The Great Outdoors

While the Earth is beautiful, bountiful too -

It needs love, respect, and care - just like you. Explore some of the beauty and variety of nature, and consider ways you can be more conscious of the world around you and where you fit into it.

COLORS OF THE SEA

DETAILS

SOUTH JERSEY

FREC POLLINATOR GARDEN

INSECTS:

Though they are small, they are tremendously important! Not only are they the most abundant animals on our planet by far (nearly 1.5 million species) but without them, our world would be very different. Pollinating and decomposing are just two roles that insects may play, though the list of their important contributions to the chain of life go on and on.

The above-pictured photoset is comprised of a series of insect pictures taken at the NJ Department of  Environmental Protection's Forest Resource Education Center's Pollinator Garden in Jackson, NJ. This garden attracts bugs of all shapes and sizes, though all are equally important. Explore the various species and note how each contributes to life as we know it. Next time you come close to stepping on or squashing an insect, consider its importance, and the contributions it makes to the world we share.

ANIMALS:

Take a look at some of the other animal species which cohabit our beautiful planet. Consider this: we aren't the only species that suffers the consequences of climate change and other negative effects upon the planet as a result of our actions, but we are the only species that contributes to it. Under each gallery you will find some information about the species featured.

Found on the beach in West Palm Beach, FL. A Portuguese Man-O-War; similar to a jellyfish. It is a siphonophore, an organism composed of smaller organisms working together. It is composed of four separate polyps, with tentacles that measure on average thirty feet. Its tentacles are covered in venom-filled nematocysts, used to paralyze and kill fish and other small creatures. For humans it is rarely deadly, but delivers an excruciatingly painful and powerful sting. 

Pictures taken at the Sea Turtle Recovery Center in Jupiter Beach, FL. A Loggerhead Sea Turtle; Loggerhead turtles are named for their large heads that support powerful jaw muscles, allowing them to crush hard-shelled prey like clams and sea urchins. Many of their nesting beaches are under threat from tourism development. Sea turtles are the living representatives of a group of reptiles that has existed on Earth and travelled our seas for the last 100 million years. They are a fundamental link in marine ecosystems and help maintain the health of coral reefs and sea grass beds. For more info, check out https://www.worldwildlife.org/species/loggerhead-turtle.

The species featured above is the Columbia Spotted Frogobserved in Rock Hall, Maryland. Spotted frogs are highly aquatic and live in or near permanent bodies of water, including lakes, ponds, slow streams and marshes; movements of spotted frogs are limited to wet riparian corridors. Currently, this is listed as a "Species of Concern," for reasons such as the introduction of non-native predators such as bullfrogs, bass and predatory freshwater fish species, believed to contribute to their decline.  While it may seem like this is just one species of frog thereby can't be too important, think of it like this: each species is like a brick that constructs the biosphere. Initially, removing one by one doesn't have much of an impact but eventually, by removing just one, the entire infrastructure will crumble. Visit https://www.fws.gov/oregonfwo/articles.cfm?id=149489426 for more info.

The above-pictured species are a variety of water birds or aquatic birds spotted in Florida. These birds live on or around water, and some are more terrestrial or aquatic than others, thereby adaptations vary depending on the environment. These varieties of aquatic fowl help regulate the environments in which they live, vital links in the food web and the regulation thereof. Moreover, protecting these birds helps to protect all different kinds of wildlife, not to mention water and air quality, which have a direct impact on human life. For more information on Florida waterfowl, visit http://fl.audubon.org/birds

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