Growing Mangroves

wpid-20150726_102945.jpg

Mangroves are an important part of our ecosystem here in South Florida.  They are trees that grow in brackish water along the intracoastal and serve as home to many living creatures, both in the water and on land.  Many of the iconic pictures you see of Florida- especially pictures you see of the keys- feature these beautiful trees coming out of the water.  The photo above is one that I took on a recent kayaking trip of some red mangroves and some beautiful ibises that were looking to snack on small fish and snails that were living beneath them.

Mangroves drop pencil-shaped floating pods into the water that serve as their seeds.- These are called propagules.  One end of the propagule is heavier so that they float vertically, allowing the bottom end to sprout roots while the top end stays above water as the leaves and stems begin to grow.  Propagules can float out to sea from Florida shores to different neighboring Caribbean countries.  Inversely, we often get a few wash up on our shores from other places as well.

They can be found washed up on our beaches all the time and floating all over our intracoastal water ways.   Turns out, they are easy to grown and actually make very pretty and easy to maintain house plants.  I decided to collect a few propagules over the weekend and give it a try.

Here is a really cool YouTube video I found with great info on growing them in either dirt or in fresh water.  They can also be grown in saltwater aquariums, but this would increase the amount of maintenance you would have to do on your tank.:

Finally, here are a few pics of my propagules by the windowsill.  I’ll be filling you in on their progress:

Kayaking in South Florida: A guide on what to pack and wear

Quote

image

My lovely friend invited me to go kayaking with her in Jupiter over the weekend. Being up for any adventure I, of course, enthusiastically jumped at the opportunity! I’ve only been kayaking one other time and it was in a double kayak through shallow, brackish water at a nature preserve in Palm Beach. This was my first time in a single kayak, pushing through current and avoiding boats and their wakes in intracoastal waters.

I was intimidated at first, and a bit uncoordinated, but I got the hang of it rather quickly.  My Garmin watch logged 5 miles by the time we had finished. Not bad for a novice!

I felt I had packed and prepared pretty well for our adventure and learned a few things I’d do differently for next time. 

Here is a suggested packing list for a So Flo Kayaking adventure:

To take with you on the kayak:
* water proof bags to stick your wallet in.
* water proof phone case so that you can take photos
* Sports/ water resistant SPF 30 or higher
* Light snacks such as granola bars or nuts
* insulated water bottle

To leave in the car for when you get back:
* towel
* flip flops
* dry clothes to change into

Here is a suggested list of things to wear:

* A hat that will remain fixed on your head via ties, elastic, velcro etc. (Or else the wind will knock it right off and into the water)
* Sunglasses
* fingerless gloves (like the kind used for cycling, lifting weights, yoga etc.) to help prevent blisters.
* bathing suite
* dry-wick clothing
* water shoes

Please comment here on any other suggestions for things I may have forgotten! 

Here are some pics of our adventure:

Do your part!

plastic bags and sea turtles

Yeah, I was lazy today… I skipped my run.  It was just too hot and my heart wasn’t in it.  My heart, however, is alway in for a walk on the beach.  Today was no exception and it made me feel slightly less guilty about not running.

As I walked towards the staircase down to the beach, I saw a dispenser for plastic grocery bags, intended to encourage people to fill these bags with their garbage while at the beach.  I took one on a whim and decided to fill it as I walked to the inlet and back- my go-to 2 mile walk.

What I found was really surprising and disappointing.  Empty chip bags, Starbucks cups, Styrofoam, soda cans and plastic bottles… What is wrong with people?

Did you know what most adult sea turtles have plastic in their GI system?  Did you also know that plastic in the GI system of any sea creature causes them to feel bloated and full, resulting in them starving to death because they don’t feel the need to eat?  These facts sadden me and make me feel concerned when I see people leave remnants of their picnics all over the beach with complete disregard for their environment.

Imagine how clean our beaches would be if we all committed to picking up our own garbage and making a commitment to filling one small bag with the garbage we find each time with visit?!  Fun thought and maybe something that we can encourage our younger generations to get into the habit of doing.

Besides beach-combing for trash, I found some treasures which redeemed the evening, most notably a shark’s tooth!