Raff's desire to work outside and use the knowledge he gains from his exploration at Nokobee and through his Eagle Scout experience sounds familiar to me. While I was never an Eagle Scout, I did spend countless hours at the nearby creek which led me to realize my passion was to work for the environment.
This leads me to the question, do you see yourself in Raff?
The Launch portion of the book introduces us to how Raff was propelled into a new landscape after receiving acceptance to Florida State University. While his knowledge of Nokobee continues to feed his education, these chapters do give you a look at how Raff's sense of wonder for the natural world continues.
I especially like how E.O. Wilson does not miss an opportunity to reference native species or unique habitats. Every time one of the characters mentions a species or habitat, I jot it down and revisit it later.
Since Raff begins to experience his new landscape, we hear about a few animals, native plants and unique habitats that Raff can now study. Here are just a few that were mentioned in passing that I thought I'd highlight:
- Torreya taxifolia (pictured above) is also known as Florida Torreya. Raff wanted to explore and find this rare pine that suffers from fungus attacks from up to 11 species and is critically endangered.
- Adjacent to the FSU campus is the Apalachicola National Forest, the largest forest in the state of Florida.
- Florida's Pitcher Plants - Florida has six species of pitcher plants (very unique and colorful) and the bogs where they grow proved to be on Raff's checklist.
- Mesic Pine Flatwoods (PDF) - This habitat is said to be home to the Florida panther and the Key deer.
Did anyone notice brief mentions of places they've been to or would like to learn more about? I'd love to hear them.