“Each moment of the year has its own beauty . . . a picture which was never before and shall never be seen again.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
The Nature Center Interpretive Pavilion is located on top of the hill above the springs, next to the restroom building at Wekiwa Springs State Park. It is not hard to find.
Discovery Hour programs start at the Pavilion every Sunday at 2:00 pm, unless otherwise stated.
Discovery Hours: Oct 2017 thru March 2018
|Oct 1||Reptiles of Central Florida||John|
|Oct 8||Wildflower hike (starting at Sand Lake)||Noreen|
|Oct 15||Get to know some bugs||Moh|
|Oct 22||Florida raptors||April|
|Oct 29||Florida threatened wildlife||Debbie|
|Nov 5||Good bug, Bad bug||Moh|
|Nov 12||Wildflower hike (starting at Sand Lake)||Noreen|
|Nov 19||Family hike (starting at Sand Lake)||Crystal|
|Nov 26||Florida Retiles||John|
|Dec 3||Family hike (starting at Sand Lake)||Crystal|
|Dec 10||Protecting FL water resources||April|
|Dec 17||Kids story time||Debbie|
|Dec 24||Kids story time||Debbie|
|Dec 31||Kids story time||Debbie|
|Jan 7||Edible FL||Don|
|Jan 14||Nature walk||Jane|
|Jan 21||FL threatened wildlife||Debbie|
|Jan 28||Family hike (starting at Sand Lake)||Crystal|
|Feb 4||Florida Reptiles||John|
|Feb 11||Basic survival||Don|
|Feb 18||Prescribed burns explained||ranger|
|Feb 25||Story time||Debbie|
|Mar 4||Family hike (starting at Sand Lake)||Crystal|
|Mar 11||Nature walk||Jane|
|Mar 18||Extinct FL animals||Debbie|
|Mar 25||Family hike (starting at Sand Lake)||Crystal|
After months of detailed fine tuning, the final concept design for the Serenity Garden at Wekiwa Springs State has now been completed. Even though construction has not yet started, the garden, believed to be the first of its kind in the nation, has already attracted the attention of the medical and therapeutic community.
Faculty and graduate students from Adventist University of Health Science’s Occupational Therapy Department recently spent two days at the site as groundwork for the first evidence-based research study to be performed at the garden.
The ongoing study will explore quality of life impacts of the Serenity Garden’s design and programs for four specified groups: seniors, people who have lost their sight, Wounded Warrior Veterans, and children and adults with autism.
National and regional expertise has been engaged in designing the garden according to the evidence-based principles established by the American Therapeutic Horticultural Association. The garden, the first of its kind in any state or national park, represents the next innovative wave in the movement to expand equitable access to nature for people of all ages and diverse abilities.
It will offer a peaceful, welcoming retreat in which people of all ages and abilities can feel comfortable while enjoying unique experiences surrounded by nature. The garden, which has doubled in size, will transform one-acre of disturbed land behind the existing nature education center. Lushly landscaped with a regional palette of native plants, the garden will feature interactive and sensory elements, and enhanced opportunities for relaxation, exercise, social gathering, education, and therapeutic programming.
The use of specialty gardens for the enrichment of human health and wellness dates all the way back to the Middle Ages. In the 21st century, here in the United States, research at major hospitals and universities began to produce a body of modern evidence, and it is now understood that time spent in green spaces can benefit human health in ways both culturally significant and scientifically measurable.
Through its participation in this research, the American Therapeutic Horticultural Association eventually solidified a set of evidence-based principles which became the standards for the development of gardens used for therapeutic purposes.
Gardens now serve in therapeutic capacities at many hospitals, rehabilitation centers, psychiatric facilities, nursing homes and vocational rehabilitation programs all across the country but none are as comprehensive as the Serenity Garden at Wekiwa.
The landscape architecture has been specifically designed to the highest possible standards and purposes of accessibility, universal design, education, safety, and enjoyment by visitors of all ages and abilities. The design represent a seamless melding of highly accessible features that support sensory, physical, and emotional restoration and revitalization for visitors with diverse needs and abilities, and facilitates the highest possible level of enhanced opportunity and engagement for recreational activity, exercise, educational, and therapeutic programming for visitors of all ages and abilities.
Detailed site plans are now being prepared to allow work on the hardscape to begin in the next few weeks.
For more information go to www.serenity-wekiwa.com.
Imagine our Florida is a new website from a new 501c3 whose mission is to preserve and protect Florida’s natural resources, wildlife and land. Go to www.imagineourflorida.org to check it out.
The group was created as a result of last year’s bear hunt which brought together thousands of bear lovers, conservationists and environmentalists from around the state and beyond. The mission has now widened to include protecting all Florida’s natural resources and especially bears, manatees and panthers.
Planning your holiday shopping yet?
If so, shop at Amazon Smile and designate Wekiva Wilderness Trust as your chosen charity. A percentage of everything you buy goes to the WWT and it doesn’t cost you a penny. Click
What a great day today and what a fantastic way to celebrate National Public Lands Day at Wekiwa Springs State Park. Almost 50 volunteers turned out to clear the ground for Wekiwa’s new Serenity Garden and move the project one step closer to becoming a reality. The half-acre site, between the nature center and the parking lot, is now almost clear of vegetation and a detailed survey of the ground can now take place before the garden design is finalized. If you are interested in helping with the project by volunteering or donating please contact us at email@example.com.
To learn more about the project click here
Many thanks to everyone who supported our 9th week-long Wekiva PaintOut – the artists, the buyers, Wekiva Island and all the volunteers who made it possible. See you all next year Feb 28-March 6 for our 10th.
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, and along the Gulf Coast into Texas. They eat fish, turtles, wading birds, snakes, frogs, small mammals and even smaller alligators.
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.
Sherman’s Fox Squirrel occurs in peninsular Florida to the north end of Lake Okeechobee, and 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.
Raccoons can be found just about everywhere, because they will eat just about anything. They are found in forests, marshes, prairies, and even in cities. They are adaptable and use their dexterous front paws and long fingers to find and feast on a wide variety of fare. Their life span in the wild is 2 to 3 years.
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, and coastal dune and scrub. Their diet consists of grasses and legumes. The Gopher Tortoise is listed as a threatened species.
A common forest-dwelling hawk of the East and 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 and frogs. It also eats insects and small mammals. Its call is a loud two syllable scream.
Corn snakes are slender with a length of 24 to 72 inches. They feed on mice, rats, birds, and bats. They are constrictors. They are found in the eastern United States from southern New Jersey south through Florida, west to Louisiana and parts of Kentucky. They help to control rodent populations that may otherwise spread disease
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.
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, and mushrooms. If habitat conditions remain constant, a Box Turtle may spend its life in an area scarcely larger than a football field.
This small Endangered Turtle at maturity reaches only about five inches and is easily identified by its three yellow or creamy beige stripes. The Striped Mud Turtle prefers swampy, shallow, still waters and is found most anywhere in Florida. The Striped Mud Turtle is omnivorous and will investigate nearly anything it comes across, including cow dung.