|Spring is Calling! Bees buzzing in the Hog Plums|
|Spring Signs! Carolina Willow (Salix caroliniana)|
|Nature Tools! (Shameless plug--available on my Website)|
It worked and I got almost everything ready ahead of time, which is good, because I ended up taking an unplanned trip to Utah a week before the conference. Utah was nice. It was a pretty time of year, pre-spring. The buds were just coming out, the mountains were spectacular, and we even had a light snow on our last day.
|The Beautiful Wasatch Mountains|
And in those few days that we were away, spring arrived big time in Florida. We came home to azalea bushes completely covered with fuchsia, pink and white blossoms, the yellow and blue of coreopsis and spiderwort in the front path, and everything covered in yellow pollen from the Oak Trees. The Fish Crows had joined the Baltimore Orioles that had been coming to our feeders all winter, emptying the jelly feeders about as fast as I could fill them. The flocks of Cedar Waxwings had settled into the Publix parking lots, snarfing holly berries with gusto. I like that you can hear the sound of their squeaky-door calls back and forth to each other a long time before you can see them. I hope every year to finally get the definitive photo, because they are some of the prettiest birds I know of. I usually don't have my camera when I see them, probably because I see them most often at the grocery store. I didn't have my camera in Utah, either, because it was a short trip. I'm like an addict, and when I haven't been out in nature, walking and taking photos, I feel it. My friend Maralee calls this "Forest Bathing", which I just love. Environmental Educator, Richard Louv, calls it "Vitamin N". Either way, my supply gets low and I need to replenish it. I was feeling seriously Nature deficient after working on the computer so much and being out of town for family visit, sans camera. (Well, to be honest, I actually did have a camera. Two, in fact--a point and shoot, and my phone. But I didn't bring the fancy lenses. So there.)
|This was waiting when we got home. Spiderwort (Tradescantia ohiensis)|
When I got back to Florida, I felt this yearning desire to be outside, either hiking and photographing, or working in the yard. But I also felt like they would distract me from preparing for this conference, and I wanted to do a good job there, so I only allowed myself small doses of the fun stuff as reward. It was not completely satisfying, though, because I couldn't really focus well without feeling guilty.
|Guilty Pleasure--A trip to Paynes Prairie to see the Baby Pied Billed Grebes|
|Prezi slide on my iPad mini. Amazing!|
My session went well, except for a few minor technical flubs caused by my inexperience with Prezi and iPads. But I know it will be even smoother in the future, should the opportunity arise. The small group that attended my session was friendly and understanding. They enthusiastically shot questions and suggestions at me throughout the presentation. I think I shared some new, good things with them. And they did the same with me. At the point of the class where we were all going to go outside and take photos to put in a mock-up of a blog, one of the attendees said, "I think I have something that would be fun to photograph if you're interested". And I thought, "hmmmm--I don't know where this is going…". Then she opened the box in her hands and showed us two 10-day old baby armadillos! Wow! Only at an E.E. conference! The person was Leslie Straub, a wildlife rehabilitator from Gainesville. I was so lucky to have her in my photography session! I think everyone got great shots. Hopefully, some of them went home and blogged about it, or wrote a story about "Annie the Armadillo's Big Adventure". I know we all had fun.
|Twin Armadillo Baby Girls. They were 10-days old and had been rescued. Two of their siblings died.|
|This was only the 2nd outing for the babies. They were cute and curious and very skittish! They ran around like kittens, jumping and sniffing.|
|Armadillos always have litters of 4 genetically identical babies. They will be all girls or all boys. These were girls. After they played and explored for a while, they were tired and got fed and went to sleep.|
|Sandhill Crane probing for goodies|
|Curious Camp Invaders|