The South Florida Water Management District, CREW’s land managers and primary land owners, will close the CREW Bird Rookery Swamp trail after the boardwalk until further notice for construction.
Please respect the posted signs at the end of the boardwalk so construction efforts can be efficient and completed on time. We will notify you again when the trail work is complete and the entire trail is open.
For now, you may enjoy the 1/4-mile crushed shell path leading to our 1500-ft. boardwalk with wheelchair accessibility remaining open for visitors!
Or you may prefer to visit one of our other three excellent trails. Check out more detail on our website here: CREWtrust.org/visit-crew
At first glance, shredding – or mechanically grinding a wider path – may seem like a drastic step in the wrong direction. Walking the uneven ground the land management machines leave in their wake, it’s easy to focus on the current destruction instead of the intended long-term benefits. So, give it some time, and much like the rest of the changes we’ve observed at CREW Flint Pen Strand Trails (FPS), this too will lead to a more environmentally resilient ecosystem.
Since its opening in 2018, we’ve seen remarkable changes at CREW Flint Pen Strand Trails as this newest network of trails has grown and evolved. We know that connecting four (including the CREW Bird Rookery Swamp) parking lots may seem like a bit much, and maybe it is, but what those connections create in terms of accessibility is truly great. A substantial part of land management is to ensure accessibility. This involves widening the trails to allow others to wage the never ending battle of keeping them trimmed and mowed. This in turn helps create firebreaks to contain inevitable outbreaks of fire and ensures that first responders can reach those in need.
One of the coolest things about the FPS trail system is the constant change that can be observed when we slow down long enough to pay attention to how the trails are always evolving. Return in ten years and you will likely find this trail system to have undergone the most changes of any within CREW. From the changes that wildfire brings, to the hydrologic restoration project, and the connection of the Purple Trail to CREW Bird Rookery Swamp, nothing ever stays the same at FPS!
FWC – Designated Trail maintenance at FPS
There are trails here for all levels of hikers and for every conceivable user group. Not unlike the waves of wading birds and alligators that populate FPS in all their wild ways; bikers, equestrians, long-distance hikers, wildflower seekers, photographers, birders, geo-cachers and hunters all flock to FPS.
We’ve intentionally kept the hunting area separate from the trails for all user groups to enjoy their chosen pursuit of nature to its fullest. Far ahead of the hunt season, CREW FWC biologists hang “Designated Hiking” signs with a different color/shape to designate the hunting trails from the CREW hiking trails; they update hunt brochure policy and survey the huntable area by swamp buggy to ready the lands for this active user group. That includes a whole lot of trail trimming work as these areas of CREW rarely see a vehicle.
SFWMD – Culvert installation at BRS
Future endeavors are on the horizon at CREW Bird Rookery Swamp Trail, which has experienced natural degradation over the course of its public access history. The trail itself is historically significant, as a former logging road used to haul out old-growth cypress. The second-growth trees we now enjoy surround the old logging tram, with some of its original construction.
It’s no wonder that some of the infrastructure has begun to crumble under the weight of bikers, hikers, bears, panthers and most significantly, land management trucks and heavy equipment. If you’ve hiked far enough, you’ve likely noticed the lack of trail upkeep on the far western banks of the trail. That’s simply because mowing contractors have not been able to traverse the broken down culverts desperately in need of replacement. That will all change in the coming months!
The diligent South Florida Water Management District personnel assigned to look after CREW, have purchased several huge new culverts to install before the rainy season kicks into high gear. You can expect to see a temporary closure of the tram section of the trail in the next few weeks so that SFWMD personnel and contractors can complete the project as quickly as possible. The portion of the trail to remain open will include the parking area and boardwalk.
Keep an eye out for all these improvements by visiting CREW trail systems regularly. The CREW Land & Water Trust works to keep you informed about water and wildlife through guided walks, strolling science seminars, information kiosks and this series of blog posts. The hard work is handled by our partners, SFWMD and FWC, who keep our trails navigable and safe for humans and wildlife, and most importantly they protect and maintain our watershed. We owe them our thanks.
By Allison Vincent – May 6, 2022 – CREW Land & Water Trust
The walk leading up to the pine flatwoods at CREW Flint Pen Strand on the Billy G. Cobb Memorial Trail – commonly known as the Red Trail – at first glance appears unchanged after the March wildfire. That is, until you reach the fire breaks laid down by the Florida Forest Service (Forestry).
Winding through the first half mile of this popular trail, with its verdant evergreen canopy, makes you almost forget a wildfire occurred or that even more changes are imminent as the seasons change. In just a few short months these trails undergo a dramatic transformation as the CREW watershed goes from dry to wet with the onset of the rainy season. That’s why many scientists say our region has two seasons – wet and dry – plus a fire season mixed into the later end of the dry season.
Fire ecologists, like those with Forestry – or in-house at CREW with the South Florida Water Management District (the District) – anticipate the fire season considering many factors including seasonal water levels, wind measurements and relative humidity conditions.
Ecosystems across the state reap diverse benefits from the touch of fire, which is why land managers utilize prescribed fire, previously known as “controlled fire”, year round. These burn prescriptions strategically revitalize fire dependent ecosystems and help to lower the intensity of future wildfires by focusing on heavy “fuel loads”, or areas with a layered understory of plant vegetation.
As visitors, what we see after the impactful touch of fire is a stark change with ample opportunity for observation. Before the rain really gets started, take the gentle powder-sand path of the Red Trail, freckled with yellow tickseed flowers, and observe this easy-going path break up like a scar at each intersecting fire-break line.
As the fire-affected areas regrow and we work to restore the natural ecological flow, much of the burned area will remain wide open to better observe wildlife like low-flying birds, teal-striped lizards and foraging white-tailed deer.
The blazing wings of a male red cardinal stands out even more starkly as he seeks out the cooked seeds and roasted tidbits among the contrast of the blackened pine woods on one side of the fire break with the thick undergrowth of vegetation on the other.
Strange sounds, like the crackling reverberations from the pine trees, may surprise visitors not used to walking among the charred aftermath of a burn. In fact the wind blowing through the dry trees can evoke the experience of underwater fish gnawing on their favorite coral treat. However, here the sound comes from the pine tree trunks and limbs stretching from under their alligator-textured bark, growing back and expanding underneath the tightness of the char.
The openness of the understory makes it easy to spot other wildlife, such as the outlines of white-tailed deer in the distance and white zephyr lilies peaking starkly upward against a black earth. As if waiting for the water that winds down the fire season and fills the CREW trails, these rain and fire loving lilies are delicious to sniff, but take nothing but photos as you tour this eclectic sensory experience.
Under the spiky neon-green of the saw palmettos – the first plants to return as one of the only ground cover hold-outs – the equally bright colors of the six-lined racerunner streaks meticulously across the open understory. Their blue cheeks and yellow racing lines are a rare sight on these usually vegetative trails.
Ultimately, it’s not a question of if a fire will affect this region, but when, which is why we encourage you to learn about the strategies used to enhance the resilience of the land, water and surrounding inhabited areas. With its rare sights and sounds, fire reveals so much life that would normally be hidden and allows us, along with the wildlife, the ability to truly explore this newly exposed landscape.
If you’ve hung around any tall pine trees lately, there’s a chance – even if you didn’t notice – that you’ve been within view of one of southwest Florida’s most social flying raptors, the swallow-tailed kite (STKI). Returning from South America in mid-February every year like a romantic poem written especially for a birder just in time for Valentine’s Day, they almost immediately start circling the tall tree tops in search of their favorite nesting spot. We have a lot of unanswered questions regarding these world travelers, but there is plenty that we do know! This article will be a refresher course covering some of the top questions we hear from you about our black and white aerial artists at the CREW Trails.
STKIs Journey to Nest
When we begin to spot STKIs in Florida in mid-February, they must be tired from their long journey because they’ve just flown in from South America, a journey of up to 6,000 miles. Some of them make it as far as seven of the southernmost states in the U.S. but Florida is their preferred destination and we see them in the greatest numbers here. We’re fortunate at CREW because they have a few favorite nesting areas within the CREW Project and between February and August we have the privilege of seeing them circle and soar over the treetops.
On arrival they begin looking for suitable nesting sites. There are two essentials for nesting, which they do in loose communities. They need tall trees (preferably pines, occasionally cypress and other tall trees) in open woodland where they can hunt abundant prey by sight, and they prefer to be near a source of water – a swamp, river, marsh or a slough – because they also capture and consume creatures living next to or in the water. Most STKIs return to the same nesting sites every year, often fixing up an old nest. In the early part of their stay in Florida, you’ll see them circling high overhead inspecting the territory.
Relationships of Swallow-tailed Kites
STKIs are believed to be monogamous. They may continue a relationship from the previous year, or they may find a mate during migration. Once the colony has chosen a good nesting site, they establish small territories around and above the nests and they guard their territories (or neighborhoods) by flying in small circles above the nest tree. Intruders are repelled with dive bombs and scolding cries sometimes described as loud, squeaky whistles.
Both males and females bring nest materials to the site. They can build the nest quickly, in only one day, or more slowly, up to two weeks. They begin by making a platform of small, loosely woven sticks and then line it with soft materials such as lichen or Spanish moss, creating either a flat surface or a shallow cup. Most STKI nests are situated at least 60 feet above the ground.
Each pair of STKIs produces a clutch of one to three eggs which incubate for 27 to 33 days. After the eggs hatch, the parents feed them frequently. The male STKI catches and carries prey in his talons to the nest, where he passes it to the female. She then tears it up and feeds it to the young.
Photos by CREW Trust Volunteer Dick Brewer illustrating STKI development stages (starts at top left).
Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner – Feeding on the Wing
To catch that prey, the male hunts during the day “on the wing”, while in flight, picking prey off trees, shrubs and vegetation along rivers or other water bodies. And what are they looking for? STKIs like large insects such as dragonflies, wasps, cicadas, beetles and grasshoppers which they eat while flying. During the breeding season, adults also hunt small vertebrates, including tree frogs, lizards, nesting birds, and snakes. Occasionally STKIs devour bats, fish or fruit.
We’re fortunate in southwest Florida to welcome these magnificent birds. You can identify them, at the right time of year (between February and August), first by noticing their long, forked tails and then by observing their graceful flight. They swoop and glide high overhead, catching insects in the air or descending to the treetops to find small creatures to eat. Unlike some other birds, they rarely flap their wings, and you should count yourself lucky if you see them on the ground. An individual STKI has a shrill “pee, pee, pee” call, but when they gather in flocks you’ll hear sweet, shrill cries or soft whistles. It’s a magical experience to find yourself looking up at a circling flock and hearing those whistles.
You may have noticed that the CREW logo features the swallow-tailed kite. We don’t like to choose favorites, but it’s hard to resist these charismatic birds which are recognized by many as the most beautiful bird of prey. Just ask Brenda Brooks, CREW Trust Executive Director until 3/31/22, when she will make her own version of a migration north.
Whether it’s an escape or an adventure you seek, you will find it in the woods of CREW. There are hiking and biking trails, wet walks through the swamps and diverse ecosystems for everyone’s taste. But have you ever wondered what it’s like after dark? Maybe it’s time to try camping!
One of the many charms of camping is that it extends the daytrip and allows you to enjoy a different CREW, one that wakes up right around sunset. As you’re setting up your tent, crepuscular creatures that enjoy those twilight hours explore CREW and often use the trails just like we do. As you roast s’mores over the fire listen for movement with heightened senses as nighttime sets in. Are you ready for your next adventure?
First you’ve got to book your free single-use primitive site – “primitive” as in the campsite includes simply a place to camp, a few fire rings and some luxurious picnic tables. Ready? Then pack the essentials and drive right up to your very own serene camp. There you’ll find space for up to 20 campers to spread out under the slash pine trees at Gate 5 Camp at the CREW Cypress Dome Trails or under the glorious oaks of Gate 3 Camp closer to the CREW Marsh Trails. During the peak of season, when the air humidity is lower and the Florida ‘winter’ temperatures are nice and cool, you and your group can enjoy the solitude of a campsite all to yourself at CREW. If you’re lucky, you may witness a few unique things you’d never see on a day hike.
Camping is like a ritual in that you prepare, you journey and you embrace nature. There are a few fundamentals that every camper does to enjoy the experience – prep your favorite food, choose the right shelter and bring more water than you think you need. Beyond that, your creativity is the limit. Learn to make a fire from a fire starter, try your hand at bush-crafting, or improve your night vision with a flashlight free hike. The night-sky is the limit!
The right shelter can also be a creative endeavor, with numerous schools of thought on the pros and cons to different options. For instance, there’s the hammock vs. tent debate, both shelter options having strong qualifying attributes that are suited to different conditions. Take the hammock and its lightweight design that keeps you off the ground – which is often wet here in Florida, even in January. Whereas, the tent-packers claim a point in terms of extra floor space to store some things under the rainfly. Camping at the CREW campsites, you can try out many camping styles and still stay nice and snug in the wet or dry season.
When you get to the campsite, one of the best or worst parts, depending on who you ask, is the set up. Friends have always joked that, “there’s no such thing as a lazy camper” – meaning that there’s always something to do at a camp. Therein lies the significance of planning ahead for your preferred comforts in mind – you don’t want to end up sympathizing with the “worst part” group. Instead, be sure to bring your favorite pillow, or that extra down puffy jacket if it will help you stay comfortable, with your mind set on the experience, not the drawbacks.
Another secret to planning is leaving enough time to hike or drive to your campsite before evening sets in, which is easy enough to do with CREW’s two drive-up camps. With daylight remaining, setting up a tent or hammock (or both) and camp kitchen is an enjoyable process and can make you feel at home in the woods. Leave enough time and by sunset all there’s left to do is cook your favorite campfire meal, enjoy the night sky and possibly, go to sleep early!
Sleeping under the stars can have a transformative effect, breaking you away from your normal ecosystem, activating your senses in a wholly different way. This is especially true at a primitive campsite like CREW’s, where civilization can only be observed as far away lights emanating from distant towns. By the light of the campfire, headlights and flashlights you navigate your nightly routine, altered and simplified.
With the long end-of-year holidays, kids need healthy and fun activities, things they can do with their families and friends. If they’re visiting Florida in December, this is the perfect time of the year to introduce them to the world of nature. The weather is fine for all kinds of outdoor activities. And the four different CREW trail systems offer a variety of sights, sounds and experiences.
But some kids have little experience with the great outdoors. Worms, spiders and other creepy-crawly things may intimidate them. They may resist getting wet or muddy. And they might find trees, trails and rocks uninteresting. Given a choice between playing outdoors or playing a video game, some kids would opt for the indoor game.
Some kids just need an introduction to nature. They need exposure to the physical world in order to learn to be comfortable in it. The adults in their lives can show them how to love nature and be safe in it. Nature promotes healthy growth by encouraging kids to be active. It’s also good for their imaginations, stimulating curiosity by introducing them to new and different experiences. Just being outside in our gorgeous Florida winter weather makes everyone, kids included, feel better.
So how can you persuade your kids to come outside with you? We have some suggestions.
Prepare before you load up to hit the trail. Before you take the kids on a CREW hiking trail, share your own enthusiasm about what they might see, hear and experience in the woods. Keep your research simple, and note anything that seems to capture their interests. If they express an interest in spiders, help them do a little research to figure out where and when they might see a spider in the woods. Early morning sun at any of our CREW trails illuminates spider webs and makes them look like jewels adorning the bushes. Choose one particular web and study its construction with your kid, explaining how the spider builds its webs to capture its prey. The Green Lynx spider is a bright shade of green and can be found on many trails.
Tell your kid what he or she is likely to see in the woods. Here in Florida’s forests there are Florida panthers, black bears, bobcats and other mammals, as well as too many birds and insects to name. Address any fears they may express. You can explain, for instance, that Florida’s panthers and bears are shy and can smell you from a long way away, so it’s easy for them to avoid us. If your child is fascinated by panthers, bears and bobcats, show them how to look for the tracks of these animals on a muddy or sandy trail. We have a dazzling array of butterflies in Florida. The beautiful white peacock tends to fly low to the ground so they’re easy to spot. You may also be lucky enough to spot the striking zebra longwing, the Florida state butterfly. Show your kids the photos here and help them look for these colorful treasures in the woods.
Devise a simple game or set a few easy goals for your time outdoors. If your kid is reluctant to touch things in the woods, you can create a simple scavenger hunt that they can complete through observation. Give them a checklist to allow them to check off each item as they spot it. Keep it simple; don’t name a specific bird. Just list “bird” as one of the things they can look for. Other things you can put on the list: worm, bird’s nest, flower, animal track, and big tree. Or you could announce that whoever spots the first bird or butterfly during your outing gets a special prize.
Parents, prepare for your kids to play in the mud. Bring clean clothes, extra shoes and water to wash their feet.
Model good behavior for your kids. Explain the “Leave No Trace” principles to them and make sure you take any trash home with you. It’s important that kids learn to respect nature, so explain to them why we don’t feed animals in the wild. This is especially important in Florida where every pond or lake is likely to house an alligator or two. Feeding them destroys their natural fear of humans and encourages them to approach people. Alligators are fascinating to watch but teach your kids to do so from a distance. In Florida’s public parks and nature preserves, it’s illegal to pick plants or to remove anything, so encourage your kids to take photos instead of collecting wildflowers. Take the things you need for safety (bug spray, hat, sunscreen, lots of water) and explain why you’re putting them in your backpack. Let the kids choose a snack.
Before you go, take a look at the CREW website (CREWtrust.org) and decide which of our four trail systems would provide a good introduction to nature for your kids. The rainy season has ended and most of our trails are now dry. If you want to experience the magic of walking through a cypress forest on a boardwalk, consider Bird Rookery Swamp. The red trail at Flint Pen Strand offers easy hiking through pine flatwoods and a prairie where you may spot some deer or even a red-headed woodpecker.
Your child may be excited to get outdoors if you allow him or her to bring a friend. Recognize that kids usually walk at a slower pace than adults and allow them to linger over things that interest them. Most of all, enjoy yourself. Show your own curiosity about things you see. Your enthusiasm for nature in all its varied forms will be contagious.
At the CREW Project, we’ve got four different trail systems for hiking, biking, running and just enjoying the outdoors.
Puma concolor coryi evokes in the minds of most Floridians a mysterious big cat that charms us, even if we’ve never seen this charismatic megafauna in person. Their familiar shape, profile and significance can easily be brought to the forefront of our minds and yet there’s little need to be frightened of meeting a panther face to face on the CREW trails.
Try as you might – hit the CREW trails every day of the week and you’re still not guaranteed a panther sighting. That’s because this federally endangered species makes it a habit to avoid us. No offense, but they (like bears) can smell you a mile away and will take the path of least resistance away from you.
If you’re like many Floridians (new or native) and spend the majority of your time on the coasts or in urban centers, your chances of bumping into Florida’s state animal is on par with winning the jackpot. There are ways to increase your odds, but you’re going to have to invest. That’s because these big cats are not synanthropes, another ten-dollar word defined as animals that benefit from an association with humans and the somewhat artificial habitats that people create around them.
Why you probably won’t see a panther in the wild
Florida panthers avoid human interaction, unlike coyotes and racoons that fit the definition of synanthrope to a T. You’re more likely to see a bobcat, with their short tails and spotted adult coat of fur, or a roaming Florida black bear than ever to see the elusive “Coo-wah-chobee” – the Seminole word for “Big Cat” – the Florida panther.
Panthers in general live a secretive life, far from anthropocentric (human-centered) urban settings – they prefer their wide-ranging “pumacentric” world of dense understory vegetation in hardwood hammocks and pinelands and prairie grasslands where they can stalk and ambush prey, like white-tailed deer and wild boar.
That’s why the majority of panther sightings are made by cattle ranchers and farmers and why they must take additional precautions to prevent a panther’s prey instinct from negatively affecting their livestock.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) outlines many best practices that can be initiated to prevent unwanted interaction between wildlife and livestock. Other organizations like the Path of the Panther work directly with cattle ranchers, private landowners and government agencies to incentivize wildlife corridors.
Protecting what we can’t see
Many other species besides panthers benefit from preserving connected lands and utilize them to thrive. For instance, the Florida black bear, an omnivore that semi-hibernates, must forage over large forested areas to increase his or her bulk during the months leading up to our Florida winter, or dry season. Without these corridors allowing for their natural range of behavior, populations would suffer even greater losses.
Not to mention, Florida panthers are still rebounding under the protection of the Endangered Species Act. They were heavily hunted after 1832 when a bounty on panthers was created and the species was nearly extinct by the mid-1950s.
The current panther recovery plan works toward the goal of establishing 3 viable populations, maintained for a minimum of 12-years (2 panther generations), of at least 240 individuals each (excluding dependent-aged kittens). Many partnering agencies are working to ensure sufficient habitat to support these populations. For purposes of the Florida panther recovery plan, a viable population has been defined as one in which there is a 95% probability of persistence for 100 years.
This is where we come back to the beginning of the story. The survival of the Florida panther depends on the protection of a network of statewide public and private lands, like those at CREW. Partnerships with sportsmen/women, private landowners, wildlife biologists, land managers and you all play an important role in protecting land with future wildlife conservation in mind. Every effort to preserve land and water is one step closer to achieving a sustainable future for our beloved species.
How you can help
Drive slowly in panther country
Panther activity is greatest between dusk and dawn, so when driving in panther country, be mindful and alert. Slow down and increase your distance between other cars. This allows you time to react.
Report panther sightings and interactions
If you see a Florida panther and can collect evidence such as pictures of the animal or its tracks, please share the information with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). Reporting your observations can help biologists address panther conservation needs by identifying the areas used by these large cats.
To report wildlife/human interaction contact the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) wildlife hotline: 1-888-404-FWCC (3922).
Aid injured and orphaned panthers
The Florida Panther Fund was established by The Wildlife Foundation of Florida to aid in the recovery of injured or orphaned Florida panthers, as well as to meet other panther conservation needs. The fund is an important resource that gives the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission flexibility to deal with rare, unplanned, and non-budgeted events. Visit the Help Injured Panthers Return to the Wild website.
Support panther research
Florida panther research and management by FWC is funded almost entirely through the Florida Panther Research and Management Trust Fund. This fund receives its monies from the purchase and annual renewal of the Protect the Panther specialty license plate in Florida. Tag holders give an annual $25.00 donation to the fund when they renew their registration. Visit the Protect the Panther license plate website to learn more.
In general, the human mind operates at an exponential pace, keeping time with the flow of society. We tend to have trouble slowing down and observing the different habits of other living things. Likely, that is because it can be difficult to notice these other forms of life living in our human-centric culture, but it can be done closer to home than you might think.
Think about your first memory of being in a forest, nature preserve or park. You get outside seeking adventure, and whatever you’re expecting, it pales in comparison to the real thing. Perhaps you’re lucky enough to see something that is actually majestic – like a white-tailed deer with a strong prancing grace and huge skyward-facing rack of antlers, or some Everest-high clouds rising above a flat Florida landscape.
Oftentimes it’s these personal connections that make these natural places special to us as individuals and it’s only through time and experience that we realize the significance is more than it seems. You’ll be glad to know that accompanying the vistas and wildlife along the CREW trails, there’s a long-range plan in effect, one that looks to our universal need for water and the protection of watersheds.
Watersheds are everywhere, get to know yours at CREW!
Forward-thinking people have for generations set aside huge swaths of land, like the CREW Project, for future generations. These public lands benefit the present inhabitants of an area manyfold, while also protecting our ongoing needs. The need for water, one of Maslow’s seven basic needs, is met by protecting the CREW watershed where many southwest Florida’s residents get their drinking water.
A unique mixture of partners divide up the roles of preservation at CREW. Land management falls to the primary land owners, the South Florida Water Management District (the District for short) which takes on the arduous role of long range planning – taking into account the complex needs of people and wildlife. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) pursues in-depth and long ranging scientific observation projects focused on CREW’s native wildlife. The non-profit CREW Trust expands public access to the lands through a 36+ mile network of trail systems and provides environmental education to our community through contributions via membership, donations, sponsorships, trail visitation, and volunteerism.
Whatever first brings you to wild places like CREW, or even if you never visit, every single resident in this region of southwest Florida contributes to and benefits from the foresight of protecting CREW’s lands for water. The 60,000+ acre watershed that makes up CREW is permeable – under all those pretty wildflowers and trees that we enjoy on hikes, water soaks through – purifying it through the limestone rock and storing it in the aquifer below.
Make a connection with CREW
Hiking along the CREW trails, listen for the erratic yet hypnotic buzz of a bee hive you could easily miss in the rapid pace of society. Instead, allow yourself to pause and listen; search for the pixelated movement of wings, coming to and fro from the hive epicenter. It’s not like bees often stop to look at us either, but humans are capable of slowing down to witness another life form. FWC biologists do it all the time at CREW and we are all capable of this broader understanding; that’s why we’ve made it easy to practice your observation skills at CREW.
Whatever brings you to the CREW trails and if you only remember one important thing from this article remember this: alligators love suntanning as much as Floridians. Seriously though, your contributions- through your tax dollars, your membership with the CREW Trust, or your visits to CREW trails with friends and family – are making a difference for generations to come.