Friday, February 24, 2012

Orlando Wetlands Park, Christmas, FL

The Orlando Wetlands Park is open Feb. 1 – Nov. 14 every year so visitors can come whenever it is convenient. The park is open from sunrise until sunset each day. If you enjoy bird watching, this is a great place to visit with its 1,650 acres of hardwood hammocks, marshes, and lakes. I had the pleasure of talking with a lady who kept record of the birds she saw along the way. This is a great idea to make your visit more memorable.



If you have any facts that would enhance this tour of the wetlands or maybe you know some of the names of the species showed below, please send me a comment.


The weather was nice and allowed for this beautiful view of the wetlands.

bird 3_thumb[1]  

Various birds and wildlife, such as this Tricolored Heron, call these wetlands home. Seeing their habitat first hand contributes to the education on how we can all preserve this masterpiece of God.

It is important to remember that pesticides, fertilizers, dead leaves, lawn clippings, and even cat litter can all compromise the health of our lakes and wetland habitats. Also important to note is that you should not dispose of your used cooking oil down the drain. Simple things such as picking up pet waste and disposing of litter properly can make a huge impact. Just think of what would happen if each of us took tiny steps like recycling or mending old items. Little steps toward sustainable living can add up quickly if we all participate!

Visit here for more information on oil and grease management: 


It appears that duck napping is taking effect in the wetlands.


God designed wading birds like this Little Blue Heron, with unique beaks that help to make their fishing efforts more efficient.


White Ibis


Bald Eagle



This limpkin is in flight and cannot be dismissed as it loudly proclaims its presence! One of the ladies on our tour described its call as that of a women screaming. They are very loud during mating season, but it all adds to the experience. I hoped you enjoyed this tour and take with you a better appreciation of our wildlife in Florida.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The 12th Annual Orlando Wetlands Festival 2012

SHAPE soaps

Our family non-profit, SHAPE International, was invited to participate in the festival at the Ft. Christmas Historical Park. We sold 58 bars and 34 samples of soap! It was a great success. We enjoyed meeting many people and sharing our projects with them. My dad (in navy blue shirt) had a display of the electrolysis system he takes to Africa to purify water. Also, we showed how the Protos plant stove works. You can lean more about our non-profit at .

florida aquifersNative plant

Some of the booths provided an educational guide to protecting and caring for the environment. The booth to the left shared info on our Florida aquifers. The booth to the right was from the Florida’s Native Plant Society. They had brochures and were selling native plants.

bald eagle

The Audubon Birds of Prey had a booth showcasing three different bird specimens. The Bald Eagle was a big hit and my personal favorite. Below are the other two birds. If you know what they are please share by commenting on this entry.

bird 1

bird 2

This bird was a bit feisty and tried to get away, but could not because of the straps attached to his feet.


miniture pony

Ponies and horses were also at the festival. This one is all dressed up and ready to show off a bit. Other activities included kid’s games, a bounce house, rock wall, and hayrides. Overall, it was a very enjoyable experience and we hope to attend again next year.

The next entry will be on the wetlands tour we went on during the festival. I’m looking forward to sharing it so please visit again next week!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Experience the Miracle of Live Butterflies at the Oviedo Mall in Florida

IMG_4780 IMG_4746

Experience the Miracle of Live Butterflies is a family friendly event that is currently being hosted by the Oviedo Mall in Florida on February 4 – February 19. The admission is $2 and open to all ages. Above you can see the enclosure where the indigenous butterflies are free to fly. In addition to the exhibit, there are items available for purchase, some free arts and craft projects, and Adopt-a-Butterfly kit for $9. A portion of adopt a butterfly kits go to benefit the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. The Network supports Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and Shands Hospital for Children at the University of Florida.

Get more info on exhibit at Oviedo Mall: 

Official Website with other tour dates in US: 


Tour guides are available to give a brief introduction upon entering the exhibit.

painted lady

Painted Lady butterflies are one of the main attractions when interacting with these flying friends. Children are allowed to hold Painted Ladies in the exhibit, but the other butterflies should be only observed to protect their fragile wings.

drinking artificial nectar painted lady mating

Artificial nectar allows a feasting spot for hungry insects. Butterflies are free to continue their “reproduction process”, but host plants are not necessary since this event’s focus is simply on live butterflies

julia heliconia

The other native Florida butterflies include some of the more colorful species such as this tropical Julia Heliconian.


Flowers helped to add a splash of vibrant colors and attract their pollinating companions.


This Common Buckeye was more illusive and camouflaged. It found itself a roosting spot and preferred to shy away from the additional attention that other butterflies were enjoying.

 zebra longwing

Zebra Longwings are always a welcoming sight. Their wings are long just as the name implies. They are more slow during flight as they glide along. Capturing a picture of one can turn into an exercise routine unless they are preoccupied with a captivating flower. Particularly Fire Bush is on this butterfly’s list of favorite nectar sources.

zebra longwing 2

Perfect shot! Caught one in action.


This tour would not be complete without showcasing the Monarch butterfly. This is one of the most familiar of all butterflies and worth preserving. You too can be part of helping in conserving butterflies! This spring, how about starting your own butterfly garden? Do some research and ask questions. It is so simple to get started. All you have to do is purchase a few nectar and host plants (caterpillar larval food plants). The Monarch host plant, Milkweed, is a great one to start with. Then, water, weed occasionally, avoid pesticides, and enjoy the butterflies. You will probably attract bees and other beneficial insects as well!

Visiting current butterfly events such as this one or your local butterfly nursery is a great way to get educated and start your journey into the world of butterflies!