Our last week at the University of West Florida was one of the most well rounded and far traveled part of the trip. On this location we focused on watersheds and the impacts of upload runoff, Thallasia Testudinum and Halodule Wrightii sea grass beds, and the very unique dune lake located in Walton County. On our first day we traveled through the Blackwater River State Park and explored, as well as discussed, some controlled burning areas, as well as areas that were burnt from wildfire. We also saw wetlands areas that hosted home to many different species of plants, including the carnivorous pitcher plants that very fascinating in themselves. We also discussed the importance of commercialization and the affect they have on creeks, and saw the differences of healthy and unhealthy examples of them. Our second day we spent our time helping a graduate student with her research project on submerged groundwater discharge on Scenic Bluffs.
Our forth day was pretty interesting, and dare I say fun.
Out last day was spent in canoes and kayaks on the uniquely made dune lakes located in Walton County, about an hour and half east of Pensacola. We walked for about 45 minutes, discussing the plants that grew there (long leaf pine, Palmetta, etc) and their importance in wetland ecology until arriving at an insert into the dune lake. There we suited up and hopped in and explored, as well sampled the waters of this distinctive and incredible habitat. These lakes are very rare and it was a special occasion to have the opportunity to explore one in a lifetime. All in all this week was a great last week and I'm glad to have spent it in the place I call home.