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Date of Issue: July 13, 2006

Sandscript

Thoughts on critters sought, plus landscape musings

Do you have thoughts about manatees, bald eagles, gopher tortoises or the lowly Panama City crawfish? If so, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission wants to hear from you.

The FWC is in the process of developing “species-specific management plans that outline management needs and protections necessary to guide species’ recovery, or in the case of the bald eagle, ensure it stays recovered,” according to the agency.

The action comes on the heels of a decision last month to change the classifications of the four critters. The final management plans are expected to be unveiled next year.

“Local, county, state and federal agencies, stakeholders and the public are encouraged to submit written comments on managing each of these species,” the FWC said, with a deadline to comment of Aug. 8.

The agency is looking for specifics on the species which relate to “the species’ conservation needs and any economic and social factors that should be considered in managing each species in Florida.”

Addresses for sending comments per species should include the critter you’re commenting on. Comments on the tortoises, bald eagles and crayfish should be sent to:

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, 620 S. Meridian St., Mail Station 1O, Tallahassee FL 32399-1600.

Manatee comments should go to:

Manatee Management Plan Comments, DHSC, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, 620 S. Meridian St., Mail Station 6A, Tallahassee FL 32399-1600, or e-mail manatee_plan@myfwc.com.

 

Fatal finale

Remember the Bavarian bear that made the news a few weeks ago after it made an appearance in Germany for the first time since 1835? It was shot to death last week.

Bears were exterminated in Germany back then, due to their destructiveness. The 2-year-old bear named Bruno apparently sauntered to Germany from northern Italy. Bruno was pretty brazen, munching on caged rabbits and even taking out a beehive. Authorities ordered his death, then relented when public outcry to “Save the Bear” reached a fevered pitch, then was reversed.

Officials said it was only a matter of time before Bruno, all 220 pounds of him, attacked a human.

Bruno will be sent to a taxidermist and then put on display at the Munich Museum of Man and Nature.

An ironic final resting place for how man deals with nature, isn’t it?

 

Farewell thoughts from Jane Morse

Jane Morse, the University of Florida/IFAS Manatee County extension agent, is leaving our area to take a post with Pinellas County as a horticulture agent. She has been kind enough to provide her thoughts to us over the years, and will be missed.

Morse offered a few last thoughts regarding the environment and our landscaping.

We are, she believes, entering into the sixth mass-extinction of life on earth, with the last happening 65 million years ago after a meteorite crashed into the planet. Remember what happened to the dinosaurs back then? Same thing is happening now, only humans are the cause for what could well be the dramatic change of life on earth.     

“In our need for economic growth, housing, food, clothing and other resources, we are stripping the earth of its plants and animals,” she said. “As we need more and more land and water to keep up with demand, critical wildlife habitat is being lost. In our urban world we are disconnected from nature and our true place within it.

“Let’s take a look at our landscapes. Is it sustainable, prudent, wise or respectful to take water from the wetlands, rivers, lakes and wildlife and use it to water landscapes that are not suited for our environment? Landscapes that will survive on the natural amount of rainfall are the prudent and sustainable answer.”

Morse advocates planting trees that shade the house to conserve electricity through air conditioning. Use mulch, instead of grass, to cut down on the need of chemicals. Use native plants that are suited to the site.

“If each one of us will change or modify our landscapes and energy choices to conserve and restore resources, collectively we can make a huge difference,” she said. “Each conserving yard, added to the next yard and the next, will change the environment for the better.”

Good advice.

 

Forget the duct tape: Break out the WD-40!

WD-40 is one of those ubiquitous products that appears in most households. The oily product in its convenient spray can is a door de-squeaker and rust inhibitor and, if the following is true, it’s much, much more.

For a brief history, according to the Internet, the product was created in 1953 by three technicians at the San Diego Rocket Chemical Company. Its name comes from the project that was to find a "water displacement" compound. They were successful with the 40th formulation, thus WD-40. The Corvair Company bought it in bulk to protect their atlas missile parts. The workers were so pleased with the product, they began smuggling (also known as "shrinkage" or "stealing") it out to use at home.

The executives ultimately decided there might be a consumer market for it and put it in aerosol cans and store shelves. It is a carefully guarded recipe known only to four people. Only one of them is the "brewmaster."

There are about 2.5 million gallons of the stuff manufactured each year.

Its uses? Well, here you go.

  1. WD-40 can clean a spotty shower door, either plastic or glass.
  2. It also protects silver from tarnishing.
  3. Gives floors that “just-waxed” sheen without making it slippery.
  4. Keeps flies off cows.
  5. Restores and cleans chalkboards.
  6. Removes lipstick stains.
  7. Untangles jewelry chains.
  8. Removes stains from stainless-steel sinks.
  9. Removes dirt and grime from the barbecue grill.
  10. Keeps ceramic/terra cotta garden pots from oxidizing.
  11. Removes tomato stains from clothing.
  12. Camouflages scratches in ceramic and marble floors.
  13. Gives gym slides a shine for a super-fast slide.
  14. Restores and cleans dashboards in vehicles, as well as vinyl bumpers.
  15. Lubricates fan belts on washers and dryers and keeps them running smoothly.
  16. Removes splattered grease on stove.
  17. Keeps bathroom mirror from fogging.
  18. Keeps pigeons off the balcony — they hate the smell.
  19. Removes all traces of duct tape.
  20. Florida's favorite use is: "cleans and removes love bugs from grills and bumpers."
  21. The favorite use in the state of New York: WD-40 protects the Statue of Liberty from the elements.
  22. WD-40 attracts fish. Spray a little on live bait or lures and you will be catching the big one in no time. Also, it's a lot cheaper than the chemical attractants that are made for just that purpose.
  23. Use it for fire ant bites. It takes the sting away immediately and stops the itch.
  24.  WD-40 is great for removing crayon from walls. Spray on the mark and wipe with a clean rag.
  25. Also, if you've discovered that your teenage daughter has washed and dried a tube of lipstick with a load of laundry, saturate the lipstick spots with WD-40 and rewash. Presto! Lipstick is gone.
  26. It removes black scuff marks from the kitchen floor.

By the way, the basic ingredient in WD-40 is fish oil.

Makes duct tape pale in comparison, eh?

 

Sandscript factoid

This is probably not a fact, but it is funny, compliments of humor writer Dave Barry:

“Magnetism is one of the six “fundamental forces of the universe,” with the other five being gravity, duct tape, whining, remote control, and the force that pulls dogs toward the groins of strangers."

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