What does NSIS stand for?
NSIS pays you all to maintain the site up, right?
Nope. And, there's just me. I'm responsible for the design, content, programming -- good and bad. Nor are there paid advertisers here. I don't get paid by the number of times people visit the site although some income trickles in from book sales.
So, why'd you do it?
This site is a labor of love. As a Florida native, I want to share the natural wonders of the state with others -- many of which are around us everyday and we just don't know it -- the life of Florida that exists just beyond our insulated homes and the urban rat race. When that life does impose itself on our busy lives, the response is often to consider it a nuisance or pest -- to get rid of it by any means -- because we don't understand what it is, its role in the world, or that a particular annoying
behavior is temporary.
Can I use your site as a reference for my school report?
Sure. Here's how to do the citation:
Send me all the information you have on <something>, my research paper is due Thursday!
Marianne Cowley. <title of page>. Your Florida Backyard. <copyright date>.
<url of web page>.
Marianne Cowley. NSIS: Florida Wildlife: Newts. Your Florida Backyard. 2000.
Ha ha ha! Lessee, you want me to drag out all my books, copy the relevant pages, write an essay and.. isn't that what you're supposed to be doing at the library?
Can I reproduce one (or more) of your images or pages?
With my written permission provided it's for non-commercial use, yes. Everything on the site is protected by copyright. Just drop me some
The website should have more photos of <my favorite critter>, when will you have some?
As soon as I have the time to be in the vicinity of your favorite critter, said critter is kind enough to mosey out when the lighting's right and I'm in a position to take the photo, I develop the film, scan the photo(s), and get them on the site. :)
Why'd you name the site "Your Florida Backyard"?
Why isn't the site more activist-oriented?
Most of the information on this site is about what's in our backyards or could be. I've tried to provide a brief glimpse of just how complex the ecological web is by showing the interrelationships between native plants and animals. Hands-on preservation of large habitat is something most people can't do directly (though many organizations
welcome volunteers) but we can make our small plots more friendly to wildlife -- and see the results by merely glancing out
What if I find a mistake on the site?
I don't make a point of beating the environmental drum. Not only do others
do a much better job of it than I ever could, I believe that as a person learns about the region's plantlife and wildlife, increasing environmental awareness is a natural side effect. There will always be people who are so self-centered, often driven by greed, that no matter how obvious a situation is, they will refuse to see it and continue to rationalize their own actions. Recently,
I had the opportunity to watch the Burrowing Owls
in Cape Coral. Standing sentinel on the stakes that mark their nests, they're unaware that "For Sale" signs hang just a few feet away. All around their little piece of perfect habitat are new houses -- houses, with carefully manicured lawns and little pesticide warning signs, that scream "environmentally awareness" with their manatee mailboxes. (It's okay to displace a species of special concern if you raise a totem to an endangered one?)
I'm diligent about the facts I present, but that doesn't guarantee I won't make mistakes. If you notice something amiss, please let me know and provide a reference if you can.
Why don't you have info on ...?
I dream of presenting information on all aspects of Florida's great web of biodiversity but I doubt that would be possible in several lifetimes (of course, the cynic in me cautions that the task shrinks as habitat is destroyed, pollution continues, and non-native species run rampant). I do what I can.
I saw/heard a bird.. what is it?
I sympathize, I really do! I'm also not going to be any help. I'm not good at bird calls -- I recognize them when I hear them, but reduce them to text and they never look like what I hear.
How can I contact you?
And id'ing warblers, small shorebirds, and hawks is what makes birdwatching so much fun, in a twisted, drive-you-nuts sort of way. Find a bird that will accommodate you and stay in one spot for several hours. Get the specific guides.. be happy if you can say with certainty, "yes, it IS a warbler" -- or you will go nuts.
Learn to be satisfied with "cool, it could be a female This Hawk or a That Hawk in first year plumage or.. by golly, it IS a hawk!" As for the little shorebirds.. aren't they cute? If it doesn't have a distinctive bill (indicative of a plover), it's probably a sandpiper -- which one? Clear your throat, peer at the little guy, and announce with certainty, "Oh! Look at the peep." Anyone in the know will recognize immediately that you are an experienced birder who knows the technical term for "some kind of sandpiper, beats me which one."
Of course, you will still go through all your guides again and again... and kick yourself for not getting a good look at his belly, or noticing if there was a faintly different colored feather on his shoulder.. just go with the flow. We all know the story of the birder who just vanished from the beach, a safe 20 feet from the shore. It's not like he was pecked to death by Snowy Egrets. He could not accept the fact that he was looking at a small flock of peeps. He imploded. On the spot. Honest.
You can contact me via
. If you don't receive a reply within a day or two, I'm probably swamped, and will respond asap.