And when you think back over the week’s events, it’s not hard to see why.

First, singer Christina Grimmie was shot dead in an autograph session at the Plaza Theater on Friday, June 10th. Then, barely 24 hours later home-grown terrorist and homophobe Omar Mateen cut loose with a torrent of death that claimed 49 innocent lives and injured 53 others. And then on Tuesday night, Lane Graves, a two year old boy visiting from Nebraska, was dragged under and drowned by an alligator at Disney’s flagship resort. An incredible week, to say the least, and one we who call Orlando home will never forget.

In the next three posts, I’m going to have more to say about these three truly tragic events. At this moment, I just want to point out-though it’s been done countless times in the last ten days-that this is probably more cruelty, shock, sadness and sorrow than has been visited on any single American city in such a short span of time in our century. If that sounds like hyperbole, it’s not. What a week it’s been! I hope no community here in the U.S. or anywhere else on the planet, ever has to deal with this improbable mix of insanity, hatred and ill fortune in a six day span. Heaven help us.