Flip Flop Seahorses

Evolutionary Success Story

Up to 150 recycled flip flops were used by Ocean Sole Africa Project artists to create these seahorse sculptures from a 2020 exhibit hosted by McKee Botanical Gardens, Vero Beach, Indian River County, Florida.

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Seahorses are tiny fish with heads that look like…horses! Their curved flexible tail is used to grasp objects, mostly anchoring the seahorse to plants.

Their genus, Hippocampus, includes 46 species indicating evolutionary success for their body shape and adaptations. Just hatched seahorses cling together in groups, hook by their tails. Excellent at camouflage, a seahorse hides from predators while waiting to ambush dinner.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Road Transformation

sunlight, dappled shade

South/Southwest view from the long hill into Harford, stopping to admire the effect of sunlight, dappled shade and bright yellow, orange, red against the distant ridge sheltering Robinson Hollow. Near Harford, Cortland County, New York.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Flip Flop Manatee

Happy “Profitable Friday” 2022

Up to 400 recycled flip flops were used by Ocean Sole Africa Project artists to create this Manatee sculpture from a 2020 exhibit hosted by McKee Botanical Gardens, Vero Beach, Indian River County, Florida.

Manatee with fans

Manatees are protected under the Endangered Species Act and under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Today, the range-wide population is estimated to be at least 13,000 manatees, with more than 6,500 in the southeastern United States and Puerto Rico.

Florida has cherished the Sea Cow with the population increasing 25% from 1991, going from 1,267 to more than 6,300.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Flip Flop Crab

Eyes on stalks and an exoskeleton composed of chitin

Up to 400 recycled flip flops were used by Ocean Sole Africa Project artists to create each sea turtle sculpture from a 2019 exhibit hosted by McKee Botanical Gardens, Vero Beach, Indian River County, Florida.

Blue land crabs inhabit McKee Gardens, only resembling these specimens, made from as many as 400 discarded flip flops, in having ten legs for which the Order Decapoda is named. The front two legs are specialized chelae (claws) for grabbing and eating whatever is in front of them (omnivorous). Two other characteristics are eyes on stalks and an exoskeleton composed of chitin. From an exhibit of creations by the Ocean Sole Africa project, McKee Botanical Gardens, Vero Beach, Indian River County, Florida.

Blue land crabs inhabit McKee Gardens, only resembling these specimens, made from as many as 400 discarded flip flops, in having ten legs for which the Order Decapoda is named.

The front two legs are specialized chelae (claws) for grabbing and eating whatever is in front of them (omnivorous). Two other characteristics are eyes on stalks and an exoskeleton composed of chitin.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Flip Flop Sea Turtle

Light pollution from beach development is a threat to baby sea turtles; the glow from city sources can cause them to head into traffic instead of the ocean.

450 recycled flip flops were used by Ocean Sole Africa Project artists to create each sea turtle sculpture from a 2019 exhibit hosted by McKee Botanical Gardens, Vero Beach, Indian River County, Florida.

Sea turtles (superfamily Chelonioidea), sometimes called marine turtles, are reptiles of the order Testudines and of the suborder Cryptodira. Sea turtles can be found in all oceans except for the polar regions. Sea turtles are generally found in the waters over continental shelves.

During the first three to five years of life, sea turtles spend most of their time in the pelagic zone floating in seaweed mats. Once the sea turtle has reached adulthood it moves closer to the shore. Females will come ashore to lay their eggs on sandy beaches during the nesting season. Sea turtles migrate to reach their spawning beaches, which are limited in numbers. Living in the ocean therefore means they usually migrate over large distances.

All sea turtles have large body sizes, which is helpful for moving large distances. Large body sizes also offer good protection against the large predators (notably sharks) found in the ocean. Light pollution from beach development is a threat to baby sea turtles; the glow from city sources can cause them to head into traffic instead of the ocean. There has been some movement to protect these areas. On the east coast of Florida, parts of the beach known to harbor sea turtle nests are protected by fences.

This Sea Turtle sculpture graces the entrance of McKee Gardens as a permanent exhibit.

Conservationists have monitored hatchings, relocating lost baby sea turtles to the beach. Hatchlings find their way to the ocean by crawling towards the brightest horizon and can become disoriented along the coastline. Lighting restrictions can prevent lights from shining on the beach and confusing hatchlings. Sea turtle-safe lighting uses red or amber LED light, invisible to sea turtles, in place of white light.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Dryden Drumlin

Drumlin, from the Irish word droimnín (“littlest ridge”)

Carpenter Hill from Virgil Road, Route 392, looking across cornstalk stubble and McClintock Road, a faded yellow barn with “Vinda Acres” written on the doors.

The hill is clearly a drumlin. A drumlin, from the Irish word droimnín (“littlest ridge”), first recorded in 1833, is an elongated hill in the shape of an inverted spoon or half-buried egg formed by glacial ice acting on underlying unconsolidated till or ground moraine.

Distant ridges on the right include Hammond Hill. The road to Virgil above the town of Dryden, Tompkins County, New York.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Flip Flop Octopus

890 recycled flip flops were used in this sculpture

This common octopus (Octopus vulgaris) specimen was created by artists of Ocean Sole Africa. 890 recycled flip flops were used in this sculpture. from a 2019 exhibit hosted by McKee Botanical Gardens, Vero Beach, Indian River County, Florida.

Octopuses are adaptable and intelligent 8-limbed creatures known live in and around ocean reefs, deep ocean and intertidal zones. Invertebrate, without a skeleton an octopus can hide in tight spaces. Maneuvering and hunting, each tentacle is lined with suckers that grab rocks and prey. Existing solely on meat, these carnivores prey on crabs and shellfish, finding them with sharp binocular eyesight and devouring with a sharp parrot-like beak. Their defenses include camouflage, changing skin color to made surroundings, ejection of thick black ink to distract a predator and escape. A last line of defense is sacrificing an arm that can grow back over time. These blue-blooded aristocrats have three hearts!

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Autumn Survey

Across the land

Good news….Click Me for the link to my latest photographs accepted by Getty, from this series of 2022 Fillmore Glen. You may acquire reasonably priced rights to use these photographs in your work.

My Sony Alpha captured our October 16 drive to Fillmore Glen. As we traversed landscapes, the spectacle of Tompkins and Cayuga Counties autumn glory passed by the open passenger side window and, even, the front windshield. Thank You, Pam, for driving.

A turn around our home: Smoke tree, Japanese Maple, Pam’s flower baskets, fallen Oak leaves

Panoramas from our front porch and on to Hector Street descending into and through Ithaca

Headed up Route 34 along Cayuga Lake, into “Farm Country”

Turning onto Locke Road and crossing from Tompkins to Cayuga County

Travelling through Cayuga County, the town of Locke, then Moravia and Fillmore Glen State Park

This is my farewell to “Fall” for now.

Copyright 2022 All Right Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Autumn Wonder

Cornell Botanical Gardens

“Cornell Botanic Gardens is a living museum with a mature botanic garden and arboretum—part of what makes Cornell one of the most beautiful campuses anywhere. We steward over 3,600 acres of biologically diverse landscapes that represent the full range of ecological communities found in the Finger Lakes region.” — from their web site

Pam and I need venture no farther than across the valley, from West to East Hill, for an experience of autumn in all its glory. These IPhone 7 photographs and videos are from a recent visit.

We took in the artistry of the railing, the stone steps, gentle curves.

I marveled at the absence of Gypsy Moth egg masses on the Oak trunks, in spite of evident though modest leaf damage.

Houston Pond is visible in several of the “Buena Vista” images…..

Houston Pond reflections from the pavilion

Another version of reflections from Houston Pond taken from pavilion

“No Place Like Home” — Back on West Hill, our Japanese Maple was waiting for us.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Gorge Wonder

Fillmore Glen Autumn

Ephemeral Waterfall Over the Years

Between bridges six (6) and seven (7) on the Gorge trail a cascade comes down the canyon wall. Mid-summer this brook can dry out, the waterfall disappears leaving this spot naked of water.

Taken over a period of thirteen (13) years, the cascade was alive and well autumn-time. This year, after the summer drought our autumn rains were sparse, the flow is the lowest photographed.

Copyright 2022 All Right Reserved Michael Stephen Wills