Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Everglades Conservation Atlas

Last Saturday I went for a walk on the Conservancy’s Brigg’s boardwalk at Rookery Bay.  I made a new friend there, Joe Davenport of Manship Films.  He interviewed me for a project called the Greater Everglades Conservation Atlas, which will allow online visitors to explore the greater Everglades of Florida in a virtual format. 

The project was conceived and created by the Legacy Institute for Nature and Culture (LINC), and I feel quite honored to be a part of it.  Ten artists are creating artwork in different spots throughout Florida: my area is the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Reserve.

Saturday was an overcast and cold day.  There were cool breezes that lingered with a kind of softness that hinted at moisture in the air.  The sun was visible here and there through the tattered blanket of clouds – reflecting the kind of light that mutes colors but also makes them a bit luminous.  We heard songbirds, but only saw a few.  In the distance across the lake were great egrets, and perhaps some ibis, flocking in to the shoreline around noon. 

The path to the pavilion winds through pines and palmettos...and poison ivy!

The boardwalk winds through several habitats: scrub, hammock, wetlands, and pine flatwoods.  At a raised open pavilion I made a small watercolor sketch of the surrounding slash pines and palmettos.  Above me was a gnarled old pine silhouetted against the grey skies.  Later we walked through mangrove and buttonwood stands, and I sketched some of the leaves and branches I saw along the boardwalk. 

(You can click on the image to view it larger)

I’m not sure what my subject will be yet for the Atlas, there are so many possibilities and I want to do them all!  Alas, like most projects, there are deadlines.  Limitations are good, though, because they keep us moving and open us to creative solutions.

Another facet of the Everglades Conservation Atlas is the Florida Wildlife CorridorExpedition, which started today (January 17th)!  Starting at the southern tip of peninsular Florida, a team will hike, bike, and paddle 1,000 miles along the Florida Wildlife Corridor, ending 100 days later in northern Florida.  You can see their route here;  you can also click here to follow their progress on Facebook.

I wish them all the best!