Blog Description

Mound House Happenings shares the latest in ongoing projects, site improvements, scheduled programs and events, plus interesting facts and photos on our unique archaeology, history and ecology.

Mound House

Mound House
October 15, 2013

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Mound House Volunteers

Volunteers are essential to Mound House success and operations. Please take a second to view this amazing video dedicated to our volunteers, created by former Mound House intern,
 Lindsay Mancuso.
Due to copyright laws, the original song has been changed.

Friday, October 26, 2012

How's the Fishing?

Mound House property offers many activities and tours to fill up a leisurely afternoon. We get many visitors who simply want to fish off the pier, and some of them come for multiple days at a time. The Eades family from Bristol, Tennessee, pictured below, came to Fort Myers Beach in June this year for Donna Eades father Raymond Pennington’s first visit to Florida. Raymond liked it so much that they returned for a second time this week and wound up fishing off the Mound House dock for three days.
The family managed to have some luck while fishing too – about 100 fish (between the three of them). Even ‘Chili Dog’ had a good time enjoying the weather in his jazzy doggy-stroller. Raymond, 94, enjoys fishing with his daughter and son in law on Emerald Isle in North Carolina as well, and has even appeared in the local papers back home like The Johnson City Press for his catch.

(L to R) Joe Eades, Donna Eades & Raymond Pennington
(L to R) Joe Eades, Donna Eades & Raymond Pennington

Chili Dog :-)

Trail of Florida's Indian Heritage

Parke Lewis and Brent Newman had the opportunity to attend the annual Trail of Florida Indian Heritage meeting in St Augustine FL on October 13 and 14. The Trail of Florida Indian Heritage is non-profit organization whose mission is, “To promote awareness, responsible visitation and protection of the remaining cultural sites of the original people of Florida. Interpretation will engage all levels, will be consistent and based on current science to encourage heritage tourism." Mound House is a one of the 52 sites and 20 state parks that feature Native American sites, artifacts, or information.
In addition to attending workshops on grant writing and the use of social media Parke and Brent visited four sites in St Augustine as part of the meeting. These sites included Fountain of Youth Park (open since the 1860s!), where they have an excellent presentation on the Indians and early Spanish colonists to Florida. Staff agreed they learned a huge amount there and got some ideas to improve our atlatl presentations. After the Fountain of Youth the group arrived at Mission Nombre de Dios museum, this relatively new museum covers one of the earliest missions to the Timucuan Indians. Their presentation of historic documents and hanging, printed silk screens were both impressive. The St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum was also visited, we viewed some of the challenges they faced turning a historic lighthouse keeper’s home into a museum and the clever ways they utilized their space. Finally, we visited Fort Mose historic site, another new museum, we were impressed with presentation and took away many good ideas. They did an excellent job presenting the story of Fort Mose while using a limited number of artifacts.

Brent and Ponce

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Plants in Profile #19 - Blue Porterweed

#19 - BLUE PORTERWEED (Stachytarpheta jamaicensis)

There are over 120 species of plants and trees at  Mound House. This weeks’ subject is both a beautiful native plant and serves as a valuable medicinal resource in traditional medicine.
The verbena family, or “porterweeds” as they are commonly known, are present throughout the Caribbean, and in South Florida. A foaming, porter-like brew is made from the leaves of the plant and is used as a treatment for fever,as a wash for skin irritations and  even as a treatment for worms in children, because honestly, nobody likes wormy children.

There are many varieties and even hybrids of porterweed in Florida and plants are often misidentified. Here in South Florida, it is believed that our native species of porterweed, Jamaica porterweed, which is found in coastal strands and tropical hammocks, has hybridized with a similar species from the Bahamas  brought here by Bahamian settlers as medicinal plants. Here at Mound House ,the porterweed is grown not only on the native coastal hammock portion of our site, but also in the Scientific and Medicinal section of our gardens.

As an added bonus, blue porterweed is an excellent butterfly garden plant helping to make Mound House a “vacation destination” for many types of butterflies including the monarch, white sulpher, great white southern, mangrove skipper and mangrove buckeye that come to Mound House.  

Creature Feature #19 - Green Iguana

#19 - GREEN IGUANA (Iguana Iguana)

Here at  Mound House, visitors will occasionally encounter one of our non- native residents, the green iguana. Frequently found lounging in the trunks of mangroves on our canal bank  ,these vegetarians are native to the Central and South American tropics where living in dense canopy above the water is their preferred habitat. As such, our shady mangrove lined shoreline is the perfect location for these lizards. Scientists  believe that our resident population of green iguanas are the descendants of escaped and released pets and have been observed in the wild here in  Southwest Florida since the 1960s.

It is important to note that  while we do have a few resident iguanas here on Estero Island, these reptiles cannot tolerate freezes and we are at the near northern range of their territory. Outer islands such as Estero,  Cayo Costa and Gasparilla  islands are warmed by  gulf waters in the winter and rarely freeze. As such they have become home to the green iguana.
Juvenile iguanas are bright green and tend to darken into a grey or brown as they age. Larger adult males (and we have one) will have dark stripes and even turn a shade of orange during breeding season. Adult males may reach a length of nearly 5 feet. In many cultures, the  iguana is considered to be of great medicinal value. Its body fat has been found useful in the treatment of sore throats ,ear aches and arthritis. In fact, the meat of the iguana is even considered an aphrodisiac in Central and South America.

However, unlike their cousin the gecko, researchers have determined that green iguanas can neither speak in an Australian accent or sell car insurance.        

Mound House resident iguana

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Mound House Promotional Video

Official Mound House Promotional Video

Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce

View Ceel Spuhler Promote the Mound House! Click the video above to view

FMB Art Association Paints the Mound!

This morning, Mound House was treated to the Fort Myers Beach Art Association. While the mound was washed in colorful sunlight, the artists washed their canvas' with different media techniques. Acrylic and Water Color renditions of various viewpoints offered an inspired aura to our regularly scheduled Mound Tours. A better day could not have been selected with cool breezes flowing and birds singing beautiful songs.

Gordon using a watercolor technique

Pauline using a watercolor technique

Penny using a acrylic technique

Bryan using an acrylic technique