Category Archives: Nature

Parks for Pollinators Bioblitz

PBC Parks participated in the national Parks for Pollinators campaign, which was aimed at raising public awareness of the importance of pollinators and positioning parks as national leaders in advancing pollinator health. Organized by the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA), the Parks for Pollinators BioBlitz event was held during the month of September.

We created a project – named Parks for Pollinators 2021: Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation – in the iNaturalist app, which was shared with NRPA and added to the national campaign. Participants used the iNaturalist app and website to record and identify observations of various plant and animal pollinators found in parks, natural areas, backyards, and other locations throughout the county.

The PBC Parks project recorded about 1,500 observations with more than 500 species identified. More than 200 identifiers and nearly 250 observers participated using the iNaturalist app.

“I really enjoyed looking for as many pollinators as possible in the one-month span. I know I definitely won’t stop looking for them any time soon!” said Mikie Green, PBC Parks Volunteer.

Mikie was recognized with observing the most species in the county during the event on iNaturalist (username coolcrittersyt), with over 80 species of pollinators.

Parks play a key role in protecting and preserving pollinators and their habitats, and BioBlitz events are designed to create a literal snapshot of plants, insects and animals to see what wildlife is present in local parks. The activity not only let participants safely explore their local parks and learn more about the species through the iNaturalist mobile app, the information gathered also provided specific data on the species located in the parks — which can help park and recreation professionals manage those spaces for biological diversity and build ecological resilience. 

In addition to featuring the project on PBCParks.com, BioBlitz activities were conducted at events, like the “Palm Beach County Library System Park(ing) Day”, in order to provide the community with more ways to understand the importance of pollinators and their impact on the environment.

Know Before You Go: Portuguese Man O’ War

Have you ever spotted an object on the beach that looks like a harmless blue plastic bag? These animals are called Portuguese Man O’ War – and they can deliver a painful shock to anyone who picks them up or pops them. Watch this video to learn more about Portuguese Man O’ War and how you can protect yourself from these beach hazards.

For more information about Portuguese Man O’ War and other beach hazards, visit this webpage: https://discover.pbcgov.org/parks/Aquatics/Hazards.aspx

Animal Encounters: American Alligators

American Alligators, the Florida State Reptile, are common in South Florida — and can even be spotted in some PBC Parks. In this episode of Animal Encounters, Daggerwing Nature Center Manager, Sean Mallee, shares some interesting facts about the American Alligator, including a number of useful adaptations the reptiles have! This episode features Nibbles, an Animal Ambassador at Daggerwing Nature Center.

Bathouse Bonanza at Daggerwing Nature Center!

Written by Autumn Horne, Asstistant Naturalist, Daggerwing Nature Center

Here at Daggerwing Nature Center, the bat houses are open for business!  Our small homestead is accepting all qualified members of the Order Chiroptera with echolocation in good standing. Chiroptera, which is Greek for “hand wing,” is the order to which all bats belong, and we are excited to have collaborated with fellow hand-wing lovers Shari Blisset-Clark and John Clark of the Florida Bat Conservancy to erect a whole new bat housing development on the Nature Center’s grounds in Burt Aaronson South County Regional Park.  As nocturnal species, native bats spend all day at home, and what a privilege it is to be able to provide our fellow airborne earthlings with a safe roost in which to rest their weary wings. 

But bats aren’t the only beneficiaries of the arrangement, we humans win too!  Bats play an essential role in keeping our ecosystem healthy and functioning, they’re great pest control, seed-dispersers, and pollinators.  Plus bats are the only mammals capable of true flight, and it’s tough to beat an early evening sighting of bat-crobatics.

Here in Florida, we have 13 resident bat species (either found year-round or seasonally), two of which are listed as endangered: the Florida bonneted bat and the gray myotis.  However bats can be found everywhere on the planet except in some extreme deserts, polar regions, and on certain isolated islands.  Our Florida bats are all considered insectivores, and a single little brown bat can eat as many as 1,000 insects in just an hour!  Told you it was a win-win situation.  And after they eat all those bugs, what happens on the other end?  Well, if you can make it past the ick factor, bat poop, also called guano, is some super sensational excrement.  Guano is an amazing fertilizer, has little odor, is fungicidal, and is sometimes even sparkly…move over unicorn poop!

But why become a bat landlord?  Can’t bats find their own houses?  Currently nearly 40% of American bat species are in severe decline, or already listed as threatened or endangered.  According to Bat Conservation International, “…bats are under unprecedented threat from widespread habitat destruction, hunting, accelerated climate change, invasive species, and other stresses. Without concerted international action, their populations will continue to fall, driving many species to extinction.”  And as we know, bats fertilize, bats pollinate, bats disperse seeds, they keep the insect population in check, so by creating safe homes for bats, we are not only helping insure the survival of a fellow creature, but their survival ensures our survival as well!  To quote John Muir, “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.”

So here’s to all our chiropteran friends, and a huge thank you to Shari and John for the important work they do with Florida Bat Conservancy.  If you’d like to learn more, stop by the nature center and have a chat with a naturalist, or visit floridabats.org.

PBC Parks Participates in ‘Parks for Pollinators Bioblitz’

The Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department (PBC Parks) participated in the national Parks for Pollinators campaign, which was aimed at raising public awareness of the importance of pollinators and positioning parks as national leaders in advancing pollinator health. Organized by the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA) and The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation, the Parks for Pollinators BioBlitz event was held during the month of September.

PBC Parks created a project – named Parks for Pollinators 2020: Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation – in the iNaturalist app, which was shared with NRPA and added to the national campaign. Participants used the iNaturalist app and website to record and identify observations of various plant and animal pollinators found in parks, natural areas, backyards, and other locations throughout the county.

The PBC Parks project recorded about 1,000 observations, more than 370 species, more than 100 identifiers, and nearly 150 observers on the iNaturalist app.

“Participating in the NRPA Parks for Pollinators BioBlitz was a really fun way to engage our community to support pollinators and to draw attention to the importance of our park system’s wildlife habitat,” said Jennifer Cirillo, PBC Parks’ Assistant Director.

Parks play a key role in protecting and preserving pollinators and their habitats, and BioBlitz events are designed to create a literal snapshot of plants, insects and animals to see what wildlife is present in local parks. The activity not only let participants safely explore their local parks and learn more about the species through the iNaturalist mobile app, the information gathered also provided specific data on the species located in the parks — which can help park and recreation professionals manage those spaces for biological diversity and build ecological resilience. 

In addition to featuring the project and link on the PBC Parks website, additional BioBlitz activities were included, in order to provide the community with more ways to understand the importance of pollinators and their impact on the environment.

The PBC Parks project can be found here: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/parks-for-pollinators-2020-palm-beach-county-parks-and-recreation

Students learn about “Old Time Florida” at Riverbend Education Day

About 120 students, along with parents and teachers, ventured to Riverbend Park on November 3rd to discover “Old Time Florida” as part of Riverbend’s Education Day, part one of the two-day Pioneer Farmstead Event.

“The idea here is for the schools to come out here and experience a little bit about what they learn in the classroom through the history program – 4th graders are targeted because there’s a big history drive on the fourth grade,” said Naturalist John Welch.

The students learned about sugar cane processing and boiling, growing citrus, cattle and other animals, general pioneer life and more. Welch says the event helps teach kids about the work pioneers did to prosper on the land, “to make them a little more appreciative of how we came to be here, what the challenge was that these people faced, what they did for us and also themselves.”

Riverbend Park is located at 9060 Indiantown Road in Jupiter and is operated by the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department. The park is open every day from sunrise to sunset.

We make the quality of life for Palm Beach County residents and visitors better by providing diverse, safe and affordable recreation services, welcoming parks, and enriching social and cultural experiences. We achieve this by promoting wellness, fostering environmental stewardship, contributing economic value, and by improving our community every day for this and future generations.

Please visit www.pbcparks.com​ for more leisure opportunities available through the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department.

Destination Recreation 7: Glades Area Parks

Welcome to the seventh episode of Destination Recreation! We take you through different Palm Beach County parks and facilities in each episode – giving you a unique peek at what you can experience at our more than 80 locations throughout the County.

On this episode, we travel to a unique part of Palm Beach County to check out eight of our Glades-area parks, located in the Western part of the county. We travel through popular parks like South Bay RV Park, John Stretch Memorial Park and Glades Pioneer Park and take a look at the countless recreational opportunities in the area.

Don’t miss an episode – follow pbcParks on WordPress or subscribe to our YouTube channel to see each episode of Destination Recreation, which is released monthly.

We make the quality of life for Palm Beach County residents and visitors better by providing diverse, safe and affordable recreation services, welcoming parks, and enriching social and cultural experiences. We achieve this by promoting wellness, fostering environmental stewardship, contributing economic value, and by improving our community every day for this and future generations.

Destination Recreation 6: Boating

Welcome to the sixth episode of Destination Recreation! We take you through different Palm Beach County parks and facilities in each episode – giving you a unique peek at what you can experience at our more than 80 locations throughout the County.

On this episode, we tell you all about one of the most popular amenities in Palm Beach County — boating! Learn about where to go, what activities you can enjoy, and what you need to do if you’re parking your boat trailer at a PBC Park. Let’s head out on the water!

Don’t miss an episode – follow pbcParks on WordPress or subscribe to our YouTube channel to see each episode of Destination Recreation, which is released monthly.

We make the quality of life for Palm Beach County residents and visitors better by providing diverse, safe and affordable recreation services, welcoming parks, and enriching social and cultural experiences. We achieve this by promoting wellness, fostering environmental stewardship, contributing economic value, and by improving our community every day for this and future generations.

For more opportunities for healthy, happy living, visit pbcParks.com.