June 6-14, 2015: Tallahassee, FL, Apalachee Bay, St. George Island, and more!
What’s a snake bird?
Why are longleaf pine forests set on fire on purpose?
How can I tell the difference between chicken-of-the woods and turkey tails — and why are neither of these feathered?
These are just a few of the many questions we’ll explore together on Fall Line South’s Red Hills to Forgotten Coast course this June 6-14. Tromping through swamps, paddling the open ocean, identifying carnivorous plants and wild mushrooms, sighting alligators and anhingas (the mysterious snake bird!), relaxing around a campfire, and learning how stars are born…it’s all in a day’s work in North Florida! Luckily, we will have nine of them (days, that is) to deepen our understanding of the natural world (and the role humans play in it) in one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet.
The course begins in the Red Hills, near Tallahassee, Florida. For the first few days, we will explore old-growth longleaf pine forests, sandhill forest ecosystems, and experience first-hand the way that human communities over the years — from ancient Native American sites to former plantations to urban farms in present-day downtown Tallahassee — have shaped, and been shaped by, the natural world.
While exploring the area’s nature and culture through day trips to some of the region’s most fascinating sites, we will be both scientists and artists, naturalists and poets, learning through hands-on experience about what makes this part of the world so unique. Each day, we will learn more about how to use both the scientist’s and the artist’s tools to deepen our knowledge of the natural world, by keeping scientific field journals, making field sketches, and writing about our experiences.
Next, we will journey to the Forgotten Coast, exploring the extremely important — and imperiled — Apalachicola River estuary, and experiencing all of the magic that happens where sea and land meet. We will learn about shorebirds and coastal ecosystems, including how climate change impacts our oceans. Along the way, we will be guided by experts in ornithology, ecology, writing, biology, mycology, geography, drawing, land management, astronomy, and environmental policy — just to name a few — who will challenge us to peel back the layers of our understanding of the outdoors. We will come away with not only a deeper appreciation for the natural world and our place in it, but also bursting with inspiration about how each of us can make a positive contribution toward its future.
As part of the Red Hills to Forgotten Coast adventure, you will:
- Explore the forests, lakes, rivers, and coastline of North Florida.
- Work hard and play hard with a small group of fellow travelers.
- Use scientific and creative inquiry to examine the natural world.
- Learn to identify and draw plants and animals of the region.
- Read and write about experiences in the swamps, oceans, and forests we visit.
- Experience the natural world without the distractions of daily life.
- Reflect on your relationship with nature, and the role of humans within the environment.
- Become competent in wilderness camping, paddling, and navigation.
- Challenge yourself, both intellectually and personally, through hands-on group experiences, study, and reflection.
- Create memories that will last a lifetime!