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[APD] 3rd annual Plant Fest Florida 2005 event

Plant Fest 2K5 in Florida July 8-14th (FW days 8-11th and then the Marine
version 12-14th)! Swim with plecos loose in the wild, Everglades aquatic
plant nursery tour, trip to Tampa Public aquarium presentation at Tampa's
aquarium society, more driftwood than you shake a stick at, native fish,
weeds and more weeds. Stop watching the Discovery channel and do the
Discovery channel.

Float down tranquil submersed clear water springs in an inner tube on a
warm summer day passing by ancient Bald Cypress forest, Turtles, fish, 15
submersed plant species growing below you. Canoe down a clear water river,
see invasive Crypts, canoe down a black soft water river full of fish and
plant, swim with plecos, we may opt to stop by one of the rare Saltwater
springs (there are plants- Potamogeton, Hydrilla and Val growing very
well). We will also FW tidepool along the Suwannee river blackwaters. We
will tour the Center for Aquatic Weeds at UF one afternoon or early
morning, time permitting. 

David Hewck will be giving us a tour of Everglades Exotic Plants nursery on
July 11th (folks will also be allowed to purchase plants I believe) and we
will all go to the Tampa Bay Aquarium society later for a presentation
later that evening and tour the Public Aquarium in Tampa.

As always, we will make a trip to Tom's for driftwood and petrified wood.
If you are coming in from JAX, best to stop there on the way in/out. 

Marine plant Fest is more formal and truthfully will have many folks going
salt. I set it up more like a class that is out to gather examples of the
various species of macro algae and marine plants. We stay in dorm like
settings and collect during the day, speciate at night and hangout, eat,
drink and tend sun burnt backs. 
Day one we will take a boat out to a reef and snorkel. On the way we will
stop by and see Cladphora ball formation. We wills stop along the bay and
collect plants, the gain Caulerpa, and other rarer species on the boat
trip. Then we will travel to the other side of Key Largo and snorkel in the
Mangrove forest. This is not to be underestimated, the life under these
forest is incredible. Day 2 we can opt to rent a boat to head out to an
uninhabited island evening BBQ, and Day 3 we will island hop in the morning
and spend the evening/late afternoon in Key West shopping, eating and sight

Registration is required this year and the groups are limited to 15 people
for each event. 
This is an inexpensive opportunity to see some awesome freshwater planted
ecosystems and saltwater plants in perhaps some of the best places on
earth, we do not have to go far to see plants in nature. Registrants need
to be able to swim and handle warm humid weather.
Each day you will have a chance to get very wet and cool off.

ORL, Tampa and JAX are close by and cheap flights in/out are available,
Busch Gardens, Disney and many other theme parks and events are close so
spouse and kids can do other activities as well. Spouse and kids are
welcomed and generally have as much fun as the plant zealots on the Fest(
it's happened in the past).

I will have announcements later as to the cost and items that will be
plaided for. I am likely going to rent a van with 18 people capacity and we
will use that to go to the various sites. This will be dependent on what
folks are wanting, it'll make things cheaper and easier to go to each site.
Should other folks wish to rent their own or drive down (or have a van),
they are welcomed to. Snorkel equipment is available across the street from
the Motel we will be at and rates run 29.99 a night and 22$ person in the
Marine version(it's right on the water). Food we all share (BBQ after the
ride down the rivers) or do ourselves, fees for canoes/tubes, state parks
we all pay as we go and are cheap. This is the cheapest way to do this and
keeps cost down for everyone. 
Tom Barr 

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