Home Away From Home

In 1851, the American songwriter Stephen C. Foster sang of the Okefenokee’s Suwannee River as “home” in the song, Old Folks at Home. And over 150 years later, my daughter and I are calling the Stephen C. Foster State Park our home-away-from-home! After a full day in the hot sun, and after toiling across Billy’s LakeContinue reading “Home Away From Home”

Okefenokee Woodpecker Excavations

The flooded prairies and hammocks of the Okefenokee Swamp hold acre after acre of standing, dead wood. An abundance of snags (dead trees) means abundant woodpeckers. There are eight species of woodpecker found in the Okefenokee, and one formerly occurring species – the Ivory Billed Woodpecker – that is now extinct. ​ The excavations ofContinue reading “Okefenokee Woodpecker Excavations”

One Live Alligator is Worth a Dozen Dead

An excerpt from naturalist Bradford Torrey’s 1894 book, A Florida Sketch-Book: “But as we were skirting along the shore I suddenly called ‘Hist! An alligator lay on the bank just before us. The boy turned his head, and instantly was all excitement. It was a big fellow, he said,—one of three big ones that inhabited theContinue reading “One Live Alligator is Worth a Dozen Dead”

Okefenokee Upland Pine Trail

By definition, a swamp doesn’t have much high ground not inundated with water. Therefore, there aren’t too many dry hiking trails in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. Canoeing and kayaking are the primary means of enjoying this wonderful habitat. There are a couple of islands – Floyds, Billy’s and a few others – where youContinue reading “Okefenokee Upland Pine Trail”

William Bartram’s “Little Green Chameleon”

– Excerpt from William Bartram’s Travels, Part II, Chapter X “THERE are several species of the lizard kind besides the alligator, which is by naturalist allowed to be a species of that genus. THE green lizard or little green chameleon is a pretty innocent creature; the largest I have seen were not more than seven inches inContinue reading “William Bartram’s “Little Green Chameleon””

Okefenokee Prairie Ecosystem

Excerpt from the 1926 History of the Okefenokee Swamp by AS McQueen and Hamp Mizell: “It is rather hard to determine how these so-called “prairies” of the Okefenokee came by this name. These prairies are better described as marshes, for they are covered by numerous water plants, such as the water lily, maiden cane, saw-grass, etc. OneContinue reading “Okefenokee Prairie Ecosystem”

Outside the Okefenokee: Greenfield Lake Park

When I visit the Okefenokee Swamp, I expect to see alligators. So when I find alligators in a small, local park, it is a special treat… I recently went on a short trip to attend a pioneer pastor’s conference in North Carolina. Even though we spent most of our weekend driving, my wife and IContinue reading “Outside the Okefenokee: Greenfield Lake Park”

Terrifying Screams of Owls in the Deep Swamp

“​The evening was however, extremely pleasant, a brisk cool breeze sprang up, and the skies were perfectly serene, the stars twinkling with uncommon briliancy. I stretched myself along before my fire; having the river, my little harbour and the stern of my vessel in view, and now through fatigue and weariness I fell asleep, butContinue reading “Terrifying Screams of Owls in the Deep Swamp”

Okefenokee Swamper Daniel Lee on Billy’s Island

Excerpt from the 1926 History of the Okefenokee Swamp by AS McQueen and Hamp Mizell: “Years ago an adventurous pioneer by the name of Dan Lee settled on Billy’s Island, erected a rough log cabin and for years made his living by the primitive means of hunting, fishing and trapping. When Dan Lee and his brideContinue reading “Okefenokee Swamper Daniel Lee on Billy’s Island”

He has come here to die…

​A spooky excerpt from A Florida Sketch-Book, by naturalist Bradford Torrey, written in 1895: ​There—going one day farther than usual—I found myself in the borderland of a cypress swamp. On one side was the lake, but between me and it were cypress-trees; and on the other side was the swamp itself, a dense wood growing inContinue reading “He has come here to die…”