Each moment of the year has its own beauty . . . a picture which was never before and shall never be seen again.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

9th Annual Wekiva PaintOut March 2-7, 2015

Plein Air artist painting in canoe

Plein Air artist painting in canoe

Get ready for the 9th annual Wekiva PaintOut which takes place next March from the 2nd to the 7th. Come and watch some of the nation’s top Plein Air artists painting in and around the Wekiwa Springs State Park and Wekiva Island – and then buy their work to help two local nonprofits.

The artists stay all week at the youth camp in the park and paint from dawn to dusk. Their works are exhibited in the gallery at Wekiva Island and you can buy from the gallery, at the auction or at the Saturday night Gala Dinner.

The artists generously donate a percentage of their sales – some even donate 100 percent – and all the money raised goes to supporting the work of the Wekiva Wilderness Trust which supports the work of the state park, and Keep Seminole Beautiful. Both are volunteer based organizations that rely on donations and funding to protect and preserve our wonderful environment.

For more information about this event visit http://www.wekivapaintout.com. See you there!

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American Alligator

American Alligator

American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)

The American Alligator inhabits the southeastern United States. Their life spans can exceed 60 yrs. Alligators occur on the Atlantic Coast of North America from Florida through coastal North Carolina, & along the Gulf Coast into Texas. They eat fish, turtles, wading birds, snakes, frogs, small mammals & even smaller alligators.

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Gray Fox

Gray Foxes (Urocyon cinereoargenteus floridanus)

Gray Foxes (Urocyon cinereoargenteus floridanus)

The gray fox is one of Florida’s most commonly seen carnivores. They feed on small animals, acorns, fruit and insects, but they will also scavenge road-killed animals. They are active at night and usually hunt alone. Gray Foxes are abundant in hardwood forests, pine-oak woodlands and brushy fields.

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Sherman’s Fox Squirrel

Sherman's Fox Squirrel (Sciurus niger shermani)

Sherman’s Fox Squirrel (Sciurus niger shermani)

Sherman’s Fox Squirrel occurs in peninsular Florida to the north end of Lake Okeechobee, & is more than twice the size of the common gray squirrel. It is probably destined for eventual “endangered” status. Fox squirrels are selective in their habitat needs. They depend mostly on pine seeds for food in the summer and on acorns during the remainder of the year.

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Barred Owl

Barred Owl (Strix varia)

Barred Owl (Strix varia)

This owl is most often seen by those who seek it out in its dark retreat, usually a thick grove of trees in lowland forest. There it rests quietly during the day. It emerges at night to feed on rodents, birds, frogs, & crayfish. It is know by it’s familiar “who-cooks-for-you, who-cooks-for-you-all” hooting.

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Florida Black Bear

Florida Black Bear (Ursus americanus floridanus)

Florida Black Bear (Ursus americanus floridanus)

The Florida black bear is the largest native land mammal in Florida. It is shy & secretive, hiding in dense vegetation & rarely seen in the wild. Bears are omnivores, meaning they eat both vegetable & animal matter. Some foods they may eat include acorns, insects, berries, saw palmetto, armadillos, honey & bee larvae.

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Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

The largest & most widespread heron in North America, the Great Blue Heron can be found along the ocean shore or the edge of a small inland pond. Though they are best known as fishers, mice constitute a large part of their diet, & they also eat insects & other small creatures.

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Raccoon

Raccoon (Procyon lotor)

Raccoon (Procyon lotor)

Raccoons can be found just about everywhere, because they will eat just about anything. They are found in forests, marshes, prairies, & even in cities. They are adaptable & use their dexterous front paws & long fingers to find & feast on a wide variety of fare. Their life span in the wild is 2 to 3 years

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Gopher Tortoise

Gopher Tortoise (Gopherus Polyphemus)

Gopher Tortoise (Gopherus Polyphemus)

Gopher tortoises live in dry, upland habitats that have well-drained soils for them to dig their burrows. Their common habitat includes: pine flatwoods, xeric oak, sand pine, scrub oak, agricultural lands, & coastal dune & scrub. Their diet consists of grasses and legumes. The Gopher Tortoise is listed as a threatened species.

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Red-Shouldered Hawk

Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus)

Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus)

A common forest-dwelling hawk of the East & California, the Red-shouldered Hawk favors woodlands near water, but may also nest in suburban areas. It is perhaps the most vocal American hawk. It preys on snakes & frogs. It also eats insects & small mammals. It’s call is a loud two syllable scream.

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Corn Snake

Corn Snake, also called 'Rat Snake' (Elaphe guttata)

Corn Snake, also called ‘Rat Snake’ (Elaphe guttata)

Corn snakes are slender with a length of 24 to 72 inches. They feed on mice, rats, birds, & bats. They are constrictors. They are found in the eastern United States from southern New Jersey south through Florida, west to Louisiana & parts of Kentucky. They help to control rodent populations that may otherwise spread disease

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River Otter

River Otter (Lutra Canadensis)

River Otter (Lutra Canadensis)

The river otter is a long, elongated water-loving animal found throughout Florida except the Keys. This playful animal is found from Mexico north to Alaska. They are especially abundant throughout Canada. Otters inhabit lakes ponds, marshes and inland waterways.

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Eastern Box Turtle

Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina bauri)

Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina bauri)

The Florida Box Turtle is one of the well known subspecies of Eastern Box Turtle. Box Turtles are usually seen early in the day, or after a rain. They are fond of slugs, earthworms, wild strawberries, & mushrooms. If habitat conditions remain constant, a Box Turtle may spend its life in an area scarcely larger than a football field.

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Striped Mud Turtle

Striped Mud Turtle (Kinosternon baurii)

Striped Mud Turtle (Kinosternon baurii)

This small Endangered Turtle at maturity reaches only about five inches & is easily identified by its three yellow or creamy beige stripes. The Striped Mud Turtle prefers swampy, shallow, still waters & is found most anywhere in Florida. The Striped Mud Turtle is omnivorous & will investigate nearly anything it comes across, including cow dung.

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Wood Duck

WoodDuck-male

Male Wood Duck (Aix sponsa)

WoodDuck-female

Female Wood Duck (Aix sponsa)

Males are iridescent chestnut & green, with ornate patterns on nearly every feather; the females have a distinctive profile & delicate white pattern around the eye. They live in wooded swamps, where they nest in holes in trees or in nest boxes put up around lake margins. They are one of the few duck species with claws that can grip bark & perch on branches.

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Bobcat

Bobcat

Bobcat (Lynx Rufus)

Bobcats can be found in every county in Florida & in most states in the country. They are so named because of their ‘bobbed’ tail. The eastern cottontail, marsh rabbit & cotton rat are their primary prey. By feeding on these animals, the bobcat provides a necessary control on their populations.

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