Loxahatchee NWR Update

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.”
~Margaret Mead

Excellent news!! In October 2016 I posted about the threat that the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge was facing. Thanks to a group of dedicated and caring people, yesterday the Governing Board of the South Florida Water Management District voted to execute a new license agreement for the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge!! Thank you a million times to anyone who helped to make this decision a reality. Every email, phone call, and/or meetings attended matter!

In the past few years I have learned so many things when issues like this come up. The most important is that when something matters to you, speak up! Every voice matters even if it seems that it really won’t. It is guaranteed that your opinion will not matter if you do not get involved or say anything. It is good to know that there are many people who care about nature and wildlife. Not only do nature and wildlife provide the most meaningful sense of peace and happiness to me, but the joy of being part of fighting to protect these precious places and animals is indescribable.

~Megan

lox

Canoeing at Loxahatchee NWR a couple years ago

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Fracking Ban Help Needed

From my friend, Ms. Karen: URGENT CALL IN: In the homestretch of session, House Majority Leader Rodrigues won’t let the fracking ban bill move forward. However, House Speaker Corcoran has the power to have it be heard in committee. CALL Speaker Corcoran now, at 1-888-925-7006, and tell him to keep the House accountable to the people, and not to Rodrigues’ special interests. Tell him you want HB 451, the fracking ban bill, heard in committee!

I am going to Tallahassee on Tuesday to lobby (with others) for Everglades issues and for a statewide fracking ban in Florida. Please help by making this one call to help get this bill heard in committee!!

Thank you.

~Megan

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Innocent Bear Killed

Ignorance is bliss.

I remember when I was 4, 5, and 6 years old and going to Disney World to see the princesses and to ride some of my favorite rides seemed like the greatest thing ever. Then I discovered “wild” Florida. I have found place after place while hiking, biking, and paddling that seem very close to heaven to me. I am constantly astounded by the beauty of natural Florida and love our wildlife so, so much. Today is one of those days that a part of me wishes to go back to my earlier Disney “bliss” and not know of the very things that have become part of my heart and soul in natural Florida.

Today I learned about a very distressing situation that occurred yesterday near Pensacola. A man let his dog out who ran to a nearby wooded area and then heard yelps. He ran to see an adult bear and three cubs. The dog and the human had  NON-LIFE THREATENING injuries from the bear acting in self-defense. The thing is, this bear could have easily killed the dog and severely injured and killed the human as well. A dog and human who end up with basically minor injuries from an adult bear who was startled and protecting her three cubs shows just how non-aggressive Florida Black Bears really are. A swipe at a human’s face is not the behavior of a”vicious predator” but an animal who happens to be large and powerful who is understandably defending herself and her cubs!! She just wanted to be left alone after having been startled and threatened. This adult bear is immensely powerful and acted in self-defense; she did not ATTACK a dog or a human. Here is an article about this, although please read the comments as well:

Bear acts in self defense article

I am disgusted by this reporter’s delight in this bear’s terror. (below) Did she misunderstand that this was not a wildlife viewing party? Does this reporter even care that this bear did NOTHING WRONG? After being harassed by a dog and a human, this bear was trapped in a cage, separated from her cubs, and surrounded by strange people shining lights on her before she was killed. How would any one of those humans like being treated that way?!? This mother bear was probably distraught by all of that, but also by not knowing where her cubs were and unable to get to them. What is wrong with people that they are so heartless to these creatures that are so incredibly intelligent and do not deserve humans acting so despicably? I am so unbelievably angry that this reporter said that she was “so excited” to see a wild bear for the first time. That seems a rather selfish and cruel thing to say about this terrified bear.

Reporter excited to see innocent trapped bear

Last week I had the privilege of speaking to two college classes about our bears. I told them that it is not a threat but our good fortune to have bears native to our state. It is ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS a human at fault when there are any negative bear-human interactions and it is long past time that everyone starts acting responsibly and less selfish. You do not have to be a ‘tree-hugger’ to know that humans have a need to act responsibly when they live in the vicinity of animals like bears. Why should these four bears pay the price for ONE human’s irresponsible behavior? The female mother bear was killed as per FWC policy. Maybe their policy should be re-examined as this bear did nothing wrong and was killed because of an irresponsible human. Now her three cubs are going to be relocated to another part of the forest without regard to knowing what territorial disputes it may cause. They lost their mother before they are truly ready to live on their own (after all, if they didn’t need their mother anymore, they would not have still been with her!!) AND they will lose the only home that is familiar to them. This is just so wrong. The human involved should be severely punished, not these bears. Just because an animal is powerful does not justify killing her.

~Megan

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Legislative Delegation

Last night I spoke at the Orange County Legislative Delegation. I asked the 3 state senators and 9 state representatives present to:
1- support Senator Negron’s plan to buy 60,000 acres south of Lake Okeechobee. This is not an encompassing solution for Everglades restoration but it would be an important step toward part of a mosaic-like solution that is needed. 

2- help with the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge problem between the South Florida Water Management District and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. I gave them each a packet of information that I worked on for 2 days. I plan to follow up with several of them at in-person appointments at their offices about this issue that not many people seem to know about.

3- support a statewide ban on fracking in Florida. We don’t need to detonate a nuclear bomb over Florida to know that it would be bad for our environment, and fracking is no different. A fracking ban will help protect our land, water, air, wildlife, and people.

Last night I got to meet Represenstive Carlos Guillermo Smith. What a nice man! I noticed throughout the whole long, and kind of boring meeting, that Mr. Smith listened attentively to everyone who spoke.

  
Hope you have a nice day!

~ Megan

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Snow birds

Every winter I really look forward to seeing the many white Pelicans who winter in Florida from the north. They are Florida’s original snow birds!!

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Wonderful Florida

So often the lyrics from the song “What A Wonderful World” swirl over and over through my head as I witness Florida’s natural places. Here are a few pictures from a magnificent day yesterday that included seeing an American Bittern, Northern Harrier, many wading birds, 2 Red Tailed Hawks, multiple Red Shouldered Hawks, Ospreys and Anhingas galore, TWENTY bald eagles, well over 50 Sandhill cranes, 3 Great Horned Owls, and more. 












“And I think to myself, what a wonderful world!!”

~Megan

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Swamp Buggy Ride

Yesterday I went on a glorious 4 hour swamp buggy through prime Florida panther habitat. To put it mildly, it was unspeakably beautiful.

We saw tracks from many species of animals and birds, including bears, coyotes, and at least one adult panther and her kittens. It was exhilarating to see very recent panther tracks and to stand where a panther actually stood just hours earlier.


The splendor of REAL Florida: pinelands, hardwood hammocks, cypress swamps, and more is astounding. I feel its beauty deep in my heart and soul.

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 ~Megan

 

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