Bully, Theodore Roosevelt!!

Yesterday I attended the most awesome presentation ever by a man who has learned absolutely everything about Theodore Roosevelt. He looks like him, dresses like him, and talks loudly and animatedly like him, while pretending to be him, to teach so, so much about Theodore Roosevelt. I wanted him to keep speaking for hours and hours!!


What does this have to do with wild Florida? Theodore Roosevelt designated the first national wildlife refuge in Florida…Pelican Island NWR. This saved the last known nesting area of brown pelicans at the time; these birds faced near extinction but having this area saved helped bring their population recovery.

This wildlife refuge can be enjoyed by land or water. Along with several beautiful trails, the highlight on land is the Centennial Trail which celebrates the over 450 national wildlife refuges that now exist thanks to Theodore Roosevelt’s strong conservation ethic to start this system at Pelican Island in 1903.

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Walking along Centennial Trail

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Centennial Trail celebrates the 100th anniversary of the national wildlife refuge system. All of the refuges are named along the trail in chronological order.

There is a lookout towards Pelican Island at the end of Centennial Trail with two fixed binoculars to get a closer look at the island and the many birds there. I love going here! My family always takes a blanket and picnic lunch to eat at the lookout area. We have never seen another person while here but we always see hundreds of gorgeous birds!

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There is also the option to see the island on the water. Boats cannot get too close to the island. Thankfully the wildlife that use this island as their home take priority and humans must stay a certain distance away. One time my mom, dad, and I went on a sunset cruise near Pelican Island and it was spectacular!!

I am not exaggerating when I say that we literally saw hundreds and hundreds of birds flying in to roost on the island….Brown Pelicans, White Pelicans, Cormorants, Anhingas, Great Blue Herons, Snowy Egrets, Roseate Spoonbills, Tricolored Herons, Wood Storks, an Oystercatcher, and more!! We saw several Sandhill Cranes fly over and watched a Magnificent Frigatebird soaring high overhead. We even watched a pod of dolphins feeding in the water not too far from our boat.

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The love I feel for the beauty and wildlife of Florida is indescribable!! Thank you Theodore Roosevelt for helping to save this!!! No wonder this conservation president is my favorite!!!!

~Megan

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