Okeeheelee Nature Center is a great place to visit in Palm Beach County. My dear friend Mo Kieffer works there as a naturalist. Since Okeeheelee is part of the Palm Beach County Parks & Recreation Department, I have the privelege of helping out from time to time. On this particular trip I brought my Americorps student, Cathy, to observe a typcial day at their center.
First we watched Mo teach a story time lesson to her 3-5 year olds. Dip netting with little ones is a brave feat but Mo was excellent. The kids even found a few nice finds including a dragonfly nymph or two and this large apple snail pictured above.
One of the biggest differences between our two nature centers other than the different habitats is that Okeeheelee has over 16 birds of prey. We checked the inventory of chicks and mice before heading out to the deer and bird enclosures.
Okeeheelee's newest member of the team is the hand-fed deer pictured here. Her name is Dodo and she's quite the charmer. I've never met a deer that behaves like a dog until now.
The variety of birds at Okeeheelee is amazing. They have a Peregrine, a Merlin, a Turkey Vulture, a Barred Owl, Barn Owl, 2 Great Horned-Owls, 2 Eastern Screech-Owls, 2 American Kestrals, a Cooper's Hawk, 2 Red-tailed Hawks, a Red-shouldered Hawk, and a Broad-winged Hawk.
I was happily surprised that Mo let me even hold the Barred Owl. She is so much heavier than our little Oliver, the Eastern Screech-Owl.