I attended a recent field trip to the Babcock Webb Wildlife Management Area (http://bit.ly/2R6dmgv), led by expert naturalist Jean Evoy and organized by the Peace River Butterfly Society. This enormous 65,770-acre preserve in southern Charlotte County is an astonishing place. While designed primarily for consumptive users (hunting, fishing and camping), this area is revered by nature lovers of all kinds (including birders, bughunters and plantaholics).
Why is it so much better preserved than most protected natural areas? Well it is huge, distant from large population centers, and has retained more of its primal groundwater hydrology than most parks. This means that prescribed burns do not destroy so many trees, and there is a natural proportion of wetlands to uplands.
Don’t be misled by the roar of off-road vehicles and the sound of gunfire from the rifle range as you enter the Webb along Tuckers Grade from exit 158 of I-75. It is a true wildlife paradise to be enjoyed by all — although it is much quieter during the week than the weekends.
Bill Dunson is Professor Emeritus of Pennsylvania State University, thanks to a career spent entirely at that institution, teaching and doing research. Always curious about nature, Bill has dedicated his life to learning and sharing his knowledge with others. Contact him at WDunson@comcast.net.