Early bird gets the worm at Lake Apopka sunrise tour

MAITLAND, Fla., March 17, 2016 — A recent sunrise and sunset tour of the St. Johns River Water Management District’s wildlife drive at Lake Apopka provided a small group of photographers and nature enthusiasts with unprecedented access to the area.

“By partnering with environmental and community groups for educational tours of district-owned properties, we are able to engage them in our efforts to protect our natural resources,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “We are proud of the work done at the district and are grateful for the opportunity to showcase that work.”

The popular wildlife drive is open to the public on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and federal holidays from sunrise to sunset. The tours were provided at the request of members of a private Facebook group called Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive. Members of the group use the page to share photographs of wildlife and scenic vistas of the site; the group also provides valuable community feedback to the district.

In addition to capturing unique lighting and animal activity not typically present during daylight, participants in the sunrise and sunset tours learned about conservation efforts at Lake Apopka and the surrounding Lake Apopka North Shore restoration area.

A variety of birds and wildlife live within the 20,009-acre property. Many birds, frogs, bobcats and coyotes are most active at sunrise and throughout the morning. Conversely, twilight is the preferred time to photograph sunset vistas or glimmering alligator eyes in Lake Apopka.

Since opening in May 2015, more than 40,000 visitors have cruised the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive, a one-way, 11-mile drive that traverses a network of wetlands, levees and canals. For more information about the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive visit www.sjrwmd.com/recreation.