Saturday, March 17, 2012
A BANANA SPIDER...
...captures the photographic attention of my morning's companions, Larry and Sandy while we did a self-guided hike of the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area; just around the corner from our winter digs in Vero Beach.
Known as ORCA (with a whale-sized smile) it is 336 acres of protected land along the inter-coastal waterway which has recorded 220 species of birds and 132 different, sub-tropical plants.
A unique feature of the area is the two impoundments of 132 and 52 acres respectively that create coastal wetlands by a system of dikes which are flooded during mosquito breeding season. Salt marsh mosquitoes will not lay their eggs on standing water thus preventing mosquito production without using pesticides.
The area features a couple miles of hiking trails in its jungle-like environment and an elevated pier which gives visitors a splendid view of the wetland foliage and brackish water inlets.
A fairly long hike is required to arrive at the site of the "Largest Slash Pine in the World," where visitors now find only the decaying trunk of what was once a majestic tree with a pathetic sign that proclaims "Awesome Pine, You are here" like a bad joke.
The sign also points to an "Historic Quarry." At that trail's end we found not a "quarry" but what Ohioans would describe as a Vernal Pool; a depression that fills with water in the Spring and creates a breeding environment for many creatures.
As I constructed this story the local paper arrived with an article headlined, "Self-Interest, Audacity of Lawmakers is Astounding." The writer concluded their self-interest knows no bounds; "The only members of the public they truly are committed to serving is themselves."
He made the point of their scandalous perk of nearly free medical insurance as opposed to what folks in the private sector must pay--if they have any insurance at all.
Eliminating that perk alone would be a helpful step toward restoring funding for preservation and enjoyment of essential areas like ORCA.