Daggerwing Nature Center congratulates Michael Yao, who, after over two years of planning and setbacks with the pandemic, completed his Eagle Scout project at the nature center. As part of the final project, Michael provided two Wood Duck nest boxes and built and installed seven Screech Owl nest boxes in the natural area.
The Screech Owl nest boxes are located close enough to the boardwalk for observation and can be seen by guests when walking along the trail. The Wood Duck and Screech Owl nest boxes will provide places for these species to raise young and will help support the diversity of wildlife around Daggerwing Nature Center.
PBC Parks is happy to introduce the Nature Adventure Journal! This unique journal lets kids of all ages complete outdoor- and nature-related activities that can be done anywhere – in parks, beaches, neighborhoods, even in their backyards.
The journal is designed to get kids outside and active in a natural setting, through a variety of fun activities. Activities include animal spotting, leaf tracing, making an outdoor bucket list, and more. As they go along, adventurers can earn sticker badges for completing various sections — they can even send PBC Parks their progress to be featured on PBC Parks’ social media!
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.
Welcome to Power of Parks, a podcast produced by the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department, where we share inspiring stories from people who have benefited from nature, parks and recreation.
Episode 12 features Jana Cooper, an avid nature lover who manages the Instagram Page, @walkyourpathfl. On the page, she shares photos from her adventures in and around trails, parks, outdoor gardens, museums, and natural areas in mostly South Florida. In the podcast, she shares her passion for nature and explains why everyone should get out to a trail for their mental and physical wellness.
Burt Aaronson South County Regional Park is a massive and popular park that’s full of opportunities for recreation and play. Boasting an amphitheater, nature center, water park, dog park, golf course, and more, the park has something for everyone!
Edward “Eddie” Ott has been a volunteer for 11 years at John Prince Golf Learning Center. He picks up golf balls on the range and helps keep the fire ants under control by surveying the property in the hunt for anthills, so they can extinguish them before they cause patrons harm. He also helps keep the golf greens, green aprons (collars) and fairways in tiptop shape by fixing ball markers and filling divots, keeping them as some of the best in South Florida.
Fellow staff, volunteers and patrons have always said that he has been a pleasure to talk to due to his wealth of experiences and knowledge.
Eddie has always been a very diligent working volunteer. He is kind, optimistic and very cordial to all and a role model to the whole facility.
The biggest personal benefit he’s received as a volunteer with our department? “I get to play golf and work with Geoff!”
Eddie started playing golf at the age of 42 and moved down to Florida from Ohio when he was 50. His previous occupation was an auto mechanic. What’s most interesting is he is 97 years old, who calls 85 year olds ‘kids’.
25 years ago, Karen Gray and other Jupiter Beach residents started Friends of Jupiter Beach (FJB). The founder being Anita Lankler and the executive director, Karen Gray have always had a passion for keeping their home clean and educating others about conservation and stewardship for the environment.
One of the main incentives for creating FJB, other than environmental benefits, is the agreement to delegate a portion of Jupiter Beach as a dog friendly beach, where dogs can roam free off-leash. This group has continuously maintained the beach’s cleanliness as well as enforcing the rules of the dog-friendly beach with pet owners. FJB has provided each beach access with a dispenser of pet waste bags and signs clearly conveying to cleanup after your pet.
From the effects of the pandemic in 2020, FJB had to cancel a few cleanups this year, but continued to perform these monthly cleanups in a safe and socially-distanced manner after restrictions let up. Karen does an incredible job organizing volunteer meetings at separate locations with no more than 10 volunteers at each access. Even with the restrictions, FJB still manages to safely host up to 100 volunteers dispersed through each cleanup. In 2020, this group has managed to clean up and document approximately 1,287 pounds of garbage and 879 pounds of recyclables from Ocean Cay Park and Jupiter Beach.
A huge thanks goes out to Karen and all the volunteers that participate in the monthly Friends of Jupiter Beach Cleanups hosted every first Saturday of the month.
The DuBois Pioneer Home Virtual Tour – Fireside Chat series brings you short stories from relatives and friends of the DuBois family. In this episode, John Alden DuBois, the grandson of Harry and Susan DuBois, shares a little bit about how his grandfather put food on the table for his family.
Do you know how Kingsnakes find their food using their tongue? Daggerwing Nature Center Manager, Sean Mallee tells you how – as well as other interesting facts about the Kingsnake, an Animal Ambassador at Daggerwing Nature Center.
On October 25, a dedicated group known as ‘The Clean-Up Kids’ participated in a beach cleanup on Ocean Ridge Hammock Park, where they filled up six trash bags! The total weight of trash collected was 90 pounds, and the total weight of recyclables collected was five lbs.
The Clean-Up Kids is a volunteer group started by young parent Kailley Catalo and her husband. They’re dedicated to teaching children lifelong lessons to ensure a clean future, including our collective impact on the planet.
“We believe it is never too early to start teaching & participating in bettering ourselves, the planet & our community. We are developing more creative ideas to help them give back to our community such as organizing park cleanups, feeding the homeless, book exchanges/donations, mini-marathon to raise awareness to different issues, adopt sea turtles, clean local fire trucks and more. We believe in community and that ‘it’s takes a village to raise a child’ so as parents it’s super valuable for us to teach them the power and hard work of giving back to the community.”