This is the first issue of Keeping Track since the Board of Directors decided to publish the newsletter on a quarterly basis. After decades of having the newsletter every month, it will now be offered to Friends of Boyd Hill members around the turning of each season on the equinoxes or solstices. We got off to a rocky start and did not publish an issue over the summer, but that is all behind us now.
Have you ever wondered how you could help the Friends of Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, but are too busy with a family and/or job to be able to make a major commitment? There are plenty of things you can do without having to put in a lot of time. The FOBH Board of Directors are looking for members willing to serve on a committee, staff our booth at outreach events, or volunteer at one of our special events. For example, we are going to need help with the photo contest later on this year and with Raptor Fest scheduled for February 2016. Also, we are always looking for innovative fundraising strategies, so if you have expertise in that field we would surely welcome your ideas. Feel free to contact me or any of the board members if you think you can give us a hand.
I also want to thank City Council Member Steve Kornell, Mayor Rick Kriseman and the St. Petersburg Country Club for working out a deal to protect both the financial interests of the country club and the environmental integrity of the land adjacent to the Preserve.
Finally, as if you have not heard me mention this before, the cooler weather, spectacular flowers and the start of Bald Eagle nesting season makes fall a terrific time to visit Boyd Hill. See you there!
Please donate your used towels and buckets with handles (5 gallon or smaller, i.e. kitty litter) to Boyd Hill Nature Preserve. Park staff and volunteers accept these items year-round at the Environmental Education Center and use them to manage air potato and other invasive plants.
Want to canoe Lake Maggiore? We now have canoes for rent! For $10/hour for a minimum of 2 hours you can see Boyd Hill Nature Preserve from a new perspective. Individuals and families can go at their own pace and enjoy the view. Availability of the canoes can be seen on our website at www.stpeteparksrec.org if you click on the “Parks & Rec connect” tab. Paddles and personal floatation devices are included.
Preserve Supervisor’s Message
by Barbara Stalbird
Boyd Hill Nature Preserve is thriving. I have frequently visited many parks and preserves in Pinellas County and in the state and I would be hard pressed to name a place as dynamic, visited, and appreciated as Boyd Hill. The most common comment I hear when the preserve is mentioned is “I love Boyd Hill." That is truly a testimony to the incredible staff and volunteers that tirelessly dedicate themselves to making the Preserve so special.
Our Mayor and his Administration share the community’s appreciation of Boyd Hill. On Wednesday, August 26, Mayor Kriseman, Deputy Mayor Tomalin, and City Council Member Steve Kornell stood with community leaders to announce an agreement between the City of St. Petersburg and the St. Petersburg Country Club to purchase 35 acres adjacent to Boyd Hill. They are referred to on our map as Buffers A, B and C. City Council will consider final approval of the purchase.
This agreement is a win for everyone. The Preserve will have a buffer of protection, as will the Lakewood Estates neighborhood and the golfers who also love being next to the Preserve.
See a short video of the announcement at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txOSbBjbiAo
Beautiful weather is right around the corner. We have several new programs and opportunities to get outside and connect with nature. We hope to see you soon!
Signs of the changing seasons are all around the preserve!
Nuttall’s Rayless-goldenrod (Bigelowia nuttallii) is located in two counties in Florida which are widely separated. In Washington County in north Florida there is one population, located within The Nature Conservancy (TNC)-owned and managed Rock Hill Nature Preserve. The other county in which this species is known is Pinellas County at Boyd Hill Nature Preserve. In 2010, Bok Tower Gardens (BTG) initiated a conservation effort to secure the state endangered population.
Conservation efforts by BTG have involved site visits to assess current population status, seed collection and germplasm preservation, germination and propagation trials, and initiation of hybridization trials between Bigelowia species. This past May, BTG and the Florida Native Plant Society introduced approximately 400 Nuttall’s Rayless-goldenrod to the Preserve. To date the survival rate for the new plants is excellent. BTG will survey and monitor the plants annually, but fall is the perfect time to visit the Preserve and check out all of the new flowers in bloom.
Autumn Campfire, Night Hike and S'mores
An event for Friends members only! Explore the preserve after hours.
Bird of Prey Program presents Nyx!
by Jason Cowen
Nyx is a female Great Horned Owl and the most recent addition to the Bird of Prey Program at Boyd Hill Nature Preserve. Her namesake, the Greek Goddess of night, is often depicted as a dark winged figure. As a young bird (approximately four months old), she suffered a wound to her left wing which became infected. Although the wound has since healed, she has permanent damage which inhibits her ability to fly and survive in the wild. She was nursed back to health at the Animal Hospital of Northwood in Safety Harbor until late May when volunteers introduced her to the Preserve.
It was clear within hours that she was a great fit for the Bird of Prey Program. Nyx was handled without any problems when she initially arrived at Boyd Hill, but was kept off of public display for several weeks in order to further her training before placing her in a habitat with the other Great Horned Owl. She has been used in a few educational programs for the park and has behaved very well. She is a very curious bird, full of spunk and personality, who loves to look at her surroundings and even seems to get bored if nothing interesting is going on around her. She seems to be enjoying her new life and, although she cannot fly, she does love to jump around the perches in her habitat. She still has a few downy feathers left on her head and her feather tufts, referred to as horns, have gotten bigger. She has been a hit with volunteers and visitors and will be a valued and loved avian ambassador at the Preserve for years to come. The next time you visit the Preserve make sure to swing by the aviary and welcome Nyx to the Boyd Hill family!
The Bird of Prey Program would like to thank Don and Susan Woodman at the Animal Hospital of Northwood for their dedication to rehabilitating and finding homes for wildlife, like Nyx, that cannot be released back into the wild.
by Nora Gaunt
In order to help spread the love for some of Florida’s most misunderstood critters, Boyd Hill will be hosting a series of monthly activity days focusing on a different animal that seems to get a particularly bad rap in popular culture. Grossed out by vultures? Afraid of snakes? Come to Boyd Hill to learn all of the amazing ways these animals contribute to the well-being of the environment, including to us humans. These programs will run from 10:00AM to 1:00PM one Saturday per month and will use activities and live animal presentations to set the record straight about many of our common misconceptions and fears of these animals. The series kicked off on International Vulture Awareness Day (September 5) by celebrating vultures. Future animals to be featured include bats, coyotes, rats, insects, spiders, snakes, sharks, and opossums and armadillos. Contact the Preserve at 727-893-7326 for specific information and dates.
by Andrea Leavitt Andersen
* Excluding October 2015 and March 2016.
by George Heinrich
This hands-on course will introduce the study of freshwater turtles and tortoises and is designed for college students, naturalists, educators, environmental professionals, and other interested individuals The course will be taught by turtle biologist and environmental educator George L. Heinrich (Heinrich Ecological Services) and will be based on his fieldwork and resulting publications. The goal is to introduce students to how wildlife research is conducted and to engage them about important global conservation issues. Students will learn about the world’s most endangered group of wildlife during seven, themed monthly sessions (November 2015-May 2016, 9:00AM-2:00PM). Classroom sessions will include PowerPoint presentations on why turtles are cool, anatomy, feeding ecology, nesting ecology, and global conservation issues, as well as engaging hands-on activities. Field sessions will include lessons on identification techniques and data collection. A field trip to Rainbow Run (Dunnellon) during the last session will provide an opportunity to canoe and snorkel in a spring-fed river supporting several turtle species. Students will receive a copy of the Turtles of Florida, a laminated, foldable guide co-authored by Mr. Heinrich. To request a detailed program description and registration material, please contact email@example.com or call (727) 865-6255.
WELCOME NEW LIFE MEMBERS
WELCOME NEW MEMBERS
Program of the Month