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…)

 

Mother Earth


At the current 2021 COP26 meeting in Glasgow, member nations are struggling to agree on solutions to the earth’s rapidly warming climate and its effect on all species making their home on this planet. Renewed calls for a 1.5 degree Celsius cap in temperatures will require substantial national commitments to reduce fossil fuel use and emissions, and to preserve forests and restrict global carbon levels.

In the spring of 2020, more than a year ago, lockdowns enacted in response to the original coronavirus threat resulted in astonishing evidence of the earth’s capacity to heal when human activity is reduced. Jan Vaupel shared a series of reports from around the world with links to the source material, and added her own personal reflections in a poem.    (More…)

The History of Sex: A Personal Journey

Bharat Pathakjee

I’m currently teaching an online course for OLLI called “History and Science of Sex” which implies that I am an expert on the subject of sex.  This isn’t quite true.

I grew up in a traditional Brahminical culture in post-independence India. Sex education in school was limited to the birds and bees. Nothing about people. Most of the information I got came from older boys and a few racy magazines. Indian laws were, and still are, based on Victorian laws left over from the British Empire.  Ironic for the land that created the Kama Sutra.  I remember reading a banned copy of Lady Chatterley’s Lover and being shocked at seeing the “F word” in print. Most of us (at least the men) grew up reading the articles in Playboy while carefully ignoring the pictures.  (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…)

Tree Frog

Sara Zimmerman

A frog jumps on my head and becomes slightly tangled in my hair this morning at 3:30 a.m. while I am sleeping. When I first feel it in my hair, I think I am dreaming of my Burmese cat, Spike, who was in my life for 16 years and woke me up when he had some kind of emergency during the night, or when he thought I should know something important that he knew and I didn’t.

But when the frog leaps from my head to the floor and the soft but distinct thud wakes me up, I turn on the light, see what is huddled there on the floor next to the bed, and try to decide what to do.  Should I ignore it and go back to sleep?  What if it jumps on my head again?  I wonder – that’s cat behavior, but isn’t that unusual behavior for a frog?  What was it trying to tell me?  (More…)