11 episodes

Naturally Florida is a podcast about Florida's natural areas and the wild things that live here.

This podcast is brought to you by UF/IFAS Extension's Natural Resources programs in Polk and Pinellas Counties.

Naturally Florida Shannon Carnevale and Lara Milligan

    • Science
    • 5.0 • 25 Ratings

Naturally Florida is a podcast about Florida's natural areas and the wild things that live here.

This podcast is brought to you by UF/IFAS Extension's Natural Resources programs in Polk and Pinellas Counties.

    Is it getting hotter in our cities? It's the Urban Heat Island effect!

    Is it getting hotter in our cities? It's the Urban Heat Island effect!

    Florida is known for being hot in the summer, but Florida cities are even hotter. Energy from the sun gets absorbed by buildings and paved areas (like roads) which makes the whole urban area significantly hotter than natural areas. This is a phenomenon known as an urban heat island. Today we are going to explore urban heat islands and their associated impacts on our natural world.

    Learn more:

    Climate Kids - https://climatekids.nasa.gov/heat-islands/
    Learn About Heat Islands - https://www.epa.gov/heatislands/learn-about-heat-islands
    Planting Trees for Energy Savings - https://gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu/design/landscaping-for-specific-sites/planting-trees-for-energy-savings.html
    Public health benefits of urban trees: https://www.nature.org/content/dam/tnc/nature/en/documents/Public_Health_Benefits_Urban_Trees_FINAL.pdf

    How You Can Help:

    Plant a tree – Planting trees that shade west and east-facing walls will help to keep your house cool during summer, but make sure to do your research so you plant the right tree in the right place. Find your local Extension office here: https://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/find-your-local-office/ OR read information on planting trees: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdf%5CEP%5CEP31400.pdf
    Support green infrastructure - Let your city or town know that you value a greener city. Talk to commissioners, speak at meetings, and let your thoughts be heard! You can learn more about green infrastructure and its potential impact on your local built environment, HERE: https://soils.ifas.ufl.edu/extension/videos/low-impact-development/ OR http://www.pinellascounty.org/publicworks/pdf/green-infrastructure.pdf
    Encourage neighbors, family, friends, and local governments to keep current trees intact - Large, mature trees provide significant pollution removal among many other ecosystem services including mental and physical health benefits.

    Sources for this Episode:

    Air Pollution Removal and Temperature Reductions by Gainesville’s Urban Forest - https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdf/FR/FR27800.pdf
    T. Chakraborty, X. Lee, "A simplified urban-extent algorithm to characterize surface urban heat islands on a global scale and examine vegetation control on their spatiotemporal variability", International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation. 74, 269-280, 2019.
    Volatile trees - https://earthdata.nasa.gov/learn/sensing-our-planet/volatile-trees
     

    If you enjoyed this episode, please consider sharing it with a friend who might enjoy learning about Florida's natural areas and the wild things that live here!


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    • 18 min
    American White Pelicans, Florida's Other Snowbird

    American White Pelicans, Florida's Other Snowbird

    American white pelicans are one of the largest birds in North America with wingspans up to 9.5 feet across. These majestic birds migrate to Florida for winter feeding grounds, before retreating north and west for the breeding season. Floridians may see these snowy white cousins of the year-round resident brown pelican, feeding in shallow water or soaring across the sky in silent flying V’s.

    Learn more:

    Read and share our blog post on American White Pelicans: http://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/polkco/2017/11/22/american-white-pelicans-floridas-other-snowbird/ 
    Learn about feather adaptations birds have in "Bird Feathers: A Guide to North American Species" by S. David Scott, and Casey McFarland, https://www.google.com/books/edition/Bird_Feathers/LhdExsnFNKIC?hl=en&gbpv=0 The black flight feathers described by Lara are included on pages 35-38.

    How You Can Help:
    Resist the urge to feed Florida's waterbirds
    Read more about why, here: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/UW193 

    Resist the urge to scare a flock into flight while enjoying Florida's waterways
    American White Pelicans are very shy, compared to other water birds. Harassment of their flocks may lead them to abandon a feeding area, increasing their risk of exhaustion or starvation during their migration. So, consider avoiding flocks you may encounter on our beautiful waterways, give them a wide berth. 

    Encourage your local government to support the protection and restoration of Florida's wetlands and waterways
    American white pelicans and other migratory waterbirds in Florida, such as ducks, depend on healthy aquatic ecosystems with ample vegetation, prey items, and good water quality. 



    If you enjoyed this episode, please consider sharing it with a friend who might enjoy learning about Florida's natural areas and the wild things that live here!

    If you're active on iNaturalist, consider joining our iNaturalist project, Naturally Florida's Listener Observations, here: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/naturally-florida-s-listener-observations




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    • 23 min
    Florida on Fire: Prescribed Fire in the Sunshine State

    Florida on Fire: Prescribed Fire in the Sunshine State

    In this episode, we explore fire in Florida, what ecosystems burn and why, the history and current state of fire in Florida, and some neat adaptations found in plants and animals of fire-depended ecosystems.

    Learn more:

    Fire and Habitat - https://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/archive/hot_topics/environment/fire_habitat.shtml
    Effects of Fire on Florida’s Wildlife and Wildlife Habitat - https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/uw132
    Wind and Trees: Lessons Learned from Hurricanes (Mentioned by Shannon) - https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/FR173

    How You Can Help:
    Consider Creating a Firewise Landscape -
    These documents outline actions homeowners can take to better prepare their landscape for a possible wildfire:


    https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/FR076
    https://www.fdacs.gov/Forest-Wildfire/For-Communities/Firewise-USA/Create-Defensible-Space-Around-Homes
    https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/FR334
    https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/FR147
    https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/FR151

    Support Prescribed Burning Programs –
    These resources outline prescribed burning efforts throughout Florida:


    https://www.fdacs.gov/Forest-Wildfire/Wildland-Fire/Prescribed-Fire
    https://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/habitat/prescribed-fire/

    Sources for this Episode:

    Gopher Frogs, Burrows, and Fire: Interactions in the Longleaf Pine Ecosystem - https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/UW295
    Effects of fire history, tree age, and canopy seed bank size on serotiny of Ocala sand pine (Pinus clausa var. clausa) in Florida scrub - https://www.jstor.org/stable/26477959
    Chapter 9 – Ecological Effects - https://www.fdacs.gov/content/download/39688/file/pft_chapter_09_ecological_effects.pdf

    If you enjoyed this episode, please consider sharing it with a friend who might enjoy learning about Florida's natural areas and the wild things that live here!

    If you're active on iNaturalist, consider joining our iNaturalist project, Naturally Florida's Listener Observations, here: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/naturally-florida-s-listener-observations


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    • 19 min
    Birds and Their Houses: Cavity Nesters in Florida

    Birds and Their Houses: Cavity Nesters in Florida

    Birds come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. They play a critical role in our ecosystems, keeping insect populations in-check, serving as a valuable prey item for our larger mammals, and helping to disperse seeds! Just like people, birds need food, water and shelter to survive. In this episode, we will explore a special type of bird called cavity nesters, who, as the name implies, need cavities to nest, reproduce and thrive.

    Sign Up:


    Register for our upcoming webinar all about cavity nesters and consider signing up for a workshop to build your own Eastern Screech Owl nest box: https://cavitynesters21.eventbrite.com/?aff=anchor

    Learn more:


    Helping Cavity-Nesters in Florida - https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/UW058
    All About Birdhouses: Next Box Placement - https://nestwatch.org/learn/all-about-birdhouses/nest-box-placement/
    Bird Buddies - http://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/pinellasco/2021/10/11/bird-buddies/

    How You Can Help:


    Provide snags – Snags are standing dead trees, and they provide excellent natural habitat for cavity nesters. Primary cavity nesters, like woodpeckers will seek out dying trees to excavate as this wood is usually softer and easier to chip away.
    Build or install an artificial nest box ­– It’s important to build the right house for the right bird. There are many factors to consider when constructing a nest box. Be sure to check out our blog for more details.
    Provide other forms of shelter – Native plants of various heights provide excellent cover for birds and other wildlife species, plus they provide an excellent source of food.

    Sources for this Episode:


    Bird sounds by Brian Henderson, XC457516. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/457516
    Helping Cavity-Nesters in Florida - https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/UW058
    “The Sibley Guide to Birds” by David Allen Sibley
    “A Birder’s Guide to Pinellas County (Florida)” by Ron Smith
    All About Birdhouses: Next Box Placement - https://nestwatch.org/learn/all-about-birdhouses/nest-box-placement/
    Predator Guards Carry Their Weight - https://nestwatch.org/connect/blog/predator-guards-carry-their-weight/

    If you enjoyed this episode, please consider sharing it with a friend who might enjoy learning about Florida's natural areas and the wild things that live here!

    If you're active on iNaturalist, consider joining our iNaturalist project, Naturally Florida's Listener Observations, here: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/naturally-florida-s-listener-observations


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    • 20 min
    (Part 2) Florida's most recognizable reptile: the American alligator

    (Part 2) Florida's most recognizable reptile: the American alligator

    This episode is the second half of our discussion on the American alligator. This episode will focus on busting common myths and highlighting key ways we can learn to coexist with this critically important species.

    Learn more:

    Watch an 8ft+ alligator climb a 6ft fence: https://youtu.be/z7DMjQJD7vM (ABC Channel 6, WATE)
    Living with Alligators: a Florida Reality: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/uw230

    How You Can Help:

    Never feed an alligator - If you suspect anyone of feeding alligators, intentionally or not, please consider reporting it to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). You will not get anyone in trouble! The 1st offense is a warning and education visit. Call the wildlife alert hotline: 888-404-FWCC (3922). Cell phone users in Florida can dial *FWC or #FWC, depending on the service provider.

    Sources for this Episode:

    Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Human-Alligator Incidents Fact Sheet (Updated April 2019). https://myfwc.com/media/1776/human-alligatorincidentfactsheet.pdf
    Ober, et al., Managing Conflicts with Wildlife: Living with Alligators. https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/uw393
    Swiman, et al., Living with Alligators: A Florida Reality. https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/uw230
    Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission: Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program. https://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/wildlife/alligator/snap/
    Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission: Alligator Management Program. https://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/wildlife/alligator/



    If you enjoyed this episode, please consider sharing it with a friend who might enjoy learning about Florida's natural areas and the wild things that live here!

    If you're active on iNaturalist, consider joining our iNaturalist project, Naturally Florida's Listener Observations, here: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/naturally-florida-s-listener-observations


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    Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/naturallyflorida/message

    • 17 min
    (Part 1) Florida's most recognizable reptile: the American alligator

    (Part 1) Florida's most recognizable reptile: the American alligator

    Florida is known for having alligators, a fact that brings fear to many visitors and residents. But, alligators are an important species in many of our ecosystems. While we continue to develop the State, our chances of encountering an alligator increase, but there are many ways we can learn to coexist with them.

    This episode is the first episode in a two-part series and will discuss basic biology and some common alligator behavior.

    Learn more:

    Living with Alligators: a Florida Reality: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/uw230
    Information on alligator hunting in Florida (FWC) - https://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/wildlife/alligator/harvest/hunt-guide/

    How You Can Help:

    Never feed an alligator - If you suspect anyone of feeding alligators, intentionally or not, please consider reporting it to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). You will not get anyone in trouble! The 1st offense is a warning and education visit. Call the wildlife alert hotline: 888-404-FWCC (3922). Cell phone users in Florida can dial *FWC or #FWC, depending on the service provider.

    Sources for this Episode:

    Ober, et al., Managing Conflicts with Wildlife: Living with Alligators. https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/uw393
    Swiman, et al., Living with Alligators: A Florida Reality. https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/uw230
    Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission: Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program. https://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/wildlife/alligator/snap/
    Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission: Alligator Management Program. https://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/wildlife/alligator/



    If you enjoyed this episode, please consider sharing it with a friend who might enjoy learning about Florida's natural areas and the wild things that live here!

    If you're active on iNaturalist, consider joining our iNaturalist project, Naturally Florida's Listener Observations, here: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/naturally-florida-s-listener-observations


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    Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/naturallyflorida/message

    • 15 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
25 Ratings

25 Ratings

SQUINTY187 ,

Fantastic

This podcast is fantastic. It would be great if they were longer, maybe 30-45 minutes. Very knowledgeable.

Carol165 ,

Perfect to listen with your kids too!

Fantastic content! They’re so knowledgeable and have a enticing way to share information. My 13 and 11 year olds enjoyed it very much as well. We are looking forward to more episodes.

MishelleKay ,

Great podcast about Florida’s natural areas!

Just finished listening to the storm water episode. I love how Lara and Shannon explain topics relevant to our beautiful natural areas in Florida in a fun and interesting way and their tips for what we can do to help keep them healthy! Can’t wait to listen to more episodes.

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