Courage, My Daughter!

An excerpt from my March 11, 2015 Okefenokee nature journal:

A somewhat humorous photo taken by my 12-year-old daughter of an alligator disguised as a lily pad. Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia. March 11, 2015. © Please don’t steal my images. Download and use legally from

Wednesday, 9:45 AM – In exploring the swamps of Georgia and Florida in the 1700’s the naturalist William Bartram stated, “the alligators were in such incredible numbers, and so close together from shore to shore, that it would have been easy to have walked across on their heads, had the animals been harmless.” Although they may not be as numerous as in Bartram’s day, there were still plenty of gators to see on our short guided boat boat ride across Billy’s Lake. ​Biologists estimate about 12,000 alligators reside throughout the entire Okefenokee.

​At one point, our guide pulled the boat especially close to one large gator and encouraged my daughter to the front to get a closer photo.  While she was perched on the bow of the boat, the guide kept the boat slowly moving forward until the gator gave a huge splash while simultaneously turning and submerging. Amanda was just as quickly back in her seat at the rear of the boat! When she got her courage back up, she was able to get near the front of the boat again and got a humorous shot of a gator “hiding” under a lily pad.

iNaturalist observation:

Published by William Wise

Hi, I’m conservation photographer and nature writer William Wise. Nature journaling and wildlife photography has been a favorite pastime since the ‘90s. I graduated from University of Georgia Warnell Forestry School's wildlife program in 1996. I'm currently an animal shelter manager/photographer and reside in Athens, Georgia, USA with my wife and two teenage daughters. My website is a wildlife and birding photo website documenting the beauty, design and wonder of creation. I have a deep love of the Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia. I became a devoted Christian in 1993 under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation. I am also a guest author at Lee's Birdwatching Adventures and The Creation Club. The theme of my blogging comes from The Message version of Psalms 104 -- "What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, You made earth overflow with your wonderful creations."

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