Check with Allison@CREWtrust.org to make sure your membership is current so you can take advantage of early registration for all CREW Trust programs.
Member’s only week is starting October first this year, so be sure to mark your calendars and check back often to CREWtrust.org for more information on all our programs.
Back by popular demand – the Fall and Spring Wildflower walks with Roger Hammer. Enjoy new birding programs and carnivorous plant Specialty Walks. A whole new line-up of Strolling Science Seminars, exciting new family friendly programs and overnight experiences.
Members will have the first week in October to sign up ahead of the general public. Stay on the lookout for our pop-up programs throughout the year, such as our seasonal Wet-Walks and Moonlight tours.
CREW Trust Season of Events will go on sale at 8 AM, October 1st, 2022. General admission will begin on October 9th at 8 AM.
“Nice day with 36 species of birds and 13 species of butterflies. Top birds were a flock of 9
foraging in the Pickerelweed to the east of the gravel path leading to the boardwalk. A photo with one adult and three of the juveniles in the family is attached. Also had two Pied-billed Grebes in one of the large open water areas between markers 6 & 3.
Lots of night herons were back — 15 Black crowned combinations of adult and juvenile. I didn’t see any gators the first three and a half
hours, but it was cooler then. Once the sun warmed things up, they came out. A photo of a seven-eight footer is attached; it was acting as “greeter” between the end of the boardwalk and Ida’s pond (no Ida, though).” – Dick Brewer
A: The six larger mammals plus the alligators that inhabit CREW lands may not always be seen, but evidence of their presence is common. Distinguishing the scat (excrement, droppings) of those animals is relatively easy based on shape and size.
Three of the mammals consume plant material and leave scat that usually contains seeds or berries: raccoons, black bears, and white-tailed deer.
The three other mammals are carnivores, so their scat will contain fur, bones, and/or bits of shell, but no seeds.
Alligators are primarily carnivores, too, but their digestive systems are so strong that there is rarely any recognizable material in their scat.
Below are identifying characteristics for each of the seven animals, first by shape and then by size.
Scat can either be a small pile or small and tubular. If tubular, both ends are rounded; usually full of seeds; color will vary depending on what was recently eaten. For example, purple-tinted scat can come from a diet of elderberries, beautyberries, or cabbage palm fruit.
large– Black Bear
Scat is a humongous pile, usually full of seeds which the bears don’t digest. Color can vary depending on what the bear has recently eaten. Oval, almond-size seeds are from saw palmetto.
Frequently segmented; can be up to 3 inches in length and around 3/4 inch in diameter; one end rounded while the other usually tapers to a point; contains visible fur and possibly bones
Frequently segmented; can be up to 5 inches in length and over 1 inch in diameter; one end rounded while the other end tapers to a point; contains bits of fur and bone. Panthers, like many cats, often scratch dirt or leaves over their scat. The bare patch where they scratched is called a “scrape.”
Can be up to 5 or 6 inches in length and over 2 inches in diameter; rounded at both ends; light gray when fresh and drying to almost white. Scat really stinks, even after drying up.
3. MUSHY BLOB
Found near water; scat may have no recognizable shape but contains fish bones and scales and pieces of shell; oily, tar-like appearance. Otters mark their territories by leaving scented scat on the highest ground they can find, which is usually a trail. Fresh scat really stinks.
Small, round, individual scat shows deer has been browsing on things such as leaves twigs, and acorns. Lumpy scat is more indicative of a meal of easier to digest grasses, clover, and other forbs.
CREW kicks off this season with three great Saturday events:
Fungi/Mushroom Hunt with Ben “Mykes logos” Dion- September 26th
This walk will feature an in-depth introduction into the world of fungi, a discussion about fungi and their roles at CREW, and hands-on mushroom hunting and field identification. It takes place at the CREW Marsh Trails off Corkscrew Road. Benjamin Dion is the founder of the Southwest Florida Mycological Society. Known as “Mykes logos” in the mushroom world, Dion is a local expert on the identification, use, and ecological role of various fungi in the Southwest Florida area.
Fall Wildflower Walk with Brenda Thomas- October 3rd
Join FGCU instructor and wildflower expert Brenda Thomas for this fabulous walk to identify fall-blooming flowers and grasses along the CREW Marsh Trails. The fall flowers are always spectacular after the wet growing season of summer. This is your chance to learn from someone whose passion for plants is unsurpassed!
Florida’s Fabulous Spiders: A CREW Strolling Science Seminar- October 10th
This is CREW’s first Strolling Science Seminar- We are starting off the season with one of the top Spider Specialist, Dr. G.B. Edwards.
Do you know how many types of spiders are in the Florida and in world? Do you know what the role of spiders are in nature? Can you identify the few types of spiders that are medically important? Do you know how to safely catch and release spiders in the home? If the answer to any of these questions is NO, then this program is for you.
We will go on a hike, looking for different kinds of spiders in their natural habitat. In the fall, we should find many large orbweavers, but many other types of spiders as well. Participants are encouraged to take photos, and in some cases, feed the spiders to observe their prey-capture behavior. We will discuss do’s and don’ts of handling spiders! Get all your questions about spiders answered!
“Below are my observations from today at Bird Rookery Swamp (BRS). Not a bad day for birding, especially with more Barn Swallows over the meadow opposite the start of the boardwalk and a small “flock” of Eastern Kingbirds between markers 6 & 3. Attached is a photo of a Black-and-white Warbler that was prying little insects from bark crevices in a cypress near Ida’s Pond; it has one in its bill. Ida wasn’t visible while either going out or coming back. Several pairs of hikers armed with cameras were on the trails plus two bicyclers; the bikers turned back a little past marker 3 toward marker 6 when the mud got slippery and the water was flowing over the trail. Other than that, a nice day!
Anhinga – 1
Great Blue Heron – 2
Great Egret – 4
Snowy Egret – 9
Little Blue Heron – 11
Tri-colored Heron – 10
Green Heron – 8
White Ibis – 6
Black Vulture – 71
Turkey Vulture – 12
Red-shouldered Hawk – 7
Mourning Dove – 2
Common Ground Dove – 1
Belted Kingfisher – 3
Red-bellied Woodpecker – 13
Pileated Woodpecker – 5
Great-crested Flycatcher – 2
Eastern Kingbird – 7
Barn Swallow – 46
Blue Jay – 5
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher – 3
Tufted Titmouse – 10
Carolina Wren – 12
Northern Mockingbird – 1
White-eyed Vireo – 13
Prothonotary Warbler – 1
Northern Parula – 1
Black-and-white Warbler – 1
Ovenbird – 1
Louisiana Waterthrush – 1
Northern Cardinal – 12
Common Grackle – 7
To register, select the event above. To become eligible to take advantage of the member discount for the Strolling Science Seminar Series go to https://crewtrus.mystagingwebsite.com/donate and clickon the DONATE button or call 239-657-2253.
Q: How can you tell if an alligator is male or female?
A: There are three ways. Two are easy; the third is not.
The first easy way is to gauge the length of an adult alligator. If it measures 10 feet or more, it’s a male. Females don’t grow that long. If it’s less than 9 feet in length, it could be either a male or a female.
The second easy way is to see if there are lots of small, newly born alligators around the adult. They will stay by their mother for up to a year and she will protect them. A male gator could eat them, even if he’s the father, so the mother usually won’t let him anywhere near the babies.
There are minor physical differences in head and body shape, but basing a decision on those alone is risky at best.
So much for the easy.
To be absolutely certain of an alligator’s gender, it’s necessary to either feel or visually identify the copulatory organs that are hidden inside the alligator’s body in the cloaca, or vent, on the animal’s belly. It is a slit located between the rear legs.
For newly hatched gators, the sex organs can only be seen with a magnifying glass. The baby gator is turned on its back, the vent is opened using a tweezers, and the organs are illuminated by a magnifying glass. If they fill the entire cloaca and are dark pink to
dark red, it’s a male. Female organs are half that size and are light pink or white.
For a larger alligator, the gator must be flipped over and a person must insert a clean finger into the vent and feel for the copulatory organ which is pulled out, measured and examined. This procedure does not harm the alligator if performed correctly; however, large alligators don’t allow themselves to endure such a demeaning intrusion.
So unless an alligator is over 10 feet long or it is protecting baby gators, there’s no way to be sure if an alligator is male or female.
SOUTHERN CREW RESTORATION PROJECT CLEARS ANOTHER HURDLE
~Project phase will restore wetlands, provide flood protection and increase water storage~
LEE COUNTY, Fla. – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has authorized the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) to continue the next phase of the Southern Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed (CREW) Restoration Project. When completed, the project will provide significant benefits to the ecosystem including restoring wetlands and the natural sheetflow of water, improving regional flood protection drainage, increasing water storage and aquifer recharge capability, and reducing the amount of nutrient-rich stormwater reaching the Imperial River and Estero Bay.
“This project exemplifies the commitment of the state of Florida to protecting and restoring the larger south Florida ecosystem,” said DEP Deputy Secretary for Ecosystem Restoration Drew Bartlett. “The department will continue to work closely with our partners to ensure that restoration continues.”
The authorization issued today is for Phase II of the Southern CREW Restoration Project which encompasses 4,150 acres of multiple native plant communities, including hydric pine flatwoods, strand swamps, wet prairies and marshes that have been fragmented by past construction of ditches and roads. These alterations have resulted in restriction of historic sheetflow, artificial water impoundments and flooding, increased pollutant loading to the Imperial River, an Outstanding Florida Water, and disruption of natural wetland functions.
“The project will restore the southwest corner of the larger CREW project,” said SFWMD Governing Boardmember Rick Barber. “The restoration in this particular location creates a vital buffer area between the CREW project and the eastern urban boundary.”
Phase II of the project consists of ditch backfilling, ditch plugging, road degradation and the construction of low water crossings to allow for the re-establishment of hydrologic conditions similar to those present prior to development attempts of the area in the 1960s. The project is expected to restore approximately 437 acres of wetlands. The project’s enhancements are anticipated to encourage the growth and sustainability of native wetland plant species, providing both food and habitat for wildlife.
The Southern CREW Restoration Project is located in Lee County between the Kehl Canal, which is located adjacent to the northern boundary, east of Interstate 75 and north of Bonita Beach Road.
A: Slash Pine in South Florida lacks data, probably because there is not a local lumber industry.
However, Roy DeLotelle, a researcher for Red-cockaded Woodpecker habitat in Collier County, has collected data on the age of pine trees important for the woodpeckers. It comes from coring pines in the woodpecker’s habitat in Picayune Strand in Collier County.
Slash Pines grow a little larger in the drier pine/palmetto forests (mesic flatwoods) than in the wetter pine/grass forests (hydric flatwoods), and there is a good deal of difference between individual trees. Note the variations between the individual dots and the
“average” line in the graph, so a tree’s diameter in DeLotell’s graph below may not tell the precise age.
In the field, biologists use a different indicator of an “old” pine tree: a flat top shape to the pine canopy.
In DeLotells’ graph of his data, DBH is the Diameter at Breast Height. The R-squared values show how well the line fits the data points. R-squared ranges between 0 and 1 with the higher number showing the line is a good fit for the data.
Slash Pines can easily live past 200 years, and there are many that old in Collier County.