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Chickahasawhatchee brings wildlife to visitors

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April 22, 2008

Dougherty County -- Wildflowers sporadically paint a wooded landscape so serene  that the sound of birds is about all you can hear.

"One of the things people are taken by is the peace and just getting away from it all. In these areas you feel like you are absolutely alone in the world," said Department of Natural Resources Regents Supervisor, Julie Robbins.

And this is the scene in the more than 19,000 acres that make up the Chickasawhatchee Swamp. "This is the second largest wetland complex here, second in size only to the Okefanokee swamp," said Robbins. 

This wildlife preserve is home to some of the rarest species left on our planet. "It's also home too several endangered species. You might find Wood Storks in the area, Bald Eagles, Gopher Tortoises and animals like some of the mussel species," said Robbins.

Scientists from the Jones Ecological center monitor the water levels of these swamp lands. "This is a major recharge area for the upper Florida aquifer, and they want to make sure they keep track with what's going on with those water levels," said Robbins.

The preserve is also a popular area for deer, wild turkey and small game hunting. "The management area is also open to folks at anytime to do bird watching, hiking and just walking," said Robbins.

But most importantly it serves as a link to nature. "Wildlife management areas provide an opportunity for the public to interact with nature. And that gets them thinking about what they can do around their property and around their area to improve wildlife," said Robbins.

So that places like this won't get wiped off the face of the Earth.

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