Bears are more active in the fall

Originally posted by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission sent this bulletin on 09/09/2019 12:47 PM EDT


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Suggested Tweet: In fall #Florida #bears are more active. @MyFWC reminds people to be BearWise   


Bears are more active in the fall

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is reminding people to help prevent conflicts with bears by securing garbage and other items that might attract these animals.

In the fall, Florida black bears begin preparing for the winter by consuming extra calories to pack on fat. During this time, they will eat anything that’s convenient and feeding on garbage provides more calories and less effort than foraging in the woods.

By securing your trash and other food attractants, you can help keep both people and bears safe.

To keep bears wild and away from your home, follow these simple tips:

  • Secure household garbage in a sturdy shed, garage or a wildlife-resistant container.
  • Put household garbage out on the morning of pickup rather than the night before.
  • Secure commercial garbage in bear-resistant dumpsters.
  • Protect gardens, bee yards, compost and livestock with electric fencing.
  • Encourage your homeowner’s association or local government to institute ordinances to require trash be secured from bears.
  • Feed pets indoors or bring the dishes in after feeding.
  • Clean grills and store them in a secure place.
  • Pick ripe fruit from trees and remove fallen fruit from the ground.
  • Remove wildlife and bird feeders or make them bear-resistant. See the new “Bears and Bird Feeders” video in the in the “Brochures and Videos” section at com/Bear.

It is illegal in Florida to intentionally feed bears or leave out food or garbage that will attract bears and cause human-bear conflicts. If you see or suspect someone is feeding or attracting bears, please call the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922).

You also can help people and bears stay safe by remembering to watch for bears while driving. This time of year, bears are traveling across more roads in search of food, which results in more vehicle-bear collisions. The FWC advises drivers to be aware of their surroundings as they drive in bear country, especially around dusk and dawn, and when there is forest on both sides of the road. The FWC works with Florida Department of Transportation to post bear crossing signs in areas that receive particularly high levels of vehicle-bear collisions and plan locations for wildlife underpasses to allow bears and other animals to cross safely under roadways. To learn more about how to keep people and bears safe on Florida roadways, see the “Vehicle Collisions with Bears” video at the “Brochures and Videos” section of

Go to to learn more about living in bear country

CREW Trust announces 2019-2020 Season Programs

We know you’re excited for this season of programs and we can’t wait to share all the incredible hikes, bikes and talks with you. Register for something different every month or make visiting the CREW trails a part of your regular schedule with the weekly guided walks. Pop-up hikes and programs may be added when trail and weather conditions are right! Stay up-to-date on our website,

Registration for our 2019-2020 programs will open on Tuesday, September 3rd to CREW Trust Members. Non-member registration will open one week later on Tuesday, September 10th. You must be a current CREW Trust member to register during our first week, so please make sure your membership is up to date or join today online at

Strolling Science Seminars

Our scholarly walks for ages 18 and older are always a hit and sell-out quickly! This year we have four programs scheduled and may add more as schedules allow.

December 6: Florida Panthers– with Ashlee O’Connor 

January 18: Strange Plants in a Strange Land– Join Anne Reed, writer, storyteller and CREW Trust volunteer naturalist for a scholarly walk and talk on the history of our beautiful, pesky and sometimes deadly invasive species. 

February 7: Herpetology- with Shane Johnson

March 6: Nature by Any Other Name– with Dr. billY Gunnels

Strolling Science Seminar 2019

Specialty Walks

October 12: Fall Wildflower Walk– Join Brenda Thomas for a stroll along the trails where you’ll see the bounty of Florida’s fall wildflowers! And, if you’re lucky, it might be pine lily time.

January 24: Birding with Brian Beckner of Native Bird Boxes. These sessions are for everyone from serious birders to beginners.

April 14: Spring Wildflower Walk- Springtime means a new rush of color on the trails! Participants will stroll through the CREW Marsh Trails with Roger Hammer, author of several wildflower books including The Complete Guide to Florida Wildflowers. 

April 18: GeoCache Day- Milla and Pete will be hosting a day of Geocaching at the Cypress Dome Trail for everyone to come and explore the outdoors!

photo by Bill Zaino at Flint Pen Strand

Free Guided Walks

Our free guided walks schedule has changed this year and walks will be offered on select dates. 

Guided Walks

1st Tuesdays (Jan-Apr) at CREW Marsh Trails

3rd Tuesdays (Jan-Apr) at Cypress Dome Trails

Wednesdays (Nov-Apr) at Bird Rookery Swamp

Thursdays (Nov-Apr) at Flint Pen Strand Trails

Bike Tours

3rd Saturdays (Jan-Apr) at Bird Rookery Swamp


CREW Stanley Hole Golf Tournament: October 25 at Old Corkscrew Golf Club.

2020 CREW Concert Under The Stars & Silent Eco Auction: February 29, from 5-9 p.m. featuring the High Voltage Band at Riverside Park in Bonita Springs. Sponsorship options and tickets available on our website,

Members Only Events

January 21: Beer & Cheese @ Momentum Brewhouse

March 9: Full Moon Hike

Registration for members opens on September 3; for non-members on September 10. All programs require registration; visit after registration opens. CREW Trust members will receive an email on September 3 when registration opens.

Hurricane Dorian

All CREW Trails closed for Hurricane Dorian until further notice.

CREW trails are temporarily closed due to emergency conditions from Hurricane Dorian. The Temporary closure of South Florida Water Management District managed lands is in effect until further notice.

SFWMD Order No. 2019-052-DAO

Effective: August 30, 2019, 5:00 p.m.

40E-& F.A.C. Public Use Rule

South Florida Water Management District


Good Morning,

Bottom Line:

Hurricane Dorian is forecast to be a major hurricane as it approaches the Florida Peninsula late this weekend into early next week


▪ Potential for an EXTREME Hurricane Wind & Water Event for parts of the Florida Peninsula
▪ This is a serious and life-threatening situation

▪ Small changes to the forecast can mean big differences in impacts at any given location

Any Questions: If you have any specific questions or want additional coordination please give us a call 305-229-4525


·  NWS Miami/South Florida Phone Number: (305) 229-4525

·  NWS Miami/South Florida Webpage:

·  South Florida Hazardous Weather Outlook:

·  NWS Miami/South Florida Tropical Webpage

·  National Hurricane Center Webpage:

·  Hourly Forecasts (Click Your Location):

·  NWS Miami/South Florida Local AHPS Page:

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact our office at the phone numbers listed in the Resources section above.

Larry Kelly

National Weather Service – Miami/South Florida

Twitter: @NWSMiami

Facebook: NWSMiami

FWC Panther Research

The CREW project is built on partnerships and The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) would like your help. Public information about the research is included with the re-posted request below. If you have any information please follow the instructions provided by the FWC. Thank you for your help! 

Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission

FWC asks public to help document disorder impacting panthers 

Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission sent this bulletin at 08/19/2019 02:24 PM EDT

Aug. 19, 2019

Suggested Tweet: Help @MyFWC investigate condition impacting #Florida #panthers by sending videos of impacted animals.

FWC asks public to help document disorder impacting panthers 

The FWC is investigating a disorder detected in some Florida panthers and bobcats. All the affected animals have exhibited some degree of walking abnormally or difficulty coordinating their back legs.

As of August 2019, the FWC has confirmed neurological damage in one panther and one bobcat. Additionally, trail camera footage has captured eight panthers (mostly kittens) and one adult bobcat displaying varying degrees of this condition. Videos of affected cats were collected from multiple locations in Collier, Lee and Sarasota counties, and at least one panther photographed in Charlotte County could also have been affected. The FWC has been reviewing videos and photographs from other areas occupied by panthers but to date the condition appears to be localized as it is only documented in three general areas.

“While the number of animals exhibiting these symptoms is relatively few, we are increasing monitoring efforts to determine the full scope of the issue.” said Gil McRae, director of FWC’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute. “Numerous diseases and possible causes have been ruled out; a definitive cause has not yet been determined. We’re working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and a wide array of experts from around the world to determine what is causing this condition.”

The FWC is testing for various potential toxins, including neurotoxic rodenticide (rat pesticide), as well as infectious diseases and nutritional deficiencies.

The public can help with this investigation by submitting trail camera footage or other videos that happen to capture animals that appear to have a problem with their rear legs. Files less than 10MB can be uploaded to our panther sighting webpage at If you have larger files, please contact the FWC at

Florida panthers are an endangered species native to Florida. To learn more about panthers, visit

Florida residents can support panther conservation efforts by purchasing a “Protect the Panther” license plate at Fees from license plate sales are the primary funding source for the FWC’s research and management of Florida panthers. People can also help panthers by donating to the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida. Visit

To report dead or injured panthers, call the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922) or #FWC or *FWC on a cell phone.

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re-post: The Impact of Social Media


Brian Beckner Native Bird Boxes

(Quickly, before you read, some of the functions work better on our website here:

You all have taken some incredible photos over the past year. When you share your personal moments on the trail, a larger audience of folks get a view of the watershed, wildlife, and recreational opportunities throughout the CREW project. Thank you for sharing your experiences with all of us!

We hope these magnificent moments caught on camera inspire folks to support, visit, and explore the CREW trails, like the photographers before them!

Number 5

1,043 People Reached

Andrew West, multimedia journalist at The News-Press (Fort Myers and Cape Coral), captures incredible wildlife photos through his tireless efforts in the field.

Number 4

1,801 People Reached

A look at the iconic Swallow-tailed Kite by Anne Reed.

Number 3

2,772 People Reached

A Black bear at Bird Rookery Swamp interrupts a workout for some high-school cross country runners. The encounter is a great example of what to do when you see a bear on the trail.” Your Guide to the Florida Black Bear

Number 2

2,896 People Reached

Reporting live from the CREW turkey mixer.

Number 1

4,541 People Reached

Thank you to Dick Brewer for this incredible photo capture. And, thank you to our Facebook Friends Conservation Collier, Collier County Parks & Recreation and Jenny’s Eco Everglades Wilderness Tours for helping us reach a larger audience.

Thanks for sharing

The photos you share tell a rich story, communicating the kind of impact we can all play in wildlife conservation. With a camera, visitors can safely view wildlife behavior in their natural habitats and learn to appreciate their existence. When wildlife is given the space needed to live out their natural lives, we all benefit.

These days social media plays a large role in the effort to help conserving wildlife. Reaching a large audience creates a link between the individuals that frequent the trails with those that view it from a distance. The bridge that is crossed has a lasting impact, providing us a sense of place in nature.

Botanical Scrapbook

Before naturalists could easily hold a professional-grade camera in the palm of their hands, they would often preserve flowers and leaves in botanical scrapbooks. This practice requires patience, planning and sweat equity and serves a variety of interests, both scientific and sentimental. 

Whatever their purpose, the practice is less common these days, as we opt for a digital photograph and leave the flowers for the next nature seeker to enjoy.

On the off chance that you do not have a bookshelf full of botanical scrapbooks to peruse, I hope you enjoy reflecting on this fascinating hobby by flipping through a recently uncovered scrapbook found at our office.

These pages evoke hours spent walking through the pine flatwoods and marshy trails, gathering specimens to press and add to the collection, presumably in the comfort of home. The pages tell the story of the naturalist, finding joy achieving another seemingly small, but wholly significant goal, that of ticking-off another flower from their bucket list. Viewers may now admire the carefully clipped and photographed plants documented in this native and invasive plant collection. 

Although, rules and regulations today prohibit the collection of any plants within CREW, we do wish to honor the past. In fact, some botanical researchers still utilize this method for scholarly pursuits and I know that on occasion my son will secretly pick a flower as a gift. However, I am quick to use this as a teaching moment, letting him know that those plants are there for a reason. The bears eat the berries and the bees drink the flower’s nectar. More often than not these days, he asks for my phone to snap a picture, which I can then keep forever. 

Academics and toddlers aside, please do not pick the flowers on the CREW trails, take a picture and leave the plants for the pollinators! Although, if you’re really keen to start a scrapbook collection of your own, try growing some of the native plants you see at CREW in your own backyard, then pick and press away! 

We hope that you have enjoyed these pages digitized in honor of the plant’s beauty and also the collector’s personal investment, from what I am calling, the Blue Botanical Scrapbook. Enjoy this walk down memory lane and if you ever want to take a look through these archives in person, let me know, I’d be happy to un-shelf them for you!

One more thing. In case you’re wondering, we haven’t been able to track down who made these scrapbooks, so if you have any clues to the mystery, let us know! 

Further research

Excellent article written on this subject from the Florida Museum Herbarium and link to the preserved plant collection at University of Florida and University of South Florida.

Learn About the Burn: Prescribed Fire at the Cypress Dome Trail

The CREW Cypress Dome Trails are getting a Crew cut, like a Buzz cut, with a little left on top. Barbershop metaphors aside, the prescribed burn team uses know-how in the field that inspires confidence, which is exactly what you want when it comes to fire in the forest. 

Fire lines are dropped on both sides so fire meets fire in the middle and extinguishes itself. So cool, but not literally.

South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) started this most recent round of shredding and prescribed burns at the Cypress Dome Trails, just as summer temperatures start to rise. Their aim is to mimic historic fire conditions and emphasize growing or lightning season burns (April – August). Though weather conditions and smoke sensitive areas make the timing difficult, the burn crew always use sound judgement and experience on the day of the burn. 

Geo-cashers may need to check on this one.

The majority of natural plant communities rely on frequent fires to maintain their vegetative characteristics and biodiversity. Pine cones and Rain Lilies sprout new life and ground dwelling animals, like the gopher tortoise return to these areas in abundance after a fire. Wildfires no longer occur with historical frequency or extent and this has altered natural wildlife and plant community structure and function. 

Prescribed fire are important for wildlife and plants because: 

  • reduces the amount of vegetation
  • opens up space for the native plants to grow and the wildlife to hunt their prey
  • adds nutrients to the soil
  • prevents wildfires
Decked with the right gear from boots to helmet, Tiffany and all the burn staff keep a clear line of communication open, even while posing for photos.

All Land Stewardship field staff, which we affectionately call the burn crew, have completed the state certified burn course to ensure fire safety and burning efficiency. If you would like to learn more about the CREW management plan you can read about it here:

Hiking at CREW: A comparison of Second graders and college-aged students.

Purely by chance a series of college hikes, and second grade field trips, overlapped in the same week, giving this observer a first-hand look at some of the timeless similarities and funny differences between these two age groups.

The bus dismount goes about the same for both groups. Some faces clearly display their inner thoughts, that they actually have no idea they were going for a hike in the middle of a 60,000 acre watershed. Quickly though they are reassured by the guide that they are in good hands and that staff know the way back to the bus. As the students all breath in the fresh air, they generally relax and enjoy the introduction.

As the hike meanders through the diverse yet intertwined ecosystems, personalities start to emerge. This is where it gets interesting.

College students ask questions and make observations that are quite cerebral in nature, where as the second grader is more hands-on and scientific in their approach:

  • Most second graders want to pick up and touch everything. They get muddy, and when they’re hot, jump in a puddle or pour water on their heads. 
  • Whereas most college students wouldn’t volunteer pick up an insect or touch soil samples, even if it was directly handed to them.

The talented teachers and experienced CREW Trust staff teach the perspective groups about a range of topics from observational details about wildlife and plant species to the benefits of prescribed burns, water quality in Florida aquifers, and what exactly is a Cypress Dome. 

  • The second grader often asks authentic, unprovoked, and funny rhetorical questions about the immediate world around them.
  • A college student tends to represent a broader knowledge and asks worldly and provocative questions, leading to some interesting discussions with classmates.
Stephanie Bravo holds a wild blueberry, while expertly warning the students to never eat what you find on the trail.

Guide says: Guess who likes eating these berries?

Students: BEARS!!

Concerned student asks: What do I do if I see a bear?

Guide responds: Well, first of all you probably won’t. But if you do know you’re lucky. Then look big and walk away slowly. You can wait until it leaves and continue your hike. Oh, and hike with a parent or friend.

Florida summer is particularly hot and buggy, but staff points out it’s also the time of year we see water-loving flowers in abundance and say goodbye the youngest Swallow-tailed Kites migrating to South America. The point of all this is to see these things first hand, to push personal boundaries and make a connection with the wild spaces around us. 

  • Second graders will apply their experience in the classroom and start to connect the bigger picture of watersheds and wildlife habitats to conservation projects.
  • College students may give back, volunteer, or spread the word to friends.

Getting back on the bus, regardless of the age group, students walk away with an awareness of the land and the role they can choose to play through conservation.

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