In our retirement, we have turned to learn more about the natural world. We are both enrolled in the Florida Master Naturalist program (UofFl). As a team project we have created a blog site “A Paddler’s Guide to the Flowering Plants of Womack Creek” (http://womackcreek.wordpress.com), which we have now expanded to include other creatures, large and small, which inhabit that creek in Tate’s Hell. We kayak at least once a week, often more, and tent camp in state parks, national forests and parks, state forests, and , when these are not available, private campgrounds.
These two activities have convinced us that wilderness is as necessary to our species as is civilization. More children and young families should have places to actively explore the natural world and the wilderness to find his/her place in this Universe. Just as important, are more easily available wilderness settings (free from the artifacts and sounds of civilization) for seniors and those home bound by birth or by accident.
Without wilderness we deny our antecedents. It has only been a generation or two, in some areas such as Tate’s Hell, not even that, that we have not relied upon the forests and streams to provide us with our sustenance. Without wilderness we cannot appreciate the full chain of being — that little larva under the spatterdock leaf feeds the crappie which provides us and other animals with a good meal. Each has its place: spatterdock, the adult insect, crappie and water quality and temperature suitable for these to thrive. Each one of these, to produce a meal.
We hope we can leave the few wilderness areas we have to thrive and produce a variety of growing things to give hope, discovery, challenge, solace and connection to those who come after us.
Please join us to share your stories, information, photos about Tate’s Hell and Blackwater River State Forests and please join us to make sure that we leave these forests intact and thriving for all who follow to enjoy. Send us your contributions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marylyn and Ed Feaver and friends
Thanks to Doug Alderson for the heading photo of the Dwarf Cypress forest in Tate’s Hell taken from the Ralph Kendrick Boardwalk. Ralph Kendrick, a long time forester, was father of Cheryl Sanders, chairwoman of the Franklin County Board of Commissioners.