Wow! Things have been so busy lately. Where do I even start? So much has happened since I posted last.

I guess the biggest thing and really the source of all the other business, is that my research team was picked to chaperone a series of undergraduate field groups. It was an incredible opportunity and we were able to go on some amazing outings!

Everything I’ve done since the last update

  • Attended several ecology symposiums based around Florida environmental research.
  • Learned about the threats to Florida’s aquifer and extensive spring network.
  • Got to go camping at Ichetucknee Springs State Park, which was incredible!
  • Our group went for a midnight paddle/kayaking Ichetucknee River
  • We helped volunteer in an informal garbage-removal project
  • Visited and went camping at Ginnie Springs
  • Had a blast visiting Silver Lake Campground
  • Snorkeled off of Fort Lauderdale
  • Had (what felt like) a near-miss with Hurricane Dorian

It has been such a busy couple of months! I feel like I dropped the ball with this blog project. I was really hoping that I would write here consistently and use this as an online daily writing exercise, but I just really don’t know when that will be possible. But, at the same time, when I think back to everything I’ve done in the past six weeks, it’s really no surprise.

My favorite things

I think that of all the things we did, my favorite events were a tie between camping at the springs, especially in the cute Ginnie Springs cabins, and kayaking in Ichetucknee Springs. Although, freediving in Blue Hole was probably a highlight of the trip too.

A Freediver in Florida's Blue Hole
Snorkeler in Florida’s Blue Hole Spring, Ichetucknee Springs State Park

Photo source: Flickr

The only downside: Alligators

The only downside to our time in nature– and I’m thinking specifically of Ichetucknee Springs here– is that some of our group was terrified of the idea of alligators in Ichetucknee Springs.

Florida Swamp with Green Algae

I made the mistake of telling them that they’re unlikely to see alligators, but they’ll almost certainly see snakes. It felt like wrangling little kids, honestly– by their reaction you would never guess that this is a group of undergraduate biology and ecology students! Honestly, it was sort of embarrassing… But, anyway, they finally got over their fears and we all ended up having a great time. The temperature of the spring water was perfect.

The other downside: I didn’t see any alligators

I didn’t tell any of the group because I didn’t want to cause a panic, but I was secretly hoping to see an alligator in Ichetucknee Springs! I know the danger involved but it is so exciting for me every time I get to see one up close. But, I always remember about the alligator attack in Blue Springs and use that knowledge to keep me from making a stupid choice.

Alligator in Florida Spring
Searching for alligators in florida springs