The End

Date: 4/2/2015
Name: Sierra Groth
Class: IDS – H. Audubon Instructors names: Professors Lemeh & Moore
Blog Entry # 10
Word Count: 447   Pod- or Vod-cast: _____Yes or ___x_No
Reading Assignment: _____Yes or __x__No

This is our final blog post! Yippie!!

Overall I really enjoyed this class and I think that it will relate to all of my future classes as well as time out in the field. Honestly at first I had no idea what I signed up for, I just needed more credit hours to fill up a full time schedule. The first day of class is when I really got a glimpse about the purpose of the class. Audubon spent his whole life drawing and identifying different birds and many other species. Not to mention he did all of this without a digital camera. Imagine going outside and trying to capture the super cool brown basilisk you saw running across the pathway and the only way you could recreate it was by drawing it… Well I tried and It did not turn out so well. Now days everyone has a camera glued to their hands. Unfortunately most of the creatures I am interested in are to fast to capture. That is when a little research about the species and finding a reference photo is handy!  Audubon did not have this option. Instead of cameras it was more likely to shoot the animal and stuff it to get a real life hands on image of what you are going to recreate.

I loved learning about the history of Audubon and his family, as well as his competition. We took a field trip to the Loggerhead Marine Life Center today and one of their rehabilitating turtles names was Audubon, imagine that, what a lucky turtle!

I love how we were not stuck in the classroom the entire time! Our trips to Coral Cove and the Greenway really got me engaged and wanting to learn more. We saw a range in many different ecosystems all filled with a variety of many different species. We even got in some exercise, walking down to blowing rocks and walking all the different pathways in the Greenway.

Not only did this class teach me great lessons about detail and art but it also inspired me to start my own personal blog! Mermaids Matter is a blog created to give tips and stories to other water loving woman just like me! I have already gotten over 3,000 visitors in less than a month! I think that is pretty cool! If I keep going at this rate I can set up ads and start making money!

Thank you so much for offering such an amazing class! I really enjoyed it!

The Brown Basilisk

Date: 3/19/2015
Name: Sierra Groth
Class: IDS – H. Audubon Instructors names: Professors Lemeh & Moore
Blog Entry # 9
Word Count: 443  Pod- or Vod-cast: _____Yes or ___x_No
Reading Assignment: _____Yes or __x__No

Friday February 27th was the beginning of the Greenway project. We were scheduled to take a little adventure over to the Abacoa Greenway but unfortunately mother nature got in the way. Pouring down rain trapped us in the classroom for the day and we spent the class learning about the history of the Greenway. Spring Break came along and did not leave much time for exploring the forest like we were assigned to do.. OOPS. Luckily for me our next class meeting was split into classroom and exploring time. The majority of my Greenway search included looking at different types of plants and not many animals. I found a mushroom and decided that could be my back up subject if nothing else caught my eye. I rummaged around the water hoping to maybe see a turtle but nope! Walking up from the water I saw something I had never seen before it looked like a mini brown iguana walking on its hind legs! With it’s speedy bear like walk I did not have enough time to snap a picture. It scurried away from the water as I got closer and took off running full speed past the trail walkway into the patch of Saw Palmetto. I knew I had found my drawing subject! I spoke to Dr. Moore and explained what I had saw and he knew exactly what I was talking about. Turns out my funny walking lizard is actually commonly called a Brown Basilisk (Basiliscus vittatus). Although it was very cool to see this brown basilisk is not native to Florida. The Brown Basilisk is originally native to Mexico and Central America. They were introduced to Florida around ten years ago and have created a steady population here. The brown basilisk is also known as the Jesus Lizard for its naturally ability to walk on its hind legs. It can also walk on calm water for a short period of time to escape predators. I have never really attempted to draw a live subject. Since I did not have a reference photo I did a Google search to try to find a picture as close to what I saw as possible. I liked this one the best because you could clearly see the yellow stripe down it’s head and back.

This is another good view but I thought trying to draw the log as well would take away from the rendering of the Basilisk.A juvenile brown basilisk

Now time to get to drawing…. Wish me luck.

Marine Mammals

Date: 3/13/2015
Name: Sierra Groth
Class: IDS – H. Audubon Instructors names: Professors Lemeh & Moore
Blog Entry # 8
Word Count: 471  Pod- or Vod-cast: _____Yes or ___x_No
Reading Assignment: _____Yes or __x__No

Millions of people every year visit theme parks, zoos, and aquariums. The majority of these paying visitors come to see the whales and dolphins, which are portrayed to be so friendly and gentle. At these attractions the marine mammals live in man-made tanks and are forced to interact with paying customers. Although studies on captive marine mammals may help conservation efforts, confinement of these animals is unjust and against the natural order of the ocean, where sea animals are born to swim free.
Some conservationists argue that captivity is necessary for the wellbeing of the innocent creatures. And to a point, yes this is true, if the animal is sick or injured and cannot survive on its own; these parks do a wonderful job of nursing them back to health. In captivity special teams of scientist work with the marine mammals, the scientist study and try to better understand the animals. In these studies, the scientists have learned more about the breeding process. The aquariums are now able to breed their own whale and dolphin populations. Yes, this could raise the population’s numbers but with such little gene diversity one disease could kill a whole captive population.

Around the globe the climate is changing. It has been observed that the waters in the Arctic Circle are warming. This poses a problem for beluga whales. Beluga whales are adapted to survive in a very specific water temperature. The water needs to have frozen ice on the surface because belugas are designed for bumping up underneath the frozen ice to get their food. As the area with the water temperature that the belugas thrive in decreases, all of the animals will be forced to share a smaller space. This will make the belugas compete more for a food source and eventually only the fittest will survive. Captivity of these belugas could possibly keep them off the endangered species list. With these magnificent creatures in captivity it gives people the opportunity to see wild animals.

But on the other hand If someone captured you, and crammed you into a dollhouse I’m sure you would not only be scared but very angry as well. Taking a marine mammal as big as a whale or a dolphin and putting it into a pool is even more extreme. A man made pool does not even compare to the open ocean. Marine mammals travel thousands of miles in their lifetime. They travel all around the world, swimming through all the different currents the ocean has to offer.

If a wild marine mammal is not being nursed back to health it deserves to live its life out in the open ocean.


Nicaragua Adventures

Date: 2/26/2015
Name: Sierra Groth
Class: IDS – H. Audubon Instructors names: Professors Lemeh & Moore
Blog Entry # 7
Word Count: 527  Pod- or Vod-cast: _____Yes or ___x_No
Reading Assignment: ____x_Yes or ____No

This past summer I went on an adventure of a life time. I spent two weeks traveling the entire west coast of Nicaragua.

The trip started out with a two hour plane ride to Panama where we met our connecting flight that flew us right into Managua. Nicaragua fit my visions of a poor third world country.. besides that fact that they had huge Coke-a-cola, and Oreo factories right in the middle of the city. Other than that clean water and food looked pretty hard to come by for the locals.

Our first three nights were spent in Aserradores which is very Northwest Nicaragua. We stayed at a surf hostile called Joe’s Place. Joe has a steady stream of surfers always flowing in because his home is very close to the world famous break known as the Boom. It got its name for a reason, deadly heavy barreling shore break takes the lives of many precious surfboards… One of mine included.

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There are also many other, more friendly, but just as big, breaks close by Joe’s. For these waves a boat is needed. The locals are happy to give you a ride out if you throw them a few bucks. They love any excuse to get out there themselves.

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After a few nights at Joe’s we moved south in search of more waves. This journey required getting lost.. A LOT

We stopped at almost every known break along the way. Many people say that Nicaragua is a very dangerous country. But I personally never felt unsafe. During the drive from place to place I got a very good understanding of how lucky we are to live in the United States. Almost every resident has acquired some sort of parasite from drinking dirty water. Besides the dirty water, mosquito born illness are another deadly thing to watch out for. I saw government employees raid cities and houses with DDT, which is deadly on its own.

Besides that Nicaragua is a very beautiful country and all the locals are extremely nice and welcoming. Our next stop was even farther south to a city names San Juan Del Sur. You may have heard of it if you have watched this past season of the hit reality TV show Survivor. They had one of the best beaches closed off because they were filming. NOT COOL.

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Survivor Cast Off stage being built behind me

But we did find an awesome wave at Yankee beach. The water was clear and the locals their happened to be spotted eagle rays that loves surfing in the waves.

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Our last stop was to Mag rock. This was definitely the nicest place we stayed the whole trip. This was more of a hotel than a hostile and we had perfect waves breaking right out side our room.

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Overall Nicaragua has perfect waves, towering volcanoes, super nice locals and I highly recommend visiting if your willing to rough if for a few weeks chasing perfect waves.

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Boat Life

Date: 2/18/2015
Name: Sierra Groth
Class: IDS – H. Audubon Instructors names: Professors Lemeh & Moore
Blog Entry # 6
Word Count:  425 Pod- or Vod-cast: _____Yes or ___x_No
Reading Assignment: ____x_Yes or ____No

This past weekend my boyfriend, Billy and I along with my dog Jetty went on a sailing adventure.  IMG_2529 Billy lives on his 26 foot Francis sail boat and had just rebuilt the engine so this was more of a experiment to see if everything was working.  We started off packing up fishing and snorkeling gear along with grocery shopping for our meals. There is no refrigerator on the boat so we could only bring what we were actually going to eat. Lucky for us it was pretty cool out so the meat for our dinner stayed fresh. We motored up to a little sandbar across from Jonathan Dickinson State Park. On the way there we had to radio in to open three bridges, the Indiantown bridge, Jupiter Federal bridge, and Jupiter Island bridge.When your in the car and catch the IMG_2534bridge you just think it is a pain in the butt, you don’t relies how much communication is required to open and close each bridge. There are also many rules and regulations that need to be followed when talking on the radio. After we passed through all the bridges we started on our journey north. DCIM112GOPROIt took about two hours to motor up to the sandbar. We were taking it easy for the motors first day back on the water. Along the way we saw three manatee, a couple osprey, and many pelicans. I even saw the osprey swoop down and catch a big fish… which is more than we caught. It was very windy and the water was murky so fishing and snorkeling was out of the picture. We played on the beach with Jetty and explored the little piece of land. Later that night we climbed that mast of the sail boat which was very cool! DCIM113GOPROI could see everything, another manatee swam by when we were 35 feet up in the air. Unfortunately this manatee had a gash taken out of his tail probably from a boat speeding in the channel. It is always very important to watch for slow speed zones in the water. They are set up in order to provide protection for the manatees.

The next morning the wind was coming from the north, the perfect direction so we could sail home. We turned the motor off and let the wind do all the work. Watching the sails in the wind is always a beautiful sight.

Coral Cove Park

Date: 2/12/2015
Name: Sierra Groth
Class: IDS – H. Audubon Instructors names: Professors Lemeh & Moore
Blog Entry # 5
Word Count: 443  Pod- or Vod-cast: _____Yes or ___x_No
Reading Assignment: ____x_Yes or ____No

South Florida is blessed with many protected parks. Jupiter is lucky enough to home a few of these sacred sights. Right on Jupiter Island we have two well know protected areas, Blowing Rocks Nature Preserve and Coral Cove Park. These are some of the select few places that harvest natural rock structures. Blowing Rocks got its name because on a rough day out in the ocean, waves roll in and funnel out through the cavities in the rocks and create a beautiful scene that almost looks like a volcano erupting. Through out my years in school we have visited these places many times on field trips always learning more about the wildlife, plant life, and how the rock structures came to be. Last Friday we visited Coral Cove again but this time it was more than a learning experience. It was a chance to pick out some sort of organism or vegetation to create a piece of artwork. It was a chilly rough day and nothing really popped out at me. So I figured I could find something on another day. Not only is it a beautiful scene from land but also the rock structure creates a great place to snorkel and see many reef fish, turtles, and my favorite, sharks. On Monday afternoon I decided that I would snorkel and try to find something interesting to draw in the water. It was a clear day with lots of fish swimming around but unfortunately I did not see any sharks or turtles. But luckily for me I did find a shark tooth, from a bull shark (Carcharhinus leucas) … I think, and a sand dollar. I find a lot of sand dollars when I do open water swims and snorkel trips but it is usually hard to find a unbroken, dead imageone. You can tell the live ones from the dead ones because when they are alive they have a purple color, while dead ones are white. There are always tons of cool treasures to be found snorkeling at Coral Cove. Another important visitor of these beaches are sea turtles. During the summer months when sea turtles are laying their eggs you will see many nest every morning. At these parks there are less reported false crawls because the park is protected and closed to the public at night so there is less distractions for the nesting turtles. It is very important to appreciate these protected sights because imagethey bring so many creatures into their beaches.





Blog Post #4

Word Count: 423

Carcharhinus brevipinna (Spinner shark)

Carcharhinus limbatus (Blacktip shark)

Carcharhinus leucas (Bull Shark)

Negaprion brevirostris (Lemon Shark)

Galeocerdo cuvier (Tiger Shark)

Pterois volitans (Lion fish)

Epinephelus itajara (Goliath Grouper)

Caretta caretta (Loggerhead Turtle)

Living in Florida, we all have infinite opportunities to explore everything the marine ecosystems have to offer. Scuba diving is one way to get up close and personal with all the marine organism. It is a lot easier to understand concepts we learn  in class when you can see first hand how and why things work. Right off the coast of Jupiter are many prestige reefs filled with coral, fish, turtles, sharks, and much more. I am a frequent diver of these reefs and I have learned so much from the amazing experiences I have had scuba diving.

My sophomore year of high school a few of my friends and I took a week long summer camp to get our PADI level 1 SCUBA diving certification. We spent the first few days in the pool learning how to use the regulator and how to control our buoyancy. The last three days were spent out on the dive boat. We started will shallow longer dives and by the last day we were diving down to 90 feet. Since my certification I have done over 30 dives ranging from around Palm Beach County extending into many of the Bahamian Islands. Of course as you may know by now my absolute favorite thing to see are sharks. I have seen many reef sharks, blacktips, spinners, lemon, hammerheads, and bull sharks. I have been told that many Tiger sharks have been spotted around the islands of the Bahamas but I have yet to see one!DCIM101GOPRO

Turtles love to hang around our Jupiter reefs. On my last dive I saw around six turtles! DCIM101GOPRO

Goliath Groupers are also yearly residents. They look innocent, but can get very scary when you have a fish in your hand!DCIM101GOPRO

Lion fish are our very  unwanted guest around our reefs. Lion fish snack on baby reef fish and diminish the native fish population. Often on dives I bring a pole spear and shoot all the lion fish I see. Lion fish tournaments are being held around the area to raise awareness of the negative impact these fish are bringing to the reefs and to try to eliminate the population. These are beautiful fish but are very poisonous. If the poison sack is removed they can make a pretty tasty fish sandwich.

I love everything our marine ecosystem has to offer and I love trying to draw the things I see on my dives. Much of the time spent on the boat on the the way to the Bahamas is used drawing fish and painting drift food.

Salty Dog

Date: 1/29/ 2015
Name: Sierra Groth
Class: IDS – H. Audubon Instructors names: Professors Lemeh & Moore
Blog Entry # 3
Word Count: 406  Pod- or Vod-cast: _____Yes or ___x_No
Reading Assignment: ____x_Yes or ____No

Common Name:
Australian Cattle Dog
Scientific Name:
Canis familiaris





Medium (40 pounds)

I have spent most of my life begging my parents for my own dog.  Last year on my birthday my wish was finally granted. I came home from work and there was a little brown ball of fluff waiting for me with a big red bow. imageMy mom rescued her from Second Chance Puppies and Kittens Shelter.  She didn’t exactly plan on coming home with a dog but as soon as she saw those blue eyes she knew she was not leaving without her. She was the only brown puppy in her litter, the wrest of the dogs were white with black spots. She is reddish brown with a white chest and two white socks on her hind paws. When she was a puppy she had dark blue eyes but now her eyes are deep amber that almost match her coat. It took me a few days to finally decide on a name but when I did I knew it was the right one. The shelter had named her Sasha but I changed it to Jetty and she learned it right away! imageJetty was not your average puppy she learned to sit shake and lay down within the first month I had her. She was also potty trained in just a few days! Although she did chew up her fair share of things she was very easy to train. Jetty works in the barn taking care of the horses with me. Every morning when we wake up she runs right over to the barn to greet the horses and Cinnamon, imagethe goat. She spends the rest of her morning chasing them in their pastures. She is an Australian Cattle so I guess herding comes natural to her. Jetty loves the beach and the boat.  She comes with me fishing and loves to test out everything we catch. When I go surfing I set up a towel for her and she will sit and watch for hours, never straying away. She also comes paddleboarding with me. She stands up on the nose of the board and imagepays close attention to everything we see. Jetty has seen more marine life then most people; she has seen sharks, dolphins, manatees, and tons of fish. She is the perfect dog for a water lover like me.

She will forever be the best birthday present I have ever received. I am thankful everyday that I have such a loving companion.image

Paddleboarding in Jupiter

January 21, 2015

Blog entry #2


Word count: 434

Paddleboarding is one of the fastest growing sports in the world today. It is so simple anyone can do it and it also gives everyone the chance to get out on the water. Paddleboarding can be a relaxing cruise in the intercostal, imagea speedy exhausting race to the finish line, or a exhilarating way to catch a wave. Whatever you prefer paddleboarding is a great way to stay in shape and get outside. This afternoon on my paddle I got the chance to see
a manatee and a number of different water birds. Unfortunately many of the manatees I see in our waters have scars from boat propellers. Manatees enjoy the Jupiter water ways because there is yummy sea grass and warm water.image But the over populated boating community does not always pay attention to the slow speed zones. If all the boaters slowed down we would be able to see more unharmed adorable sea cows.

Beautiful birds are always flying over head or hanging out in the mangroves.  Blue

imageherons and pelicans are always spotted on my paddles.

Occasionally an osprey will swoop down and grab a fish and quickly fly away. Over winter break on an earlymorning paddle training session my friends and I noticed a brown pelican with a fishing lure stuck in it’s leg. We quickly paddled over and covered his face and beak with a t shirt to try to calm its nerves and to prevent any harm to us. Aside from the lure stuck in the pelicans leg it also had about fifty feet of fishing line wrapped around it’s wings. We slowly untangled and cut the line free then carefully slid the hook out. Luckily we were able to watch this pelican fly away. Many times the pelican is not as lucky and starves to death because he cannot fly and capture food. It is very important to be cautious when fishing. Unnattended line imagecan create problems for birds, marine mammals and fish, they can get tangled or mistakenly eat it, choke, and die. Some of my fellow classmates in the Environmental Academy did their senior project on fishing line disposal. Now on most docks and piers in the area there is fishing line disposal sites. So use them and save a life!

I see many beautiful and amazing things on my trips paddleboarding I would love to be able to bring my sketch book and draw some of the creatures and sunsets I experience out on the water. I’m going to have to get a water proof sketch book!

Date: 1/14/ 2015
Name: Sierra Groth
Class: IDS – H. Audubon Instructors names: Professors Lemeh & Moore
Blog Entry # 1
Word Count: 406  Pod- or Vod-cast: _____Yes or ___x_No
Reading Assignment: _____Yes or __x__No

Location: Jupiter Inlet Park

Florida’s coast is populated with many important species that all play a role in maintaining the stability of each and every ecosystem. Although sharks get a bad reputation through movies, news, and social media they also contribute a to the stability. I am an avid surfer, diver, and fisher. I come in close contact with sharks on a daily basis and have never once felt unsafe. They are so misunderstood which makes me want to learn as much as I can about them.

Diving is one of my favorite activities and it gives me the chance to have a first hand look at these mysterious creatures in their natural habitat. But as we learned in class photography does no always give justice to the real life imagescene. I am very excited to begin Learning techniques that will be able to teach me how to create real life images of what I see on my dives. Blending techniques we are practicing will help add shadows and I’m very interested to learn how to incorporate lightning into the artwork.

I not only love diving to find out more about sharks but I love to collect teeth. Looking for sharks teeth is like a scavenger hunt and it is very addicting. I imagealways want to find more, bigger, and different teeth. After spending a few hours collecting I always go home and research the kind of teeth that I have found. Spinner, blacktip, lemon, and bulls are very common to find on our jupiter shores but I have also found tiger and mako teeth. A friend of mine even found a great white tooth. I would love to learn how to realistically recreate one of my favorite teeth from my collection.

Drawing is incorporated in almost every aspect of life. I am a die hard surfer. I love experimenting with new boards and different shapes. I would one day like to have the chance to create my own board. The first step of every creation is to draw it out. Every shaper has there own idea of what aspects are most important in shaping a board. I would love to learn how to make three dimensional shapes that could one day be used to shape my own board.