Guest article by Susan Strawbridge, Park Services Specialist
Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park will be focusing on butterflies and bees during the month of June. The Park is introducing monthly themes featuring natural and cultural resource opportunities in Florida State Parks.
Two programs are planned on this theme. The first will be presented on Thursday, June 12, 2014, starting at 1:00 p.m. in the Children’s Education Center. The audience will hear Michael Robert Boulware from the Florida Museum of Natural History’s presentation on native Florida butterflies.
Mike Boulware is a Living Exhibit Specialist at the Florida Museum of Natural History’s Butterfly Rainforest. He has been there for 10 years, and in that time, has also become Volunteer Manager and Outreach person for the Rainforest. He is a Florida native, with over 300 years of family history in this area. Mike is a COG, Certified Organic Grower, a CIT, Certified Interpretive Trainer, and a CGP, Certified Country Guitar Player! Mike has been quoted by such publications as Smart Money magazine, Vintage Guitar, and numerous times by television, radio, and other media outlets as an expert on fine American-made musical instruments. He will speak about Butterfly Gardening, water conservation, Florida history, and the interrelatedness of all things great and small. He’ll be bringing printed materials: plant lists, native flower pamphlets, butterfly pamphlets, and a few examples of plants that attract butterflies.
On Thursday, June 26, 2014, Melody Tayler of Homosassa will offer a program on bees. Tayler was born and raised in Tampa and worked as a bookkeeper. She began keeping bees in 2008 and has given many presentations on Honey Bees over the past six years, including programs for the Citrus County’s library system, schools, and clubs. Tayler has also done programs for Wildlife Ranger summer camps at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park and attended Pioneer Days and Fort Cooper Days Park’s Reenactment events. She is the secretary of Nature Coast Beekeepers Club that meets monthly at Victory Baptist Church in Inverness. She has achieved the level of "Master Beekeeper" through the University of Florida and has attended University of Florida’s Bee College for the past six years.
Her presentation will consist of an explanation of the Honey Bee, its workings as a social insect and the products produced by the hive. In addition she will suggest ways to help save the Honey Bee.
Both programs are included in your regular park admission which is $13 for adults (ages 13 and up) and $5 for children ages 6 through 12. Children age 5 and under are admitted free. Come to our programs, and you may enjoy an all-day visit to the Wildlife Park. Learn about our new Florida Panther kitten and see him at a distance, weather permitting, during the Wildlife Encounter programs at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. daily.
The Children’s Education Center reopened in March after the first phase of restoration was completed on this historic building. The building was the original entrance to Nature’s Giant Fish Bowl and was built in the 1940s. The roof was replaced, and brick work was added to the lower half off the interior walls to protect the building from water damage. The remaining interior walls were repainted.
As you can see, we have a lot planned for June and encourage you to visit Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park to learn about the importance of Florida’s wildlife including butterflies and bees. For more information or to register, please call Susan Strawbridge at (352) 628-5445, ext. 1002.