A summer spent in the oyster beds

Long before oysters make it to local restaurants, their populations in Florida's lagoons must continue to be plentiful.

Long before oysters make it to local restaurants, their populations in Florida’s lagoons must continue to be plentiful.

ORLANDO — In Central Florida, there are plenty of ways to spend the summer: at the beach, taking in the theme parks, or hitting the golf course.
Linda Walters is looking for folks to spend their summer days in another way: visiting some of the region’s most spectacularly beautiful outdoor parks, and checking out the oyster beds.
Walters, a biology professor the University of Central Florida, is looking for volunteers to help out this summer on a crucial ecological project: to restore Florida’s eroding shorelines, and to help oysters in the lagoons.
Walters is sponsoring a variety of community projects that involve native plants and the rebuilding of colonies of oyster beds in the Mosquito Lagoon.
These projects are being done in June and July. Continue reading

At picturesque Lake Eola, it’s Movieola time

Orlando's Lake Eola Park is hosting a Movieola series through August.

Orlando’s Lake Eola Park is hosting a Movieola series through August.

ORLANDO — Lake Eola Park has long been considered one of the jewels of downtown Orlando, a place that offers boat rides on the lake, an evening light show set to music, restaurants for dining by the water, and special events like the Downtown Food & Wine Fest in February.
Now the city in trying to get out the word that Lake Eola is the ideal place to do something else: catch an outdoor movie.
Last month, the city launched Movieola, a free monthly movie series in Lake Eola Park.
It kicked off on Friday, April 25 with the animated hit “Frozen,” and the Movieola series continues on the last Friday of every month through August — an entire summer of movies in the park. Continue reading

Wildlife hike on Friday shows Lake County’s natural beauty, thanks to preservation efforts.

Lake County’s natural beauty got some preservation help from a ballot referendum in 2004. (Photo by Steve Schwartz).

PAISLEY – When park rangers like Gallus Quigley tell area residents they have an opportunity to “go wild” on Friday, it’s not quite in the same way as hitting the nightclubs in downtown Orlando late in the evening.
But he does hope that the experience of participating in Friday’s wildlife hike is even better.
“We’re going to go out and I will be leading this hike, and you’ll almost certainly see sandhill cranes and wild turkey, and possibly river otter and pine warblers,” said Quigley, the trails specialist for Ellis Acres Reserve.
“And then we have a walk through the pasture area, and we’ve actually run across black bear,” he said, adding that for local residents and visitors alike who love Florida’s great outdoors, this is the hike they’ve been waiting for.
“It’s more along the lines of what Florida is, not what we perceive it to be,” he said. “We’re going to the old Florida.”
Park Rangers with Lake County’s Parks & Trails Division are inviting nature enthusiasts to explore Ellis Acres Reserve, which is located at 25302 County Road 42 in Paisley, during a guided wildlife hike on Friday from 8-11 a.m.
The hike will consist of walking less than two miles along unpaved and sometimes uneven trails before reaching the shoreline of Lake Akron. Anyone who comes along is encouraged to bring water, snacks, sunscreen, insect repellent, a hat and hiking shoes. Reservations are not required. Continue reading

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