2023 Fort Cooper SP Interpretive Walk
Thursday February 23, 2023
The Citrus Chapter of Florida Native Plant Society held a walk in the Fort Cooper State Park this morning on a beautiful if very warm morning. Steve Farnsworth (FNPS) and park interpretive rangers Penny Wilson and Jessica Lachance lead the walk through the sandhill and hardwood forest along the Sandhill Loop Trail. Dozens of native (and a few non-natives of note) trees, shrubs, forbes, grasses, cacti, and bromeliads were pointed out and discussed in the context of their ecological importance. In the photos are Steve explaining red bay foliage, star grass flower, rye flowers, and sky blue lupines. In addition the group observed a large Bald Eagle nest with 2 large nestlings on rim, an active gopher tortoise burrow with tracks leading in, and several types of ant mounds/colonies (including biting red, harvester, and non-native fire ants). Many thanks to Steve and park rangers for this educational experience in an important Florida ecosystem. - Comments provided by Bob Ross, participant.