Prairies, Lakes, Islands and Hammocks

An Okefenokee Swamp Panorama; March 12, 2015. ©

Within the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, there are several habitats contained within one “swamp” ecosystem: lakes, prairies, hammocks and island forests. With such a variety, all day paddling does not become monotonous or boring.

​The open lakes leave one out in full sun with expansive views all around; then the lakes collapse into narrow channels bordered by tall Cypress with the curtains of Spanish Moss obscuring a view into the deeper reaches of the swamp; then opening again into large, grassy prairies with well-spaced, tall snags reaching into open sky.

American Alligator basking on a fallen cypress in an Okefenokee Swamp Prairie habitat. Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia. March 12, 2015. © Please don’t steal my images. Download and use legally at

The turns and curves of the canoe trails, further concealed by large Cypress buttresses and patches of vegetation, limit the oncoming view, and constantly renew that “what’s up ahead?” anticipation. The color contrasts of earth tones keep the senses awakened: medium browns of Cypress bark, swaying grays of Spanish Moss, floating rich greens of vegetation, dark liquid tannin swirling below, and blue heaven above. Colorful white, red and yellow stems of Neverwet emerge from the water adding flashes of vibrant, eye-catching color to the scene. A beautiful place of which the eye and mind never become weary.

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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