Over at Octagon Wildlife Sanctuary, owner Lauri Caron shared her passion for the facility. At first glance, it's just another refuge for exotic and wild animals but learning the story of each animal and the emotional investment Caron has made humanizes the sanctuary. Many of the animals, including bears, lions, tigers and monkeys, were harmed by the hands of humans and Octagon is providing a comfortable place for them to live out their years. (Octagon Wildlife Sanctuary, 41660 Horseshoe Rd., Punta Gorda)For a better understanding of Florida beaches and why they are important for our environment, Missy Christie with Charlotte County Community Services’ Parks and Natural Resources provided an amazing and educational tour of Stump Pass Beach State Park. Touring it with Missy gave me a new perspective and respect for the park. We saw a pair of bald eagles building their nest and a gopher tortoise seeking shelter. She explained the nesting habits of snowy plovers and how they lay their eggs on the sand without protection. She cautioned when you hear a bird squawking on the beach, it probably means you’re close to a nest so be careful where you step.
During this trip I was reminded why so many of us choose to live in Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands. It's the passion of our neighbors who enjoy the same things we do: the natural amenities, great restaurants, terrific attractions, boutique shopping and that small-town America charm.
Hope you will come visit soon and take advantage of our good nature.This article appears in the Jan. 2011 issue of The Parrot Entertainment Magazine.