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Borrego Springs, CA

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Carnivorous Vegetarians?

Is that an oxymoron?   My assignment for the first half of my day at work yesterday was to ‘roam’.  What that means is that I’m supposed to wander along the Swamp Island Wildlife Drive, mingle with the visitors, and provide interpretive services to anyone I encounter along the way.  Since helping the public to enjoy our National Wildlife Refuges and understand what they are seeing is one of my favorite things to do, I was really looking forward to this time.

However, there aren’t very many visitors driving around early on a Tuesday morning in late October on the refuge.  So after my first lonely drive around the loop, I decided to concentrate on finding the carnivorous pitcher plants that are found in this area.  I figured if anyone drove by, noticed the official vehicle, and saw me getting into contortions to take photos, they might ask me what I was looking at.  I could then launch into an explanation of these most interesting plants.

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I took these photos of the pitcher plants near Mississippi Sandhill Crane NWR last April.  There are two different varieties found on this refuge, so I was excited about documenting them.

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The first variety I found were the hooded pitcher plants.  Because it was only in the low 40’s, I didn’t have to worry too much about alligators.  It was a bit too chilly for them to be moving about.  These hooded varieties don’t seem to have that frilly top to them that I found in Mississippi.

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The second variety I was looking for and found was the parrot pitcher plant.  Last April, a huge tractor was used to mow the wildlife drive roadside for some reason, and most of the pitcher plants were chopped off.  Luckily, they started to grow back, but you can see evidence of the mowing.  These parrot pitchers grow low to the ground and spread out in a circle, rather than standing up straight.  I was quite pleased to find a few growing back.  Pitcher plants are exactly that… plants, but they lure insects into their openings to get trapped and digested.  They can’t get all the nourishment they need from the soil, so they’ve evolved into carnivorous plants. 

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                                                            “ALRIGHT RECRUITS… TEN HUT!!”

When I got back to the rig and looked at my photos, I just couldn’t help but think of some subtitles.  Nerd smile

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                                    “DID YOU HEAR THE ONE ABOUT THE TRAVELING SALESMAN…?”

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“WHEN I WAS YOUNG, SON, I HAD TO WALK TWO MILES UPHILL AND BACK IN THE SNOW TO GET TO SCHOOL!”

This morning, I finally got to meet with Gracie Gooch, the volunteer coordinator, about my time here.  First up on my agenda was to talk about my hip problems.  She was very open to my plans to have it all investigated at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, FL, and to support whatever I have to get done to get back to normal.  That was a great relief to me.  I wonder if my brother, Kurt, would consider coming to Okefenokee to help me out if surgery is in my future?  I’ll be calling the Mayo clinic tomorrow to get the ball rolling.

I then spoke with the assistant manager of the refuge about developing some bird tour programs here.  Although the refuge is on the Coastal Birding Route, they’ve never had bird tours here since they’ve never had any volunteers interested or qualified to lead bird tours before.  Color me happy!  I’ll be investigating and developing a proposal for such a program during the next couple of weeks.  I really think I’m going to like it here!  Open-mouthed smile 

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

23 comments:

  1. What interesting plants. I loved your captions, they fit the picture perfectly.

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  2. Oh Judy! I really hope the birding tours work out for you! That would be so exciting! I've spent some time at the Mayo in Jacksonville... helped with a friend who had a liver transplant... it is a WONDERFUL facility and if you can get fixed up, I'm sure that's where you can get it done! Best Wishes!

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  3. Judy, if you're happy there, then we will be happy, too! Color us happy to see what kind of bird pics you'll come up with. Love the photo captions... keep 'em coming!

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  4. Was reading the captions for your pitcher plant photos & had to laugh. My two granddaughters really do walk uphill both ways to the high school in the snow....though it's only a couple blocks. Up-hill & then down to the school....reverse on the way back. Somehow they don't think that's funny. :)

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  5. I can really relate to some of those subtitles!

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  6. Loved your captions almost as much as the pictures. So glad to hear the excitement in your voice in this post.

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  7. Really glad to hear the refuge will support you in whatever medical decisions you make.

    You, of course, would be perfect to lead bird tours! Hope that comes to pass.

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  8. You, Judy, are a national treasure. The birds, the photos, all the education you provide. Wow. You are much appreciated!

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  9. How about "little pitchers have big ears"? It sounds like your new volunteer assignment should be enjoyable for you.

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  10. Always wanted to see a swamp...Let me know when and I'll be there....
    Kurt

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  11. Great captions; and I see Kurt is ready and willing to help out ... now to see what the Mayo has to say.

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  12. I bet you are so going to enjoy your time there! And I'm very glad to hear you are getting that hip seen about!

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  13. Love the new header picture. It sounds like the swamp will be a great fit for you. They had the wandering volunteers at Corkscrew Swamp near Naples, Florida too. I couldn't help but think of you when we were there. It might be a nice place for you to volunteer some time.

    Hopefully your hip won't require surgery.

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  14. I think you've found your niche! :)
    Good luck with getting the ball rolling at Mayo.

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  15. I hope your hip is an easy fix. Bird tours!! Did you die and go to heaven?

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  16. Killer plants! I knew it - the veggies are out to get us.

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  17. I bet you are great at that job!

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  18. You are going to be such an asset to the Wildlife Refuges. I am sure they are thrilled to have you. It is going to be fun to see how you develop the program.
    Good luck with getting a quick appointment at the Mayo Clinic. Hope they can help you without surgery!

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  19. You know I love a good pitcher plant story! Nice to know they have them there too. I'm going to start a list of places around the country that have them so I can see all the different varieties. That first picture sure is a beauty!

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  20. Color ME cautious..about walking among the underbrush...We walked around a corner on a path once and didn't realize the gator until we were past...Jeepers creepers....Love those pitcher plants..I wish I had been more attentive in Botany...

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  21. You say it was okay to walk about because at 40 degrees the gators wouldn't be around. But you know there is always one that doesn't get the memo...

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  22. I like it for you. Good to be in a place where people listen to you and want you to do what works for you.

    Loved your captions, too.

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  23. butterbean carpenterNovember 22, 2012 at 12:46 PM

    Howdy Judy & Emma,
    The header-pic looks just like an oil painting; WONDERFUL!!! Sure do hope your hips get fixed and the pain gets GONE and you can still do your 'thing' in the woods & swamps!! You're a wonderful example & advertisement for the NWRs; you make it so enticing and exciting!!! Making Emma behave is always going to be exciting, but with another friend it is just too much temptation!!

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