Our wonderful ponds in Wildflower Preserve just off Gasparilla Island would be more welcoming to birds and reptiles with more basking spots.
Volunteer Charles Kozora, handy with a saw and hammer, took up the challenge and built a small raft to entice some critters to use it. Birds such as the cormorant already like the floating home away from home.
We are watching to see if turtles have trouble getting onto the raft and will modify as needed. We would also like to accommodate the sandhill cranes watching from the shoreline, which visit daily from their nests in Lemon Lake to drink freshwater. We would love to entice them to nest on a floating raft such as is used for loons in northern lakes.
Sandhill cranes visit Vernas Pond daily from their nests in Lemon Lake to drink freshwater.
If anyone has a homemade design for a "house boat" for critters we would love to hear from you!
William Dunson, Ph.d., professor emeritus of biology at Penn State University, splits time between Southwest Florida and his farm in Galax, Va. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.