Weekend at Welaka
by Debra L. Klein, Education Chair
I attended the FNPS Natural History Workshop November 8, 9 and 10, 2002 organized by Maria Minno at Welaka State Forest located in southwestern Putnam County near the St. John’s River. Approximately fifty children and adults of all ages attended. Gourmet food was prepared by Renee, mostly vegetarian and delicious. I arrived Friday afternoon and set up my tent near the stables about three quarters of a mile from the entrance. New camp sites had been installed, including picnic tables, a fire pit, chopped fire wood and a grill. Other participants began to arrive... most chose to stay in the bunk houses. There were many fabulous workshops offered, including topics like wildlife, plants, aquatic invertebrates, fungi hunting, butterflies and herpetology, from which participants selected four to fill their schedules for the weekend. Although I was a novice with no scientific background, most of the participants were scientists, naturalists or teachers. Our common thread was a passion for native environment.
|External anatomy of a fungus|
|Feet - the sixth sense|
|C.demersum, photo by Alan Boatman|
|Gopher tortoise entering its burrow|
|Rhexia virginica, meadow beauty|
|Giant water bugs are also called "toe biters"|
|Dr. Dilcher has spent more than forty|
years studying the origin of flowers.
As we sat around a campfire, folk singer Dale Crider capped the day off a cappella, save for the rattlesnake sound of his Maracas. Under a crisp starry sky, we howled at the moon.
|My artistic rendering from the creative workshop|
That weekend was but one of the many reasons I decided to join F.N.P.S. over 10 years ago. I thank Maria Minno for her organizational and creative brilliance, and the hard work she put into coordinating such a memorable and special event. I hope that you all enjoyed reading about it and will consider planning or attending a similar workshop in the near future.
Edited and posted by Laurie Sheldon