What Our Clients Says

Okay, I’m no sailor but we do live in Florida and we have a lot of boats. Inspired by my previous post, Oh no! We missed the World’s largest solar powered yacht, I’ve decided to figure out how we turn all of our floating friends into an ode to solar power and the environment.

Greening South Florida’s marianas starts with powering our boats in an eco-friendly way. Why not solar?

It’s benefits include:

  1. Fuel savings (gas is getting too expensive!)
  2. No more noise (its annoying)
  3. Reduced carbon emissions (yay!)
  4. Reduced risk of engine failure (i.e. permanently powered hand-helds, no more fears of being stranded at sea)


Figure out how many solar panels you need and their size. (Note: This depends on how much electricity the boat regularly uses, not to mention geographic location, time of day/year, water/air temperature and the electronics on board).

We’re in Florida. Enough said.

Anyway, you will also need to stock-up on the following:

  1. Solar panels
  2. Deep cycle batteries (lead acid or gel cell, both do the job)
  3. Regulator (this controls the batteries from becoming over or undercharged)
  4. Inverter (this converts the 12V that the panels produce to 110V which is what most things use)
  5. Wire for hardware and fittings
  6. Solar mounting rails/supports

According to SolarPowerInfo.com:

Most boaters find that maximal efficiency is achieved when the solar panels are installed high and aft on the boat, in direct sunlight. It’s best to place them at the apex of an arch, above the cabin, or above davits to reduce the chance that shadows will fall across the surface of the solar panel and reduce its efficiency.

Try to stick with a high-output model if you can. You can install the mount directly above a bimini (if you’re sure it will not be prone to shadowing), or, alternatively, you could install your solar panels on a rail along the stern.

Regardless of where you choose to mount them, make sure they are free from any shading. You want them to receive the best view of the sun at all times.

For a real life step-by-step account of how its done, check out this post by Mike Dickens, Owner of Paradise Yachts on Amelia Island.


solar boat 00 How to turn your vessel into a solar powered boat

Treehugger takes a look at 7 Awesome Solar Boats You Must See.

For more on the history of solar powered boats click here.

For information on solar powered boats around the world click here.

Already have a solar powered boat? Want to compete in the world championship of intercolligate solar boating? Click here.


How to turn your vessel into a solar powered boat

Governor Rick Scott has approved a public transportation project.

On Friday, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) announced that the Florida governor approved a $1.28-billion rail project in Central Florida after recently rejecting federal money for a Tampa-Orlando high speed rail.

So who’s paying for it? The major funding partners for the project are FDOT, the Federal Transit Administration, Orange, Seminole, Volusia and Osceola counties and the city of Orlando.

What is it? SunRail is a commuter rail transit project that will run along a 61-mile stretch of existing rail freight tracks in Central Florida. The 31-mile first phase of SunRail will serve 12 stations, linking De Bary to Orlando. Phase II will serve 5 additional stations, north to DeLand and south to Poinciana. Service is expected to begin service in late 2013- early 2014.

Why is this important? FDOT Secretary Ananth Prasad called SunRail a “judgment day” project. If it fails, it could stop future commuter trains from coming to Florida, he said, according to The Miami Herald.

How does Rick Scott reason voting for this and turning down federal money for the high-speed rail? On first hearing the news, most will be puzzled as this is the same governor who rejected the high-speed rail only a few months ago. The Herald article did a good job at shedding some light on the mystery:

Critics characterized the move as hypocritical in light of Scott’s high-speed rail decision and stated principle of limited government spending, but he defended it by saying SunRail was in the works before he became governor and was so far along he had no choice but to approve it.

“I don’t know that I would have made the decision to go forward with this if I had been around three or four years ago,” he said in St. Petersburg at the Florida Press Association/Florida Society of News Editors annual meeting. “I walked in with this set of facts.”

He said his attorneys told him he would likely lose in court if he was sued for killing the $1.28 billion, 61.5-mile project…

Scott insisted SunRail is different from high-speed rail because the state’s commitment is capped and Central Florida governments will be responsible for much of the ongoing financial obligations.

Ahhhah, so that’s why.

(Photo via cfnews13.com)

 Big progress on SunRail Project in Central Florida

Big progress on SunRail Project in Central Florida

Virginia Key Park’s North Point is the targeted site for excavated debris drilled from the billion-dollar Port of Miami project. The North Point proposed dumping site is located on the northern stretch of the mostly-undeveloped 1,300-acre barrier island adjacent to a state-designated critical wildlife area.

Environmentalists fear that the Port of Miami dumping proposal would undo recent efforts to restore parts of Virginia Key to its natural state.

Virginia Key is one of the last remaining condo-less islands with mangrove, wetland, and (recently restored) tropical hardwood hammock habitats in the Miami Downtown area. But thus far that doesn’t seem to dissuade city and state officials, who are opting for the dump site on Virginia Key to speed the Port project along, because the Key has been used previously to deposit dredged material, and for this reason would require minimum permitting and monitoring. From the 1940s to 1980s the island was altered from its natural state after it was used as a debris dumping ground for projects including the construction of the Rickenbacker Causeway, the dredging of the Marine Stadium basin and Norris Cut.

“The City of Miami, the municipality that has jurisdiction over the North Point of Virginia Key, has allowed the Port of Miami Tunnel contractor, Bouygues Civil Works Florida,. Inc. access to Virginia Key for the purpose of depositing tens of thousands of cubic yards of fill material on the North Point,” wrote environmentalists in a letter co-signed by the Sierra Club, Biscyane Bay Water Keeper, and the Izaak Walton League.

The recent Port of Miami proposal runs counter to efforts, and funding spent, to begin restoring Virginia Key.

“In 1994,  the Florida DEP described the North Point as highly productive fish and wildlife habitat, as well as a movement corridor for the endangered manatee,’” the environmentalists wrote. “An extensive restoration project created five acres of coastal hammock, four acres of dune, 12 acres of new mangrove forest and new tidal habitat where there is a thriving coastal band mangrove community of red, white, and black mangroves.”

The dump site is also right in the middle of recently-completed mountain bike trails that cut through North Point. According to FDEP’s proposal, up to 55,000 cubic yards of sandy soil that are excavated from Biscayne Bay for the new Port of Miami tunnel would be deposited on Virginia Key by contractor Bouygues Civil Works. Officials are also pushing to use the same site in the near future as from future deepening of channels. It is unclear whether the Port of Miami material would be trucked in or piped, and that is part of the issue. According to a February 25 letter from FDEP officials, some of the dredged material will contain chemical additives, such as solvents that are added to the soil to make the drilling of the tunnel successful. Some of the fill that will be deposited from the part of the project has been deemed “clean,” which the quality of the rest of the fill is currently unknown.

virgkey 300x298 Virginia Key planned as Port projects dumping site
Virginia Key. Photo Credit: NOAA. Plans call for excavated debris to be placed north of the water treatment plant, on North Point.

Mitigation plans are minimum, including about 25 acres of wetland improvements at another location to make up for temporary disruption of wetlands off Virginia Key during the process of pumping dredged materials onto the Key. State and local officials don’t appear to have considered other options for locales to dump the excavated material.

In addition to angering environmentalists, the proposal has alarmed many who bike or hike on Virginia Key, one of the few places for such recreational activities in the city. The Sierra Club, Tropical Audubon, Biscayne Baykeeper, the Izaak Walton League and Oceanic Defense have filed objections to the request to pipe material excavated from the tunnel construction under Biscayne Bay onto the Key.

Public comments or questions on proposal to deposit tunnel excavation materials on Virginia Key can be sent by JUNE 30 to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Project Manager: Indarjit.Jagnarine@dep.state.fl.us. More information is also available on the Friends of Virginia Key facebook page. The Miami Herald editorial department wrote an editorial against further neglect of this local environmentally-sensitive area.

The Urban Environment League of Miami-Dade weighed in with a blog post.

NOTE: This post originally appeared on my outdoor blog, www.rogersoutdoorblog.com and was picked up by the international industry news Web site Dredging Today. Dredging Today has been covering the Port of Miami project.

 Virginia Key planned as Port projects dumping site

Virginia Key planned as Port project’s dumping site

This is the third in Quirky Flamingo’s series on how Everglades Restoration would change the wildlife and landscape of South Florida’s River of Grass: A 2010 study overlooked by the local media shows that the overall number of Roseate Spoonbill nests in the Everglades watershed was more than 60 percent lower than wildlife officials had set as a threshold for the Spoonbill’s recovery. A copy of the report can be found here on the Web page for the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force (SFERTF).

5a0167a5616ecdfa8a3f7980258c7dad 300x186 Roseate Spoonbill nests decrease

Roseate Spoonbill, Photo Credit: FWC.

The number of Spoonbill nests were much lower in the NE Florida Bay area of the watershed, meaning the species “is in jeopardy” there. The report conducted by SFERTF looks at eleven key indicator species (including the Roseate Spoonbill) and examines two years of scientific data to show how each species is doing in the Everglades, and attempts to pinpoint reasons for success or failure.

The only area where the Roseate Spoonbills are doing well, compared to historic nesting data, is northwest Florida Bay, where less water management control and development has less of a strain on the natural environment.

“Northeastern Florida Bay is in need of immediate action in order to keep spoonbill numbers from continuing to decline,” the report reads.

The study uses nest counts as recent as 2009 and 2010, before recent drought conditions, a drought which may have further imperiled the Spoonbill’s nesting activity.

“Although the northeast colonies have performed well over the last four years, the average productivity in this region is still well below production rates observed in the northwestern colonies,” according to the SFERTF study. “The number of nests in the northeastern bay remained very low in 2007 with only 90 nests out of a target of 688 nests in this region.”

There are several possible factors for decreased nesting, most related to issues of water management, development, and the increase in invasive flora and fauna.



 Roseate Spoonbill nests decrease

Roseate Spoonbill nests decrease

Developers are once again lobbying to move the Urban Development Boundary (UBD) in Miami-Dade to accommodate a 961 acre development of about 7,000 cookie cutter homes, Parkaland, 2.5 miles from Everglades National Park. They argue the region is out of build-able land and must make room for future expansion.

A fabulous idea. Like a fat kid asking his mother for a bigger pair of pants because he does not have the discipline or goodwill to go on a diet.

Unfortunately, the Quirky Flamingo has no sympathy for gluttons.

Daily Business Review:

In addition to thousands of homes, the proposed community would include 200,000 square feet of retail space, 100,000 square feet of medical offices, a 200-bed hospital and 550,000 square feet of light industrial space.

Do we really need this? No.

There are thousands of vacant retail spaces, foreclosed homes and distressed properties which could easily by revitalized and redeveloped. There is no need to continue feeding the appetite of short-sighted and self-serving developers and special interest groups. The UDB exists for a reason, to protect South Florida’s most valuable resource, its water supply.

A 2005 report titled, The Importance of Maintaining the Miami-Dade County Urban Development Boundary states:

The UDB as it currently lies, in addition to saving taxpayers substantial sums that would be required to extend public facilities and services to more far-lying reaches of the County, protects major local and regional resources.  In the northwest part of the County, the UDB protects Everglades lands and the Countyís primary public wellfield and drinking water source. In the southwest, the line protects the unique, productive farmlands of the Redland Agricultural Area and the only rural lifestyle available in the County. To the southeast, the line protects the Biscayne Bay watershed, and to the south protects sensitive east Everglades wetlands.  In a County with very unique, sensitive and vanishing ecosystems and farmlands, the UDB is necessary to protect the most important remaining lands.

The Quirky Flamingo is in complete opposition to moving Miami-Dade’s UDB. Local government must not contribute to suburban sprawl. There are plenty of creative opportunities within the UDB for revitalization and redevelopment of our city’s urban core that will create jobs and breathe life into our economy.

As it stands, the decision of whether or not to move Miami-Dade’s UBD line will sit with its new mayor. On June 28, 2011, Julio Robaina and Carlos Gimenez will face a runoff election. A recent article by the Miami Herald says that both candidates have received campaign contributions from the investors behind Parkland.


Consistent — though not absolute — opponent to moving the Urban Development Boundary.

$4,000 in campaign contributions from supporters of moving the UDB.


Led charge to successfully move the UrbanDevelopment Boundary in Hialeah five years ago.

$28,000 in campaign contributions from supporters of moving the UDB.

READERS: Hold the line. Be conscious voters.

Be not gluttons for expansion but rather, gluttons for better living. Advocate to promote civic awareness and participation. Accommodate growth through innovation and smart planning that builds sustainable, compact communities that co-exist harmoniously with our diverse and valuable ecosystems.

Hold the line.


Note: If you have ideas about how we would work to revitalize and redevelop South Florida’s urban core to better accommodate future growth, the Quirky Flamingo would like to hear from you. Post your comments below! Or e-mail us at QuirkyFlamingo@gmail.com. Be the change you want to see in your city.






Hold the line: Fight to preserve our city’s wetlands

It seems public transportation has a future in South Florida. On National Dump the Pump Day 2011, Tri-Rail carried more passengers than on any other day in its 22-year history.

National Dump the Pump Day was on June 16 and couldn’t come at a better time amidst the soaring gas prices and tourist season traffic. It’s no wonder South Floridians jumped at the chance, or in this case, on the train, to save a little money and have someone else drive them around.

On that day only, riders were permitted to ride the Tri-Rail free of charge. A record 19,731 trips were logged, breaking the previous record by more than 1,000 riders. The previous record was set on the day of the Miami Heat victory parade in 2006.

“The overwhelming turnout yesterday is a strong indicator that people are willing to explore new options for getting around the region,” said Bonnie Arnold, Director of Marketing and Customer Service for the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority, which operates Tri-Rail, in a news release on June 17. “It was especially encouraging to see so many young people on the trains, because the earlier in life that they discover there are alternatives to driving, the more likely they are to use them.”

Dump the Pump Day was created by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) six years ago as a means to encourage people to leave their vehicles at home for a day and use public transportation for their commute instead. As gas prices have climbed, it has become increasingly more successful each year. This year, more than 107 systems from across the country participated in the effort.

 Tri Rail Breaks All Previous Ridership Records

Tri-Rail Breaks All Previous Ridership Records

Sroman 150x150 Q&A with Miami Photographer Selina Roman

“In a way, it asks why can’t a porta-potty be beautiful?” — Selina Roman talking about her photograph “Waiting.”

Selina Roman used to consider her photography to be more of a hobby while she worked as a journalist for a daily newspaper. It wasn’t until she left the daily grind of the newsroom and moved to Miami that she started taking her photography more seriously.

Six years later, Selina has completed several photo projects, and more are in the works. Some of them include “Ur in or Ur Out,” photos depicting glamorous models next to porta-pottys, and “The Burqa Project,” a series of photos of women dressed in burqas. Currently, she is working on her MFA degree at the University of South Florida and splits her time between Miami and Tampa. According to the Lucie Foundation, Selina’s photographs “document the remnants of human lives and tell a story of temporal beauty in unwanted places.”

Where does your fascination with porta-potties come from?Burqa Photo Q&A with Miami Photographer Selina Roman

My dad worked in construction so they’ve always been in my consciousness.

I got the idea to take a bunch of photos with porta-potties while working on a fashion shoot and saw a porta-potty all by its self. I just thought it’d be funny to take pictures of girls in these beautiful couture dresses waiting in line for the porta-potty. That’s the image that’s called “waiting.” In a way, it asks why can’t a porta-potty be beautiful?

Are u still working on your burqa photos?

Yea, that’s an ongoing thing.

Have you ever shared those at school?

Yea with the undergrads and the professors. So far everyone has been pretty OK with it. I haven’t really had an overt negative reaction, which I’m always bracing for. I reached out to the Islamic group here at school, and they were pretty cool with it. I wasn’t sure how they’d react—because, you know, I’m taking something that has a religious meaning and having my way with it—but they were really positive and supportive. They told me that they were really happy that somebody was looking at the burqa as this idea of veiling and beautiful. I know a lot of time it is portrayed as something that is only negative. It’s something that’s not going away. I used to always wonder if my work was relevant, and then I read news stories and I’m like yea, it’s relevant.

Do you feel like you want to change the way people see burqas?

I mean there’s definitely a negative side too. I wouldn’t want someone telling me that I have to wear this all the time, but at the same time, I don’t want someone telling me that I can’t wear this even if I want to. So I think it’s the same argument at work just a different end of it. I guess I’m just hoping that people will see that other side. And if anything, just to get them to think about it a little more.

Are you going to live in Miami after you graduate?

That’s the plan. The only reason that I’m not in Miami now is because I have to be in Tampa for school.

What do you love about Miami?

I know Miami still has a long way to go, but it is cosmopolitan on a lot of levels, and I think the art scene is really thriving. It doesn’t rival New York, but it’s definitely holding it’s own in the art world. I think it’s exciting that there are opportunities there for me as an artist.

What are some of those opportunities?

There are a lot of great artist assistant programs in Miami. I don’t know how it is now with the economic climate, but I know there have been grants for artists. Also, the access to galleries and events like the art walk is a big deal in that you’re able to have a dialogue with contemporary people in the art world. I’m not saying that anything will definitely come from it, but at least you have that as a resource. You can meet other artists and people that may eventually buy your work. I think that’s super important.

How do you connect with other local artists?

I’ve met a lot of local artists through the collective I’m with, Diaspora Vibe Gallery. The lady that runs the gallery, Rosie Gordon-Wallace, deals with contemporary Caribbean art. It’s amazing to see all of that talent and diversity from people with different backgrounds.

Where else do you show your work?

Once a year Rosie has an international exchange and we go to a Caribbean country. This year I got to show my work in Barbados, and last year we went to Puerto Rico. Going back to what you had asked about opportunities for artists, the grant that is needed to take that trip once a year is made possible by the county commissioners. They allot that money for us to take that trip and show our work. I don’t want it to sound like a plug, I’m just saying that when a county designates money for that it affects people in a good way and that’s why arts funding is so important.

You can check out Selina’s work at www.selinaroman.com.

 Q&A with Miami Photographer Selina Roman

Q&A with Miami Photographer Selina Roman

This is the second in Quirky Flamingo’s series on how Everglades Restoration would change the wildlife and landscape of South Florida’s River of Grass: The Everglades Snail Kite population has been declining steadily since 2001, and one scientific model projection puts the species on a track towards near extinction in 2030 if conditions don’t change. That means fewer than 50 Snail Kites by as early as 2030. “The bottom line is the population is not doing well. That is not an overstatement, it is an understatement,” said UF Research Ecologist Dr. Wiley Kitchens.

female snail kite1 300x112 Unknown Future: Troubles on horizon for endangered Everglades Snail Kite

Female Snail Kite. Photo Credit: University of Florida.

Changes to the flow of South Florida’s wetlands, made worse by recent drought years, have sent this locally endemic species of snail-eating hawk into a “precarious situation,” said Kitchens, who has closely studied the Snail Kite since 1990.

I spoke to Kitchens, whose team is in the field banding Snail Kites and conducting surveys of the endangered species’ nests, in a phone interview from his University of Florida office earlier this week.

First, a glimmer of positive news: While the kites are becoming more rare in some traditional breeding areas—such as the Everglades Water Conservation Area 3-A, which spans from Tamiami Trail north to the sugar plantations of Palm Beach County—some of the birds are adapting to conditions in other locations further north where they historically have not breed. Also, officials with state and local agencies, such as the U.S. Corps of Engineers and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), are cooperating and teaming up with biologists like Kitchens in an all-out effort to help the Snail Kites survive. “It’s a new dawning for managers from various agencies being engaged in trying to accommodate the kite,” Kitchens said. For instance, FWC has hired a Snail Kite coordinator; the coordinator is a former student of Kitchens.

Most importantly, many hope the proposed Everglades Restoration Plan will trigger a rebound in crucial breeding areas such as Water Conservation Area 3-A, an area where there have been only 10 new chicks born in the past four or five years, an alarming decrease from previous years.

The bad news, however, is bleak. The Snail Kite’s population has been reduced in half twice since 2000, and the kites now number less than 1,000.

A signature species of the Everglades, the Snail Kite is found in the U.S. only in south Florida. It is highly dependent on certain water levels to maintain the wetland habitats for its primary food source, the apple snail. It uses its sharply-curved beak to remove snails from their shells. The main culprit of the Snail Kites decline over the past century is a vastly-altered Everglades and the resulting greatly reduced flow of water and quality of water.

“I think the restored system will be good for the kites,” Kitchens said about proposed plans to try to return the Everglades to its natural flow, “if they are around. If things don’t improve, the kites won’t survive as a population through restoration.”

everglades snail kite11 300x232 Unknown Future: Troubles on horizon for endangered Everglades Snail Kite

Male Snail Kite, Loxahatchee Wildlife Refuge. May 2, 2011. Photo: Roger Real Drouin

Trends compiled by University of Florida biologists using a vast array of data, such as kite lifespan, reproductive rate, and current Everglades water conditions, show a decline to a population of around 50 Snail Kites by 2045. The projection year is further reduced to 2030 if you account for conditions related to the anticipated impact of global warming, such as extreme flooding and drought. These “Population Viability” projections are based on 19 years worth of solid, objective data.

The projection is a realistic one.

“It’s our best attempt at this,” Kitchens said. “There is all kinds of uncertainty. But we have a good data base.” The better the data set, the more realistic the projections are.

The indications right now look bad to Kitchens, who, along with graduate students, conducts surveys and banding trips in South-Florida locales from Water Conservation Area 3-A to the Lake Kissimmee region of Florida. The average life expectancy of Snail Kites is dropping swiftly. And fewer of the hawks are reproducing, if they even find a place to nest. Several adults have abandoned nests in extremely low water, because there is less access to a snail food supply, and predators such as raccoons can get to the nest easier.

kitchens Unknown Future: Troubles on horizon for endangered Everglades Snail Kite

Dr. Wiley M. Kitchens. Photo Credit: University of Florida.

In a strange twist, some kites have adapted to feeding in higher water levels, further north in the state, by relying on invasive Hydrilla plants. The birds will forage from the Hydrilla for a non-native species of snails called the island apple snail. Some of Kitchens’ and his colleagues’ research has shown that the Snail Kite is now only thriving where both the non-native Hydrilla and island apple snail are present. As a result of this research, Florida Fish and Wildlife officials have eased up on their removal of Hydrilla from certain lakes and canals where a significant number of Snail Kites are present to give the endangered hawk a chance at survival. Hydrilla has its foes because it can limit boat navigation, block sunlight to other aquatic vegetation and deprive fish of oxygen.

In fact, the Snail Kite has become reliant on these two exotic species. This use of a plant and substitute snail that are not native to Florida is not considered a long-term sustainable mode of survival. A 2010 UF study suggests juvenile kites may actually starve while trying to subsist on the hard-to-handle invasive snails that are nearly twice as large as the native apple snails.

But the adapting behavior has surprised biologists, and it shows how the species is seeking different sources of food to survive.

An unknown future:

According to the National Audubon Society, “the Snail Kite may… benefit from the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, which has already facilitated the purchase of 207,000 acres, as well as attempts to create a more natural water cycle.”

However, the current fiscal climate and political uncertainty threaten to reverse plans for Everglades restoration work. There is always the possibility that only a portion of such large-scale governmental projects will ever be completed.

Even if restoration work comes to fruition, it may be too little too late.

People interested in getting involved can contact their local Audubon Society and ask for more information. Those interested can also attend future public meetings on Everglades Restoration Plans.

This report first appears on my blog: www.rogersoutdoorblog.com

Here is some additional information on the Everglades Snail Kite:

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Species Profile

Audubon Watch List Snail Kite (Rostrhamus sociabilis)

Palm Beach Post article “Environmentalists say pumping from low Lake Okeechobee to irrigate farms will threaten snail kites.”

Audubon report and petition against Okeechobee water pumping

Unknown Future: Troubles on horizon for endangered Everglades Snail Kite

I spent Saturday night with my loyal and adventurous buddy—-Mette—-a Danish expatriate, co-worker and resident of Miami Beach. We took  our two-person traveling entourage of polished toe nails and alternative taste to the streets of Wynwood, where we trekked through some of the city’s avant-garde art shows and came across some very interesting personalities. Most importantly, we were both beaming with enthusiasm. Our beloved Miami—-a place that for Mette, is far from home but worthy of admiration every time you drive across the Julia Tuttle Causeway–is finally showing signs of a burgeoning local identity. It is urbane, youthful, diverse and pleasurably gritty.

Wynwoood Art Walk is an event that occurs on the second Saturday of every month to promote contemporary visual art (paintings, sculptures, installations, photography, multimedia, ceramics, etc.) in the Wynwood Arts District, the area sandwiched just north of Downtown, south of the Design District, east of I-95, and west of Biscayne Boulevard.

Last Saturday’s event was not about glitz and glamour, it was about local-is-better. So what is local for Miami? A place shock-full of tourists with Vegas-like expectations, greedy investors and immigrants from all over.

Local is:

  1. Not pretentious.
  2. Creative and nurturing of the experimental arts.
  3. Eclectic like my grandmother’s pantry.
  4. Many faces and races.
  5. Friendly, without expectations.
  6. Fashion forward, sometimes risque.
  7. Struggle and sputter.
  8. Youth, joy, a little bird that has just broken out of its egg. (A little James Matthew for you.)




Wynwood Art Walk, a step toward local identity

The rescued Florida Panther Kitten that I wrote about last month is set to be released into the wild soon. “He’s grown up,” Steve Steve Shurter, Director of White Oak Conservation Center, said Monday.

The kitten, now 12 months old and about 85 pounds, was rescued from the Big Cypress National Preserve in the fall after its mother was killed. The Big Cypress National Preserve Panther Rescue Team, along with volunteers, rescued the kitten. The kitten was scrawny and malnourished, unable to hunt on his own. After spending several months at White Oak wildlife conservation center, the panther known as K 304 has been growing steadily, and he could be released back into the wild by the end of this summer. The state’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will determine when and where the panther will be released, Shurter said.


K304 300x152 Rescued Florida panther, now 12 months old, will graduate to the wild

K 304 in February. Photo Credit: White Oak Conservation Center

Cameras monitored K 304 over the past few months as it roamed a fenced-in area at White Oak, so trainers could make sure the big cat was learning the skills needed to hunt and survive on his own. There is a good possibility that K 304 will be released back in Big Cypress National Preserve at the Big Cypress location where he was rescued after its mother was killed, likely in a fight with another panther.

The endangered Florida Panther population numbers around 100.

Back in October, the kitten was rescued after wildlife officials learned that the kitten’s mother, FP102, had emitted a mortality signage from her tracking collar, which means she had not moved at all for at least two hours. The mother’s body was found in Big Cypress National Preserve, but officials could not find her two kittens. Using a hound, they were able to eventually track the 16-week-old, scrawny male panther, which would not have survived long on his own at that young age. The kitten was sedated, examined, and given rehydrating fluids, since it had not eaten in several days. The kitten had to be rescued a second time after the kitten escaped it’s pen at the wildlife rehabilitation center.

Story by Roger Real Drouin

 Rescued Florida panther, now 12 months old, will graduate to the wild

Rescued Florida panther, now 12 months old, will graduate to the wild