Invasive species and other problems with which you may wish to work:
Relatively common in Mexico and South America,
the Caracara is found in the Okeechobee,
Highlands, Glades County area of Florida where our
Department of Environmental Sciences has an
active research program. The caracara has a very
small breeding colony in our area and is listed as a
This photo was taken by our chancellor, Dr. Janice
Learman. The large and exotic bird allowed Jan to
get uncharacistically close in order to shoot this
picture. Perhaps your luck will be as good if you
register for our program!
students may choose research
the Great Lakes
will also gladly
design an environmental preservation or education project in your own area. Our program is
designed with you and your educational needs as our first priority.
You may work in the
prairie, forest, river,
lake or seashore!
Department of Environmental Sciences, page 2
Saint James College Seminary
Help save the area where you live!
|You may do
work close to
home for college
This is Gracie, a Great White Egret.
tropical research garden every morning -- thus
gracing the staff members' lives with her lovely
Normally, she and her species have a yellow beak and
fairly straight tail feathers. However, we are moving into
the breeding season and at this time of year, Great White
Egrets' faces turn a surprisingly distinct green color...and
their tails become prominent and beautifully fluffy.
There used to be million's of Gracie's ancestors in the
Everglades area. The sun was literally hidden by
horizon-to-horizon flocks of these majestic Egrets
numbering in the millions. But, toward the end of the 19th
and beginning of the 20th Centuries, hunters slaughtered
all but a small remnant... and they did this merely to
supply feathers for stylish women's hats!
Today, there is a vastly reduced but fairly stable breeding
population that is still threatened by habit degradation.
Gracie and her relatives need your help!
Other projects with which you may wish to become involved....
The Gopher Tortoise is a very cool creature...one we love to study!
This is the only tortoise in North America. (Oddly, after protracted
deliberation and much political maneuvering, it has been named Florida's
official tortoise -- although it seems as if it might have simply won by default!)
Gopher Tortoises are vegetarians who live in borrows they make in the ground
...some nearly fifty feet in length.
These unique tortoises are gentle, slow...and in trouble.
They have been the subject of special regulation in Florida since the early
1970's when they were designated a species of special concern. However,
habitat destruction has continued to thin out their numbers and, in 2007,
they were declared to be a "threatened species."
The tortoise is considered to be a "keystone" species because its long burrow provides a home as many at 350 other
species of animals, insects, and reptiles. Also, during prairie or forest fires, numerous creatures seek shelter in the
tortoises' homes and thus survive.
Unfortunately, habitat destruction and predation (people kill them for food) are continuing to reduce this gentle tortoises'
Mangroves are being vigorously protected to provide marine "nurseries"
and also prevent shoreline erosionin the water and perhaps reach a shoreline that is suitable for mangrove development. The sharp points at
If you live in a mangrove area, you probably are sick and tired of
hearing the government's and environmentalists' frequent
demands for increased regulation of these tropical waterfront trees.
They are enigmas...the tree many non-scientists
love to hate.
Mangroves live in full salt water in protected bays,
and in brackish (part fresh, part salt) coves and
estuaries. One small "seed pod" such as the one
pictured at the right may fall off a tree, float randomly
the base stick into the sand of muck, and begin growing into a multi-rooted tree such as the one shown at the
While there are dozens of mangrove species (and more that are called "mangroves" but are not), the one that
most annoys southern waterfront owners is the Red Mangrove, or Rhizophora mangle. The roots of the
mangrove make a wonderful underwater "forest" that is ideal for fish to spawn, crabs to live, and to make a
rich, silt-laden habitat for many other tiny creatures. Oysters will typically begin growing on the mangrove
roots themselves. A bonus is that, if you look at the dozens of roots sent down by the mangrove, you can
certainly see how it would be nearly impossible to pull one out of the sand. This, say the "experts", prevents
erosion from the surf of major storms and hurricanes.
Humans are animals...and we deserve a habitat, too!
As common as this argument is, it is pretty much unfounded. The reason? As we mentioned above, mangroves tend to
grow in sheltered waters, not out where one finds open surf. Consequently, regardless of their benefits as a nursery for
small fish, small crabs and the like, mangroves provide very little protection from wave action.
As a potential student in Saint James College's Department of Environmental Sciences, you undoubtedly want to know the
truth and build your career activities around reality rather than fiction. Mangroves' value, while real, is too often overstated
by those who claim to have impeccable credentials in such matters.
This is important because untold miles of privately-owned shoreline is under mandatory "mangrove re-forestation", which
seriously impinges on property owner's rights.
In Florida, for example, hundreds of thousands of homes have mangrove trees growing along their bay or canal
waterfronts. But, Florida law will allow them to be trimmed only to a 6-foot height. Also owners of property with a shoreline
of more than 150-feet may not trim more than 65-percent of the mangroves along the shoreline.
These people are paying taxes for waterfront property and their deeds say that they have a legal right to "use and enjoy"
their premises. Yet, if you own waterfront with mangroves growing along the waterline, you are required by law to have a
possibly unnecessary 6-foot high wall of impenetrable growth between your and your view. And, sadly, the height mandated
for mangrove fringes actually provides very little environmental benefit.
This is an example of "Environmentalism" Run Amok. It is hoped that our students will be
able to bring a moderating influence to the field.
Saint James College Seminary offers program that factors in spiritual responsibility when dealing with
affordable online environmental science
certificate, bachelors, and graduate
programs. All of our environmental science
undergraduate and graduate degrees are
based on the spiritual and ethical aspects of
saving our planet. We are the only school in
the world with an environmental studies
sustainability, ending air and water pollution, global warming, habitat
destruction and habitat restoration issues. And, this is done in the
context of women's scientific abilities and practical sensitivities. Our
tuitions are lower than any other similar online degrees programs,
whether Certified Environmental Technician, undergraduate, or graduate
schools. We invite you to join us!
Killer Toads are Here
And, we're not saying that to be cute!
|Read USFW interview
about BIGFOOT with
special feature about
Everglades Skunk Ape
The Invasive Bufo Toad is Bringing
Fear and Death to Its Expanding
Originally, these were brought to the U.S. to control
pests in sugar cane fields (thus their alternate name,
Cane Toads). Others were released by Florida pet
dealers. Today, these amphibians are officially
designated as beyond control by the National Park
Bufo Marinus or Bufonidae are large, dangerously
toxic, toads capable of causing death and serious
sickness to humans and almost-certain death
pets and hungry wildlife. There is no anti-venom.
Huge Toads: The Bufo (cane) toad is exceptionally
large, with the longer females attaining an average
length of six to nine inches. That's an average.
They can grow larger! They can weigh 3-lbs.!! A
Cottontail Rabbit weighs 1.64-2.94 pounds! (CT DEP)
They breed by the thousands in southern swamps,
lakes, canals...and backyard ponds, fountains and
even swimming pools. In spite of their marine /
water origin, these killers do not have webbed feet.
Dangerous Poison: Adult Bufo toads possess
prominent enlarged parotoid glands behind the eyes,
as well as other toxic glands situated across their
upper backs. When these toads are annoyed,
threatened, touched, licked, squeezed,or about to be
eaten, these glands secrete a milky-white-yellowish
toxin. This fluid can sicken and kill a wide variety of
animals, ranging from a few humans to a huge
number of family pets.
The problem is exacerbated by the toads' rapid
adaptation to suburban areas, where they happily
live in flowering hedges, shrubbery, gardens, and
ornamental grasses. They are particularly fond of
small backyard ponds and fountains. And, they can
live at least 15-years!
Death for Pets and Many Preditors: If a dog or a
cat attacks, plays with, or even licks a cane toad, the
resulting toxic secretion is likely to cause a horribly
painful death from fevers over 105-degrees,
seizures, and heart attacks. These can occur quickly
and an immediate visit to an emergency vet is
required to save the pet's life.
Diet: These invasive creatures love to eat rodents,
small reptiles, snakes, other toads and frogs, and
bugs. They even successfully hunt and kill birds
around family bird feeders. And, they love to eat
dog and cat food left outside and, later, when the
pet dines from the bowl, even the toad's toxic
residue is enough to sicken and kill.
Range: In the U.S., the toad exists along the Rio
Grande and southward into Latin America whereas in
Florida it can be found from the Keys to north of a
line between Tampa-Orlando-Daytona Beach. They
are so invasive that the Florida Fish and Wildlife
Conservation Commission (FWC) has issued a plea
for residents to euthanize those that they catch.
Experimentation: The Department of Environmental
toads in its
traps are set
We have had University of Alabama in our gardens, also catching
live specimens, drawing blood samples, and taking
the giant toads back to campus for dissection. Not
only is their poison a threat to humans and animals,
but these scientists are looking into the possibility
that these giant toads are also carrying dangerous
bacteria into residential areas as they extend their