Dead Lakes Kayaking/ Wewahitchka Tupelo Honey: EcoAdventures North Florida


[MUSIC AND HUMMING BEES]
>>DAN TONSMEIRE: WEWA IS KIND OF, UH, THE TUPELO HONEY CAPITOL.
>>LEIGH LITTLE NEWSOME: ANYWHERE YOU GO, THEY KNOW WEWAHITCHKA BY THE TUPELO HONEY.
[MUSIC]>>ROB DIAZ DE VILLEGAS: TODAY WE LOOK AT TUPELO
HONEY, FROM TREE, TO BEE, TO APIARY. JENNIFER JENKINS IS THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
OF THE GULF COUNTY TOURIST DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL.>>JENNIFER JENKINS: HERE IN GULF COUNTY, WE
BREATHE WATER, SO EVERYTHING WE DO IS BASED AROUND THE WATER. WE HAVE SO MANY DIVERSE
WATER SYSTEMS. SO, OBVIOUSLY WE HAVE THE GULF, WE HAVE SAINT JOSEPH BAY. WE HAVE THE FRESHWATER
SYSTEM: THE CHIPOLA RIVER, THE APALACHICOLA RIVER, AND, OBVIOUSLY, THE DEAD LAKES.
THEY’RE CREEPY. THEY’RE MYSTERIOUS. THEY HAVE THEIR OWN CHARACTER AND PERSONALITY NO MATTER
WHERE YOU GO.>>MATT GODWIN: WE’RE ACTUALLY ON WEST ARM
CREEK, WE JUST PUT IN AT THE COUNTY RECREATION AREA, DEAD LAKES RECREATION PARK.
MATT GODWIN RUNS OFF THE MAP EXPEDITIONS IN WEWAHITCHKA. HE’S ACCOMPANIED ON HIS BOAT
BY APALACHICOLA RIVERKEEPER DAN TONSMEIRE->>DAN TONSMEIRE: THE CHIPOLA CONTRIBUTES ABOUT
15% OF THE FLOW THAT GOES TO (APALACHICOLA) BAY. SO, WE DO LOOK AT DEVELOPMENTS AND ISSUES
IN THE CHIPOLA WATERSHED.>>ROB DIAZ DE VILLEGAS: -WHILE KELLI JACKSON
AND I PADDLE ALONGSIDE. [MUSIC]
>>MATT GODWIN: THE VERY EARLIEST MAPS YOU SEE, YOU KNOW, THE 1800S, SHOW THIS AREA THAT
THEY CALL THE DEAD LAKES NOW AS BEING CONTINUOUS RIVER.
AT SOME POINT IN THE EARLY 1800S, THE APALACHICOLA RIVER DRIFTED OVER AND FORMED A SAND BANK
WHERE THEY MEET. IT KIND OF, THAT ACTED LIKE A NATURAL DAM, FLOODED THE SWAMP BASIN HERE.
KILLED OFF THE OAK TREES AND PINE TREES AND EVERYTHING.
[MUSIC]>>ROB DIAZ DE VILLEGAS: THE DEAD LAKES HAVE
A LOT OF LIVING TREES AS WELL, SOME OF WHICH ARE VERY IMPORTANT TO THE LOCAL ECONOMY.
>>MATT GODWIN: RIGHT NOW, LATE MAY, THE TUPELO COMING IN. IT’S A BIG DEAL AROUND HERE, WE
GOT A PRETTY GOOD HONEY INDUSTRY.>>DONNIE HARCUS: TUPELO IS A WATER TREE. IT
LIKES LOTS OF WATER. IT LIKES IT HOT AND HUMID. AND IT LIKES THE NIGHTS TO BE SIXTY DEGREES
OR BETTER. IT DON’T LIKE COLD WEATHER AT ALL. IT DON’T LIKE RAIN. IT’S SO TENDER, IF IT
RAINS VERY HARD- THOSE FOUR DAYS OF RAIN WE HAD? PUT A BUNCH OF IT ON THE GROUND.
>>ROB DIAZ DE VILLEGAS: DONNIE HARCUS FROM DONNIE’S BEES.
>>DONNIE HARCUS: BEE’S IS IN ‘EM. JUST A PRETTY SIMPLE OPERATION, I MEAN IT’S
A LOT OF HARD WORK. BUT IT’S A PRETTY SIMPLE OPERATION. BEES FILL IT UP. YOU STEAL IT,
TAKE IT AWAY FROM THEM. PUT IT IN A DRUM, AND SELL IT.
>>ROB DIAZ DE VILLEGAS: NONE OF US ARE WEARING BEEKEEPER SUITS.
>>DONNIE HARCUS: WHAT SMOKE DOES FOR BEES? THEY GIVE OFF, WHEN THEY GET ANGRY, THEY GIVE
OFF PHEROMONES. [SMOKE PUFFING]
>>DONNIE HARCUS: LET EVERYBODY KNOW THEY’RE ANGRY. SMOKE TAKES THAT SCENT AWAY FROM THEM.
THEY SMELL SMOKE, THEY CAN’T SMELL THAT SOMEBODY’S MAD.
YOU NEED A JOB, PUFF THIS.>>KELLI JACKSON: ME?
>>DONNIE HARCUS: PUFF IT RIGHT UP THERE. YOU CAN’T HURT IT.
>>KELLI JACKSON: HARDER?>>DONNIE HARCUS: THAT’LL TEAR IT UP.
[MAKES CHICKEN NOISE]>>KELLI JACKSON: [LAUGHS]
>>DONNIE HARCUS: NOW YOU’RE A BEEKEEPER.>>KELLI JACKSON: I AM A BEEKEEPER!
[LAUGHTER] [PUFFING NOISE]
>>ROB DIAZ DE VILLEGAS: DOES EVERY BOX HAVE ONE QUEEN, IS THAT IT?
>>DONNIE HARCUS: EVERY BOX HAS ONE QUEEN. SEE HOW SHE’S SLUGGISH, AND SHE DON’T- SHE
DON’T LOOK NEAR AS ACTIVE AS THE OTHER BEES?>>KELLI JACKSON: YEAH.
>>DONNIE HARCUS: THAT’S WHY THEY’RE WANTING TO GET RID OF HER. SHE’S OLD.
>>ROB DIAZ DE VILLEGAS: WHEN THEY’RE DONE MAKING TUPELO HONEY, THE FRAMES ARE TAKEN
FROM THE BEES AND CAPPED.>>DONNIE HARCUS: WHAT THEY WERE DOING WAS
JUST EXTRACTING HONEY. TAKE THE CAPTANS OFF THE CAPPED HONEY. PUT IT IN AN EXTRACTOR.
CENTRIFUGAL FORCE CLEANS IT OUT. AND WE PUMP IT OVER IN A BIG TANK, AND DRUM IT UP.
>>ROB DIAZ DE VILLEGAS: IT’S THICK. ONCE THE DRUMS ARE FILLED, THE HONEY IS TAKEN
TO BE BOTTLED. SHIRLEY WILLIAMS WORKS AT SMILEY APIARIES.
>>SHIRLEY WILLIAMS: THIS HONEY DOES NOT CRYSTALLIZE, IT’S GOT A DIFFERENT TYPE OF SUGAR IN IT THAN
OTHER HONEYS. SO, IT IS ONE OF THE FEW THAT WILL NOT CRYSTALLIZE.
>>ROB DIAZ DE VILLEGAS: BEES COME AND GO AS THEY PLEASE. HOW DO BEEKEEPERS KNOW THAT THEY’RE
GOING TO POLLINATE TUPELO FLOWERS?>>SHIRLEY WILLIAMS: IT’S WHERE THEY PUT THE
HIVES, FOR ONE THING. WHAT’S BLOOMING AT THE TIME. THE TUPELO IS BLOOMING NOW SO THEY’RE
ALL ON THE TUPELO BECAUSE IT’S GOT A VERY SWEET NECTAR AND THE BEES LOOOVE THE TUPELO
NECTAR. WE DO SEND THEM OFF TO SEE HOW MUCH POLLEN,
HOW MUCH TUPELO POLLEN IS (IN IT). BECAUSE THE HAVE TO BE OVER 51% TUPELO POLLEN GRAINS
TO BE CALLED TUPELO. SO WE DO SEND THEM OFF TO THE STATE LAB. AND IT’S BEEN RUNNING ABOUT
75% TUPELO.>>LEIGH LITTLE NEWSOME: I WORKED IN THE BEE
YARDS FOR ABOUT THREE YEARS OR SO, AND ENJOYED IT. AND SO I FIGURED THAT MAKING THIS BIG,
THIS BIG EVENT FOR OUR COMMUNITY WOULD COME IN HANDY AND HELP ALL THE KIDS WHO NEED HELP
GOING BACK TO COLLEGE.>>ROB DIAZ DE VILLEGAS: LEIGH LITTLE NEWSOME
ORGANIZES WEWAHITCHKA’S TUPELO HONEY FESTIVAL. AS LEIGH MENTIONED, THE FESTIVAL RAISES MONEY
TO GIVE SCHOLARSHIPS TO LOCAL KIDS.>>LEIGH LITTLE NEWSOME: THIS IS THE MAIN EVENT
FOR OUR TOWN, AND IT BRINGS MORE PEOPLE IN AND HELPS OUT OUR COMMUNITY AND KIDS. IT GIVES
THE COMMUNITY SOMETHING IT CAN LOOK FORWARD TO.
>>MATT GODWIN: IT’S ONE OF THE FEW PLACES IN THE STATE THAT STILL HAS THAT NATURAL STATE.
JUST BEING ABLE TO SHARE THAT WITH PEOPLE, IT’S BEEN A SPECIAL THING TO ME. I THINK IT’S
SPECIAL TO PEOPLE WHO COME UP AND EXPERIENCE IT.
>>ROB DIAZ DE VILLEGAS: FOR MORE INFORMATION ON RECREATION IN WEWAHITCHKA, GO TO VISITGULF.COM.
FOR WFSU, I’M ROB DIAZ DE VILLEGAS.

Comments

  1. This is an outstanding piece about not only the Dead Lakes area but also Tupelo honey production. Can't wait to go back!

  2. This is a great video, fantastic scenery, natural preservation, perfect documentary feel. Well made. Great narration.

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