Author Archives: Christine Eschenfelder

Wise Words Wednesday: Some favorite nature quotes by John Muir

the fellas

John Muir was American’s most famous naturalist and conservationist. Some of his quotes are among the favorite nature quotes of all time.

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.  

Nature is always lovely, invincible, glad, whatever is done  and suffered by her creatures.  All scars she heals, whether  in rocks or water or sky or hearts.

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it  hitched to everything else in the Universe.

You can find many more beautiful words on the Sierra Club John Muir Exhibit website. Muir was the first president of the Sierra Club. You can also celebrate John Muir Day on April 21st. A great way to honor Muir’s birthday is watching Ken Burns’ amazing documentary The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.


A trip on gossamer wings: Fly with the butterflies

Monarch Butterfly

For the love of butterflies

Hey Florida nature lovers!

It feels like Florida lately! Forget spring fever…it feels like summer already. What is a vision of spring/summer without butterflies?!

I set out to take some photos of butterflies recently. My lens and I surrendered pretty quickly. Butterflies are so much fun to watch…and to chase…but, alas, my lens and I were too slow for those delicate and swift little creatures.

Luckily, in Gainesville, I am just minutes away from butterfly paradise.

The Florida Museum of Natural History on the University of Florida campus is home to the Butterfly Rainforest. There you can find some lovely Florida natives including my lovely Monarch as seen above, as well as other beautiful creatures from around the world.

Tree nymph web

You do have to pay admission to get in, but once inside, it really is a tiny paradise. Plants, flowers, a waterfall, birds, butterflies, and enchanted humans.

flowers in rainforest

A few butterflies sat on my shoulder for a minute. I was delighted! If you don’t want to pay to get inside…there is a lovely butterfly garden outdoors, with ideas for plants you can grow to make your own butterfly garden.

Blue phlox

“Beautiful and graceful, varied and enchanting, small but approachable, butterflies lead you to the sunny side of life. And everyone deserves a little sunshine.” – Jeffrey Glassberg

butterfly 4

Here’s hoping you share a little bit of Florida sunshine with me today! You deserve it!


Wise Words Wednesday: Believe…like the birds

You have to believe in happiness, or happiness never comes… That’s the reason a bird can sing, on his darkest day, he believes in spring. – Douglas Malloch

American poet Douglas Malloch encourages us to believe in the power of optimism. These wise words also make me think of how often nature inspires us. This little finch makes me smile, but paired with Malloch’s motivating words I am reminded of the power of positive thinking…and of the power of nature to uplift and motivate us.

Wise Words Wednesdays: Celebrating the birthdays of two wise nature lovers-Jane Goodall and John Burroughs

robin in branches, bird

Happy Birthday to Jane Goodall and John Burroughs!

Jane Goodall’s amazing work with chimpanzees opened a world of understanding about these magnificent and complex primates. Goodall travels frequently, speaking about conservation and the power we all have to make a positive change in the world.

American naturalist and writer John Burroughs died in 1921, but left a legacy of inspiring works on nature.

To honor Goodall and Burroughs on their birthdays, here are some wise words they have given to nature and wildlife lovers everywhere:

If we kill off the wild, we are killing a part of our souls. – Jane Goodall

I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put back in order. – John Burroughs

To learn more about Jane Goodall and her conservation and preservation efforts, check out the Jane Goodall Institute. The John Burroughs Association website includes photos of the cabin where the naturalist did much of his writing and entertaining of some very famous guests.

Watching out for wildlife: Caring for squirrels

Caring for injured or orphaned squirrels

squirrel on tree 2 web

Some of us living in areas with a lot of wildlife wonder what to do if we find injured or orphaned animals. There are resources and animal lovers who volunteer to help injured wildlife.

DonnDonna and one of her furry friends. a Green-Townsend is one of those animals lovers…especially squirrels.


Donna talks about her love and care of injured and orphaned squirrels:


You can reach the Wildlife Helpline from the Florida Wildlife Care Center Donna mentioned at 352-371-4400 or click the link for more information.

Foto Friday: Alligators!

Foto Friday: Living with alligators in Florida

long gator shot web

This alligator is not in a zoo. He is free to roam around the La Chua Trail in Gainesville, Florida.

multi gators webAnd that gator is not alone.

There are usually several gators on the trail…some are pretty large. And sometimes you can see them moving around on the trail.

Living in Florida, you get to know your wild neighbors pretty quickly. So it’s best to keep some important tips in mind, especially when it comes to alligators.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reminds us:

  • Alligators may be in or near fresh or brackish water in any Florida county. Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Do not swim in waters where there may be gators.
  • Alligators are most active between dusk and dawn.
  • Dogs and cats are about the size of the natural prey of alligators. Keep an eye on pets and don’t let dogs swim in water that may contain gators.
  • Leave alligators alone and do not feed them!
  • Keep your distance…that means photographers, too.

gator eye in water webThe Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission also points out that gators play an important role in the ecology of Florida’s wetlands.

Admire them from a safe distance!

Wise Words Wednesdays: Flowers

Wise Words about flowers

Flowers have different meanings in different  cultures. We associate flowers with various occasions and sentiments. Much symbolism is attached to flowers. They elicit smiles, tears, and sneezing for some of us.

Camellia in the sun

Camellia in the sun

So let’s celebrate flowers with some eloquent and clever wise words. Flowers are lovely to behold…thought-provoking to ponder.

Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made, and forgot to put a soul into. -Henry Beecher

Flowers seem intended for the solace of ordinary humanity. -John Ruskin

When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other. – Chinese Proverb

Bread feeds the body, indeed, but flowers feed also the soul. -The Koran

In joy or sadness, flowers are our constant friends. -Kozuko Okakura

We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses. -Abraham Lincoln

De-stress! Stop and smell the roses this week! Think of all the poetry, prose, and photos flowers inspire. Coming up for your Foto Friday…pictures of some creatures that inspire more panic than poetry and tips on living with these Florida icons.