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Our Center for Coastal Oceans Research (CCOR) is proud to offer, for a sixth semester, its continuing education course: “Flora and Fauna of the Florida Keys.” The course consists of ten half-day field trips, all on Saturday mornings, and scattered along the length of the Florida Keys archipelago.

This course is designed as an introduction to the natural communities of the Florida Keys and how nature is responding to the presence of man. During the first class of each semester, participants are encouraged to share what they hope to get out of the course and the instructor (having worked as a biologist in the Keys since 1979) tries to accommodate to those interests. Most semesters, participants spend more than half their time learning to identify native and invasive plants, and how and why native plants can be used in landscaping to attract wildlife to our backyards. Other course topics include the techniques, tools, ethics and “etiquette” that can improve our appreciation of nature, the observed and anticipated consequences of sea level rise, marine water quality, and more.

Since January 2015, each Spring and Fall semester has varied enough that several participants have taken the course two or three times. Classes meet in a different location each week, usually exploring a portion of one or more publicly-owned natural areas such as state, county, and municipal parks, United States Fish and Wildlife Service wildlife refuges and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Wildlife and Environmental Areas.

Most semesters the group spends no more than three hours indoors, much of that in a plant identification workshop. The rest of the course, the group walks through natural areas while discussing the forces that shaped islands of the Florida Keys and the species living there, and how resident species are responding to climate change, habitat fragmentation, rock-mining, and introductions of new species from around the world.

The price of this course is $299. The class will convene on Saturday mornings from 8:30-12:30 pm on the following dates:

January 19, 26
February 2, 9 & 23
March 2, 9, 16, 23, 30

Our sites are scheduled partly according to low tide times, but the sites and scheduling sometimes change to accommodate weather conditions. Participants are asked to also reserve April 6 and 13 as potential “Rain Dates.”

You can register here. Need more information? Contact the course’s instructor, Jim Duquesnel through his e-mail or phone number: (305) 304-4445.