My Day at Circle B Bar Reserve

Mary Satterwhite

Recently I went with a few friends to hike and take photographs at Circle B Bar Reserve near Lakeland.  It was a LONG drive there but well worth it.  It is a very large park of more than 2,000 acres. We hiked four and a half miles and saw not even a quarter of the park.  We took Marsh Rabbit Run (where we were stopped by a large alligator blocking the trail) and Alligator Alley which was my favorite. The large trees shading Alligator Alley are lovely.     View more

You may be wondering why you received an OLLI Connects email for a story that isn’t yet available over this weekend.  We have to chalk that up to an unfortunate misclick during the editing process for an upcoming piece.  Please disregard that notice–for now– and enjoy this week’s two offerings focused on the splendid photos produced by the hiking and nature SIG members.  And, check back with us in early June for the “Flying Tigers.”–Editor 

National Poetry Month Selections

Cath Mason, Evelyn Romano, Kathy Winarski

For National Poetry Month, Tampa  made a call to the city—send us your Tampa poems!  The overwhelming response included more than 60 submissions celebrating pirates, the Lightning, Bucs and Rays, the old brick streets, the sights and smells of Ybor and the natural beauty of Tampa Bay. Among the winners were two OLLI poets, Cath Mason and Evelyn Romano, whose winning odes to Tampa are featured in today’s edition of OLLI Connects.

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Growing Tomatoes in Florida

Bruce Shanker

Bruce Shanker successfully produces two harvests of homegrown tomatoes each year in his backyard garden in Carrollwood, yielding an amazing quantity and variety of jewel-toned, plump and flawless specimens. We sat down with Bruce on a zoom call to learn about his secrets for growing tomatoes in Central Florida.

Click on the photos below to open two short videos detailing Bruce’s methods, equipment and growing schedule. The first video focuses on planting, fertilizing and irrigation. The second video provides detailed information about improving yield, (more…)

 

Different Angles to Trout Creek Conservation Park


Story by Diane White
Images by Donna McGrew,
Sheryl Long and Diane White

Look up, look down, try viewing nature from a different angle. That was the challenge given to OLLI-USF’s Better Composition for Outdoor Photography class at their field trip to Trout Creek Conservation Park located in Hillsborough County northeast of Tampa.

Using the composition techniques discussed in a prior online seminar, the class spent the morning looking for subjects to improve their photo skills. We started by taking a leisurely stroll along the short boardwalk which leads along the Hillsborough River to the canoe launch. Trout Creek Conservation Park proved to be a gem, offering a variety of ecosystems to explore, including the shorelines along the Hillsborough River, pine flatwoods under tree canopies and the edges of a floodplain forest. The zig-zag boardwalk and early morning dew provided many subjects for creative nature shots. (more…)

 

 

The Birds of Marco Island

If you’d like to work on your paddleboarding or kayaking, you should consider the tidal lagoon at Tigertail Beach Park on Marco Island.  As you’re probably well aware, Marco Island is a barrier Island in the Gulf, a bit south of Naples, linked to the mainland by bridges. It’s a wonderful place for a vacation.

Marco Island is also an outstanding place for photographing birds.  Birds that are somewhat commonplace for us, but wildly exotic if you’re from, oh, England for example. As our photographer, Paul Sullivan, is.  We’ll tell you what he has to do with OLLI at the end of article, but first, let’s take a look at his photographs.  (More…)

 

Tranquility greets the OLLI-USF hikers at Lake Dan Nature Preserve

Diane White

We took off in small groups from the parking area of Lake Dan Nature Preserve in northwestern Hillsborough County near Odessa. A short walk later, as the trail takes a turn, we were rewarded with a view of a tranquil lake filled with birds and other wildlife. The boardwalk over the marshy lake with its diverse habitat is exactly what drew us to choose this park for our monthly adventure.

After being cooped up indoors for so long, we especially enjoy the opportunity to safely gather outdoors. Lake Dan Nature Preserve is the perfect spot to safely hold a group hike, or just explore on your own. The trails are well-marked and wide, stretching out over open spaces of pine flatwoods. Originally this property was used for citrus production, cattle grazing and as a wellfield for potable water. Horse farms and agricultural uses still border the property, along with some new residential developments.

On this day in mid-February, we found that the boardwalk provided the perfect (more…)

 

Gasparilla: Is It Just Like Mardi Gras?

Beryl. B. Byles

When I retired to Tampa, I was introduced to several local experiences. One of the most notable was Gasparilla, a series of several events throughout the year, but mostly the annual invasion and parade on the last Saturday of January.

Since many locals consider Gasparilla to be “just like Mardi Gras,” I realized that most people just did not know the difference.  So, I volunteered to teach an audience of fellow seniors who were curious. I was eager to share my lifelong experience and new research on the similarities and differences.   (More…)

Tampa’s Bid to Host the Olympics

Tampa’s bid to host the 2012 Olympics was the first time a Florida city entered a bid for an Olympiad. The story starts with a decision by FASTA,  the Future Air & Surface Transportation Alliance to go forward with a Florida global airport project. Future global airports will have foot prints larger by a factor of 15 than the typical international airport. Tampa International, for example, is less than 7 square miles, is land locked and is  air space limited.  It is a great “20th Century airport.

Our typical international airports today provide excellent International and domestic air mobility but  are neither designed nor positioned for the future additional full-up Intrastate and urban air mobility. Since we knew a project like this would require the average transportation planner and others to think big, we decided to get Tampa into an Olympic bid, since few things are bigger than an Olympics.  (More…)

Florida Birds and Wildlife

Gail Parsons

Every state thinks that they have the greatest natural environment and the best “birding” in the country.  They’re wrong, of course.  Florida is clearly the best.  And we have some photographic proof in this article.

We also have some really interesting courses coming up in our Fall semester.  We’ll give you more information about them at the end of the article.  (More…)

A Day at the Races

Shelly Belzer

When the OLLI Shutterbugs SIG gathered for a photo outing at Tampa Bay Downs on a bright December day, we dug into our memories for what this reminded us of.

Rich Edwards talked about growing up within sound of Roosevelt Raceway, the former harness racing track in Westbury, Long Island. He would fall asleep to the voice of the announcer calling the races. The track, he related, began as Roosevelt Field, famous for  Charles Lindbergh’s takeoff on his nonstop flight to Paris in 1927. In the end it became Westbury Plaza, a shopping mall. (More…)