St. John’s River FL with Mike Army

The ‘Florida Spring Break Tour’ is a private all inclusive tour for individuals who are looking for a unique experience by boat in the pristine back waters of the Ocala National Forest that can be booked by the day or by the week. This is an annual tour I have been conducting each spring since 2001 at this location. I have been exploring this area since the late 1960’s as my Grandfather lived in Ocala and first showed me the beauty and wonders that the Ocala National Forest has to offer to anyone that appreciates Nature, Wildlife and the excitement of the pristine Florida Wilderness. This is not a tour of a national or state park in a group taking standard pictures at standard locations that are available to anyone. This is an expedition into unspoiled wilderness environments only accessible by boat where not seeing another person all day long is common. I conduct the tour for 5 weeks from a rental house with a private dock on the St Johns River that is our base camp for the duration of your stay.

A wastewater wonderland

Story and photography by Budd Titlow

Do you want to knock your birding and photography socks off without busting your bank account? And—in the process—get to witness a prime example of sustainable water management for wildlife habitat enhancement and climate-change control?

If so, just grab your binoculars and camera gear and head to the Brevard County Wastewater Treatment Plant located in the east-central Florida town of Viera, Florida—just 2.5 miles west of I-95. There you’ll find 200 acres of constructed wetlands that are supported and nourished by advanced treatment outflow from the treatment plant. You’ll also find some of the best and easiest wild birdwatching and photography you’ve ever experienced. It’s called the Viera Wetlands.

Typical view of habitat provided by Viera’s sewage-treatment wetlands.

Establishment of the Viera Wetlands has been a phenomenal success. These created aquatic habitats now provide living spaces for more than 160 species of birds, but—perhaps best of all—the birding and photography access is as easy as pie. A network of 2.4 miles of one-way, 10 mph gravel roads—perched atop the earthen berms—allows superb opportunities for virtually every square foot of the sanctuary. Continue reading