A short, exotic year worth shouting about

By JOHN HOWELL The Daily Fray
December 29, 2014 9:00 pm

daily frayVolunteer stewards, community and state officials and citizen conservationists kept a nonstop pace in 2014 to protect Florida's outdoors as a place of promise and resilience, spirit and diversity. The Daily Fray tagged along, starting in September. With 2015 in the headlights, The Fray rewound its short year with a short list:

daily frayPeggy-Macdonald_By-Florida-Poly-photographer-Jeane-Vincen-2-300x252.jpg• Dolphin Wail: St. Petersburg became the Western Hemisphere's home for the Blue Ocean Film Festival and Conservation Summit. The weeklong event in November wrapped up with a wildly passionate panel -- f-bombs deleted -- on dolphins in captivity.

• Now That's Exotic: The FWC's mission is managing fish and wildlife resources for their long-term well-being and the benefit of people. That includes absorbing an eye-popping menagerie of potential ecological evil-doers and undesired exotic pets. “We’re also helping to find them good homes,” an FWC spokeswoman said.

JLopez-headshot-2-286x300.jpg• People Movers and Action-Takers: The quality of nature and environment depends on the qualities of leaders and difference-makers, such as Jacki Lopez (right) of the Center for Biological Diversity, Florida Polytechnic's Peggy Macdonald (above left), filmmaker Celine Cousteau (cover quote) and the Shark Girl (Madison Stewart, above right).

• Species Non-Grata: Lionfish took over as Invasive Species Enemy No. 1, replacing the Burmese python on every conservation group's hit list, and the DEP absorbed public input to shape invasive plant policy in Cockroach Bay.

• Florida Forever: Sarasota County emerged victorious with a comprehensive vision to safeguard Walton Ranch while a former Florida outsider, now insider, offered a personal perspective.


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