A Day at Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge

Edge of the Prarie
Edge of the Prairie

Commonly known as the Okefenokee Swamp, it is located near Folkston, GA – near the Georgia-Florida border. Though most people consider it a swamp, it is really a peat bog. A bog is a wetland underlain with peat, dead plant material that forms a woody, brown, fibrous blanket. Most of us know it from the peat moss we buy in garden stores. It is home to a wide variety of wildlife that live among the forest of balled cypress trees covered with Spanish Moss and the prairie, a tannin rich pond whose dark brown water is covered by water lilies and other plants.
The Okefenokee is not fed by any river or stream. It is a natural basin that is filled by rainfall on the pond and runoff from the surrounding terrain. Though it is only fed by rainwater, the pond maintains an average depth of 2 – 2 ½ feet of water. Twenty Five percent of its water drains to the Atlantic Ocean via the St Mary’s River. The remaining 75% drains to the Gulf of Mexico via the Suwanee River of “Way Down Upon the Suwanee River” fame.
During the late 1800’s it was heavily logged for its rot resistant cypress wood. The main canal through the swamp was an attempt to drain the bog to the east for purposes of transporting lumber. The canal was dug by hand but was not completed because it wasn’t deemed possible to dig through the natural berm on the east side of the basin.
Native Americans occupied the area surrounding the swamp between 500AD and 1840 when the Seminole tribe was driven off. There is record of Spanish settlement between 1625 and 1640. In 1937, the federal government purchased the Okefenokee and created the Okefenokee Wildlife Refuge. The facilities were first developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps between 1937 and 1941.

Note: Click on caption to see image at larger size and higher resolution.

Water Lily
Water Lily
Alligator
Alligator
Spanish Moss Covered Balled Cypress
Spanish Moss Covered Balled Cypress
Eastern Barred Owl
Eastern Barred Owl
Cricket Frog on a Lily Pad
Cricket Frog on a Lily Pad
Water Lily
Water Lily
Eastern Amberwing Dragonfly
Eastern Amberwing Dragonfly
Juvenile Alligator
Juvenile Alligator
Spanish Moss on a Tree Limb
Spanish Moss on a Tree Limb
Prarie and Forest
Prairie and Forest
Eastern Barred Owl
Eastern Barred Owl
Water Llly
Water Lily
Male Eastern Pondhawk Dragonfly
Male Eastern Pondhawk Dragonfly
Sunset from the Main Canal
Sunset on the Main Canal
Sunset from the Main Canal - Perspective 2
Sunset on the Main Canal – Perspective 2

 

Almost Dark
Almost Dark

 

Note: These and other images are available for purchase at my website: www.earthwatcher.us or by contacting larry@earthwatcher.us

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