Explore Nature ...

Nature is everywhere … Enhance your understanding of the plants, insects, animals & complex interactions by reading about the ORCA & other natural areas.

Lookout for Coralbean

Coralbean (Erythrina herbacea) is just beginning to flower on Orchid Island. Flowering tends to be later inland at places like the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area. Coralbean often grows in the midst of saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) and hammock plants, reaching…

Sabal Success

Established by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1903, Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge (PINWR) is the precedent setting first U.S. national wildlife refuge. Over the years it has has been expanded from its original size. Local citrus farmer and PINWR advocate…

Gorgeous gumbo limbo

Gumbo limbo (Bursera simarouba) are burly big trees, usually multi-trunked.  Only a few are found at the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area, youngish trees “seeded” by birds after the Christmas freeze of 1989 that brought bone-chilling temperatures well below freezing and…

Not a Mast Year

Every year is different, and we hopefully & thankfully welcome 2002. 2021 brought more covid challenges. It wasn’t a wonderful year for acorn production either. 2018 was a mast year. The live oak trees (Quercus virginiana) were in overdrive and…

Shoestring Sites

Dr George Rogers, retired chair of the Palm Beach State College Department of Botany, led a special botany walk at Captain Forster Preserve on Saturday, 12/11/2021. His field observations always are astute, and he shared his thoughts about shoestring fern…

Orange Julia

When the Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory began its Volunteer Nature Stewardship Program for the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area (ORCA) in 1998, julia butterflies (Dryas iulia) did not range as far north as Indian River County. The first sighting at ORCA…

Handsome Heliotrope

Sometimes in sunny spots at the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area you will find scorpionstail (Heliotropium angiospermum). Coastal hammocks & strands, the edges of salt marshes, and ruderal (disturbed) areas are its home in south Florida, south Texas, the Caribbean, and…