Monday, June 6, 2011

Urban nature

I love the flora and fauna of Florida, especially the fact that despite living in one of the most populated areas of the state, I don't have to go far to see some pretty cool wildlife. In fact, sometimes it comes to me. Such was the case on Memorial Day when a pair of Barred Owls hung out in our backyard all day long, from dusk to dawn. The duo made other birds very uncomfortable, but I enjoyed having them around and encouraged them to take all the fruit rats they could eat...

This owl still has down around his face and appears to be a juvenile.

I also found a treasure trove of great aquatic plants, literally in the shadow of Interstate 4. Lake Ivanhoe, which is bisected by I-4 just north of downtown Orlando, has large stands of waterlilies and lotus plants in full bloom. I talked my friend into a kayaking adventure just so I could get close enough to see these remarkable flowers, which are visually fascinating in every stage of their life. Their geometric seedpods look like they are from a science fiction movie, their leaves hold shimmery drops of water like liquid Mercury and even the dead blossoms had their own subtle beauty.

Recently the state legislature voted to remove most of the environmental protections that had maintained and protected much of the undeveloped areas of Florida. Throughout our state's history, Florida's land has been viewed as an exploitable asset that made fortunes for builders and developers. While I'm constantly in awe of the beauty of our natural features we have here, I am also concerned that we might develop so much of the state, that no wild areas will be left. And the my inspiring brushes with the natural world could become things of the past.

A momma Moorhen warns me not to get any closer


  1. to be honest, it's one of the appeals of Highwaymen art to me, they capture Florida in a way I choose to remember it, not strip malls & urban sprawl, but the subtle beauty of its landscape.

  2. Hi there! I would pay good money for a couple of these American lotus pictures. Do you sell prints anywhere? (If should.)

    Also, I keep flashing on the fact that artists & designers, perhaps more than any other folks in Florida, have the power to change people's minds about the direction our state is taking with regard to tossing out any & all environmental protections. I'd love to see some kind of loose statewide coalition of people who are committed, each in his/her own way, to bringing these issues to the forefront of public dialogue. Do you think there might be any interest from folks down there in Orlando? And if so, what would be the best way to nurture such a group into being?

    Thanks so much for these lovely photos!

  3. Interesting thoughts- let me mull it over a bit..

  4. Love the photography - keep up the good work!