Wednesday, October 27, 2010

One Last Field Trip

Future scientists... scuba divers... veterinarians....
On Monday we made a return trip to Mote Aquarium in Sarasota.  We just loved seeing all the animals again.  A few tears were shed (by a certain young, tender-hearted girl) when we said goodbye to the manatees.  She hopes to 'adopt' an aquarium animal in the near future.  On our way home we stopped at Casey Key to go swimming in the Gulf.  It was low tide and the drop-off was close to shore (not deep, but Aidan went from knees to armpits in two steps!).  We did walk out to the sand bar and body surf which was very fun.  The highlight of the day was shelling.  Aidan was the first to find a fighting conch shell.  The amazing thing is that this shell was still whole and had not been battered by the surf.  Evan, Naomi, and I joined in and we found 25-30 more fighting conch shells in varying degrees of wholeness.  The fun thing about this stop is that it was a random beach I picked out of a travel book!
A pumpkin manatee
An unbroken Atlantic giant cockle.
( oops--I forgot to take pictures of the fighting conch shells.)
Wave jumping!  Whoo-hoo!!!

Today we made our last field trip from the condo.  We visited the Six Mile Cypress Slough.  Basically, this is where the Caloosahatchie River flows, very slowly, through Fort Myers into Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve, and then into the Gulf of Mexico.  The job of a slough is to slow down the flow of a river so the sediment can settle and clear water can flow through to the bay.  The trees and vegetation that live in a slough feed on the sediments, further purifying the water.

One of the great trees that grow in the slough is the amazing Cypress tree.  This tree can live in water close to nine months a year.  The trees have unique roots that spread and intertwine creating a very sturdy base, plus they help bring oxygen to the trees.  Our guide said that even in hurricanes, which thankfully don't come through SW Florida often, these trees survive quite well.

Cypress trees and roots
The slough also is home to many wild animals.  Some of the animals we saw on our trip today were turtles, a feral pig, two alligators, a blue heron, and a black-capped night heron (unusual in the fact that this is a nocturnal animal, and it was eating).  We had the advantage of being on a raised walkway so we were not on any menus!  Other animals that have been seen in the slough are raccoons, bobcats, panthers, bears, white-tail deer, woodpeckers, and numerous birds and butterflies.

Small gator
Feral pig
It was a very hot, humid day and the A/C was a welcome relief on the ride home, plus the promise of the pool after lunch!

Before heading down to the pool, I had to make good on my promise to take the kids miniature golfing.  Yesterday we washed and vacuumed the truck with the bribe reward of mini golfing at our favorite place, Safari Golf.  So, in the 90-degree heat we golfed (I'm the only one who seemed to notice the heat).  The bonus for me was 1) I got three holes-in-one swinging leftie and 2) it was "Wacky Wednesday" so all games were just $4!  Yeah!!!

Crazy golfers
A note about tomorrow... we will be cleaning the condo, doing laundry, packing our suitcases and the truck, and having a lemonade stand.  The kids and I talked about how important it is to help others, even when we're not at home.  We talked about food pantries, shelters, and other people who need help, but the idea that everyone liked was helping families in Africa get clean drinking water.  For $200 we can help Samaritan's Purse purchase a home water filter for one family to have clean water for life.  We put up fliers, baked cookies and brownies, and told people at the pool what we were doing.  So, tomorrow afternoon from 2:30-4:00 you can think of us as we "Make A Stand For Clean Water."

Here are your trivia questions:

28.  The word slough rhymes with:  a) tough   b) stew   c) low   d) cow

29.  True or False:  The water in a slough is fresh.

30.  Because cypress tree roots are under water for great lengths of time, here is a special root section that grows above water and looks like a stump.  What is that root "stump" called?

31.  What two teams are in the World Series?  Which team has won more World Series titles?  (2 points)

No comments:

Post a Comment