Fire, Sand, and Water in the Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines


The Age of Nature is a PBS Program about the human relationship to nature, and fixing our past mistakes. Through a grant from PBS, we’re exploring that relationship along the Apalachicola River basin.

We are here, actually, at an ecotone.” says Brian Pelc. “An ecotone is where two different ecosystems come together. And this is the ecotone between the uplands and our steephead ravines, or slope forests.”

We’re standing on the rim of a ravine, looking down at a wreck of trees. Hurricane Michael opened up the canopy down below, letting in light where once was only shade. It makes for a challenging climb down. In addition to the usual challenge of the steep walls, which take some careful stepping (or scrambling or sliding), we’ve got to limbo under a few trunks, or crash through a tangle of branches- not fun while you’re carrying camera gear.

But before we head down, let’s consider this spot where the land begins to plunge. The Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Region is one of five biodiversity hotspots in North America, and to Brian, this is the spot to illustrate why.

You’re also invited to participate in a special online discussion about the human relationship to nature. Learn more by clicking on the image below.

Photo of the Apalachicola River from the bluffs above it. Covered by graphic saying The Age of Nature online discussion takes place on October 20th at 7pm ET. Website to learn more is