Are you a science hobbyist?

The National Science Foundation needs your help. A research study is investigating the characteristics and educational experiences of people who are active in science hobbies. More and more people are engaging in science hobbies; schools and science centers would like to know more about the characteristics of science hobbyists and how these organizations might better support hobbyists’ networking and education.

The information gained from this research can help science educators and researchers understand how to better teach science in schools and museums, and how to design better community-based science programs. Participation in this study is voluntary. Information you provide will be anonymous. If you complete the survey, you may elect to enter a drawing for a $100 Target gift card.

Visit to complete the survey.


Four more free fishing days

Florida currently offers the public four license-free fishing days per year, where the requirement to have a recreational fishing license is waived for residents and visitors. Saltwater license-free fishing days this year were on June 1 and Sept. 1 and freshwater’s were April 6 and June 8.

During its Sept. 5 meeting, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission added four more license-free fishing days to the calendar, and the Florida Legislature approved this increase earlier this year.

The additional saltwater license-free fishing days will be Saturday, Oct. 12 and Saturday, Nov. 30 and additional freshwater license-free days will be Friday, Nov. 29 and Saturday, Dec. 28.

The FWC also set dates for 2014 and beyond. All eight days will now fall on the same day of the week from year to year, allowing potential anglers to plan fishing trips in advance.

For 2014 and beyond, the following dates will be license-free fishing days: Saltwater: First Saturday and Sunday in June; First Saturday in September; and Saturday following Thanksgiving. Freshwater: First Saturday and Sunday in April; and the Second Saturday and Sunday in June

To make these events accessible to as many people as possible, the FWC planned these dates around holiday weekends and national events and National Fishing and Boating Week. Highlighted by significant national media coverage and public events, National Fishing and Boating Week promotes boating and fishing across the country as fun and healthy outdoor activities.


Wings over Florida

The Great Florida Birding & Wildlife Trail's free bird listing reward program Wings Over Florida is more popular than ever, surpassing its best ever year in terms of the number of certificates awarded.

Do you keep a Florida life list? Visit Then print and fill out a Wings Over Florida rules and application form and Checklist of Florida birds; mail them both to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission c/o Andy Wraithmell, Wings Over Florida Program, P.O. Box 6181, Tallahassee, FL 32314-6181

If you have taken part in Wings Over Florida before and are continuing to build your Florida life list, you may have qualified for a higher level certificate. Certificates are awarded as follows: Cardinal level - 50 to 149 species, Scrub-Jay level - 150 to 249 species, Skimmer level - 250 to 299 species, Egret level - 300 to 349 species and Kite level - 350+ species.

 Do you keep a list of how many bird species you see each calendar year? Starting in January 2014 we will start awarding a Florida Big Year certificate for birders who see more than 150 species during a single calendar year!

We are also working on a new online application process, to include tips on where to go birding in Florida and bird identification, and aiming to to have this new service available towards the end of 2013.

We are also developing a Wings Over Florida Butterfly program with the University of Florida. For more information about Wings Over Florida contact Andy Wraithmell