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Lecture: Florida edibles, nature-made survival tools

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Within the bounds of the fragrant, fertile land of Florida lies an endless supply of rich natural resources; nature-made survival tools that, as an added bonus, can be downright delicious! The Academia Hernando community learning series will present “Edible Florida & Basic Survival Skills,” a presentation that will be given on Friday, Oct. 7, at 10 am by Don Philpott, at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 2301 Deltona Blvd., Spring Hill.

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Academia Hernando is a not-for-profit lifelong learning organization that provides quality instruction and learning experiences for adult students throughout Hernando County and beyond. Their goal is to inform, educate, and inspire adult learners through a series of weekly lectures on a wide variety of topics.

“Disasters can happen anytime, anywhere. A hurricane, tornado or wildfire could destroy your home. You could get lost while out on a stroll in the woods. Your vehicle could break down in a remote area miles from anywhere. All of these could put you in survival mode and this would be made worse if someone with you was also seriously hurt,” read an event description. “Foraging food for free can be fun if you want to add some interesting and nutritious ingredients to your meals or need a handy trail-side snack. However, knowing what to forage for is a skill that will enhance your appreciation of and enjoyment in the countryside and is something you can do with family and friends. For centuries, wild plants and herbs have been used to treat ailments in the countryside and some of these remedies can still be very useful today. The great outdoors provides a year-round abundant supply of free and nutritional food for those willing to explore it. Join us as we explore nature’s edible larder.”

Don Philpott has more than 250 books published on a wide range of subjects. In 2009, he wrote the Guide to The Wekiva Basin State Parks (reprinted in 2013) – with all profits going to the park. He has published more than 5,000 articles in newspapers and magazines, and is a volunteer at Wekiwa Springs State Park where he helps run the nature center and interpretive programs, both within the park and as part of the outreach program. He teaches “Edible Florida” and “Basic Survival” courses throughout Florida and was selected as Florida State Parks Volunteer of the Year for services to the park service. He is president of the Wekiva Wilderness Trust, the park’s Citizen Support Organization, and a member of the Friends of the Wekiva River, the National Audubon Society and the National Association for Interpretation.

“My presentation will focus on several studies that have recently been conducted in Florida’s award winning 175 state parks,” he explained. “These include a fascinating look at some of the critters that used to roam Florida thousands of years ago, and many of the hundreds of plants found in state parks that are edible or have medicinal uses.”

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Practical safety issues will be another focus of Philpott’s presentation. He stated, “I will also be talking about how to stay safe when exploring the great outdoors and how to predict the weather from observing nature.”

Philpott, who has had a lifelong interest in conservation and the environment was a member of the Conservation Corps and Royal Society for the Protection of Birds in the UK, and for many years volunteered as a relief ranger and guide at Minsmere Bird Reserve where many of Europe’s rarest species breed are discovered. He is president of Friends of Florida State Parks, a Florida Master Naturalist (FMN), and an instructor with the University of Florida’s FMN program teaching classes in Seminole County, FL. He is also a Florida Master Gardener and a Certified Interpretive Guide.

“With his 250 books and endless information, Don Philpott makes for an excellent expert on Florida living,” said Sharon Printz, board member of Academia Hernando. “We have so much flora and fauna down here to learn about and Don is the person to teach us.”

Coming up at Academia Hernando is “China Under Communism” on Friday, Oct. 14 at 10 am, which will be presented by Dr. David Kelly; “Around the World in 100 Minutes” will be presented on Friday, Oct. 21 at 10 am by Joy Katzen- Guthrie; Nan Colton will present “Agatha Christie, Queen of Murder Mysteries” on Friday, Oct. 28 at 10am; Ross Tarr, M.S. and Wanda Stuart, M.S will present “Storyteller of Old Tampa” on Friday, Nov. 4, at 10 am: and the series will culminate with a Mystery Bus Excursion on Friday, Nov. 11.

Academia Hernando, formed as a division of learning in retirement of the University of South Florida, was originally entitled “Mondays in Brooksville” and met in the Commission Chambers of the Courthouse. It was Incorporated as a 501(c) 3 domestic non-profit business on November 18, 2010.

The Academia Hernando lectures begin promptly at 10 am and lasts for 2 hours with a 15 minute intermission. To register for the entire lecture series in addition to a mystery excursion, print the registration form found at https://www.academiahernando.org/fall-series and mail with your check for $80 payable to Academia Hernando, Inc. and mail to:
Bev Nuzzi
15027 Middle Fairway Drive
Brooksville, FL 34609

Checks also can be brought to an Academia Hernando presentation; in addition, walkin admissions are available at $15 per presentation. Visit https://www.academiahernando.org/ for more information or call (352) 345-8345.

Don Philpott
Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey is a features journalist and author who is the winner of Florida Press Association honors and a certificate of appreciation from LINCS (Family Support Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force) and Sunrise Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center for her newspaper coverage of these issues. She graduated cum laude from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., with a journalism major and English/sociology minor, and previously wrote for publications that include the Pasco editions of The Tampa Tribune and Tampa Bay Times. A native of Indiana, she lives in Florida.
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