Historical reenactor Mike Adams stole the show at the first event of “Beyond the Trail: the Art of Science,” held at Palmetto Leaves Regional Park, when he brought to life William Bartram. Participants heard first-hand what it was like for “Billy” to experience Florida in all of its grandeur and mysteriousness as a traveler in the late 1700s:
“I heard a noise about 10 feet from where I set up camp; snarling and scratching. I went to investigate but caught just a blurred glimpse. He was big and dog-like, but this was no ordinary dog. He had whiskers, like long needles, jutting out from under his slender nose, and a tail—big and bushy. I creeped over and saw a hole. I got down on all fours and looked the beast in the eye. All I could see were its beady yellow eyes staring back at me. What was it? Well…”
Participants had a great time learning about successful nature writers who have made impacts in the environment and the public’s understanding of current conservation issues, such as William Bartram.
After an entertaining presentation, full of collected artifacts to pass around, students and community partners set out on kayaks in Julington Creek to recover litter left behind from Hurricane Irma. Participants did not let anything stand in their way from reaching plastic bags, bottles and wrappers hiding in the trees along the shoreline.
To wind down from the paddle, participants put their observational skills to the test and wrote about their experiences from the paddle, like true nature writers.
“I am always impressed by how quickly nature seems to take back what is hers. The wooden docks along the bank, if not properly maintained, slowly begin to decompose. The plants are swift to move in and pull things back into the water and mud. One can imagine a day in the future when little or no evidence of our invasive species exists. Aside from the occasional heron flying over-head, there appears to be very little wildlife visible to us. However, you get the feeling that they are everywhere, surrounding us, awaiting the sundown to then emerge and begin their activities”
—Joaquin Morales– B.T.T. Participant
Everyone left happy, after joyous conversations shared over lunch. The day was a great kickoff to the series, and it will be exciting to see what the next event has in store!