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Wildlife Awareness Week at FGCU

Jessica Piland

Wildlife Awareness Week is the first week of April and I’m grateful to be spending it as a student at FGCU. 

FGCU has over half of its campus allocated to conservation areas and preserves due to the endangered species that first claimed the land as their home. You can find all sorts of exotic species in the wetlands, marshes, ponds, cypress forests, pine flatwoods and more. The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) conducted a study on the environment surrounding the FGCU campus in 1995 before construction began to ensure an environmentally friendly design. FGCU then conducted an assessment to identify endangered and vulnerable species with habitats on campus land. The university found 838 species ranging from fish, birds, reptiles, amphibians, mammals and invertebrates with a special “exotic” section for each. Vegetation and wildlife are still monitored by the use of cameras around campus. 

I remember when I was on campus late one Tuesday night attending a campus ministry large group. I walked out of the Water School and made my way down the path alongside the library pond. To my surprise, an otter joined me on my walk. While remaining a few paces ahead of me, he turned around every couple of steps almost to ensure that I was still there with him, or possibly to let me know that he was still there with me. I always enjoyed the wildlife on campus, but I had never had a personal experience with the wildlife FGCU has to offer until then. I couldn’t wait to be on campus again after that experience, waiting for my new friend to make an appearance. 

I also enjoy walking down the wooden bridge from class to my car in parking garage three. I often hear creatures beneath me, enjoying their home and allowing students to enjoy them. Pretty Red-headed Woodpeckers can be spotted high up the trees and oak toads can be heard down below in the wetlands. Fish swim happily in the wet season and vegetation makes a bolder appearance in the dry season. 

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FGCU not only prides itself in its conserved land and wildlife but also in its environmental education effort for all students. Colloquium is a required course at FGCU that raises awareness about the environment on campus and in Southwest Florida. Students can take better care of the area they work and study in by knowing Florida’s wildlife needs. I’m looking forward to taking the Colloquium course in the upcoming summer semester to deepen my understanding of the FGCU campus wildlife.

From the Florida Black Bears in the forest that keep their appearance scarce to the Great Blue Herons in the wetlands that offer tranquility to every passerby, FGCU’s lush campus is the perfect location to enjoy Wildlife Awareness Week in Florida.

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About the Contributors
Cristina Pop
Cristina Pop, Eagle News Assistant Opinion Editor
Cristina Pop is majoring in journalism. She is a new addition to our team of editors, which has been her dream since she started grading papers with her English teacher in 7th grade and writing for her personal Christian blog. Aside from writing, Cristina enjoys volleyball and sunset swimming at the beach.
Jessica Piland
Jessica Piland, Eagle News Photo Editor
Jessica Piland is a senior majoring in political science and minoring in global studies. She found her passion for photography during her senior year of high school after shooting some film for fun with her grandfather’s camera from the 80s. In addition to her work as photo editor for Eagle News, she works as a staff photographer for FGCU Athletics and is a photography intern with the University Marketing and Communications department. As she enters her third year as photo editor, she is excited for the fun stories, campus events, and breaking news that Eagle News will be covering!

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