Save the Planet (Too)!

By Ellen Shoults Batchelor, Head of Security

Many exciting changes are underway at the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum! In addition to our new THPO office building and our Museum re-design, we are also going green. Very green!

Upgrading to Green

We are doing our part to help conserve the world’s resources. We have eliminated the use of paper plates, plastic silverware, paper cups, and regular cleaning products, and changed to LED lighting, automatic flush toilets, and more.

Staff members have been issued water bottles for daily, reusable use. Water coolers, water bottle fillers, and water fountains have been installed and strategically located throughout our facilities to serve both our staff and our visitors.

We have set up a composter to “feed” our garden, which we plant several times a year with the help of the Boys and Girls Club afterschool program. Traditional crops are planted which we hope one day will be large enough in volume to help with the nutritional needs of the Big Cypress community.

facilities blog

Saving the Planet is Now Our Culture

We are engaging our employees in our vision to save the planet. Creating efficiency goals, making it fun, and being inclusive is our focus. How can you measure our savings? How can our green mission enhance the Big Cypress community and better serve our customers? We will solicit ideas and input from our employees and hear suggestions from our visitors. Together, we can make a difference!

Hard Rock to Help ‘Save the Planet’ by Eliminating Plastic Straws

Hard Rock International (HRI) recently announced the goal to eliminate plastic straws at properties worldwide effective September 1, 2018, in addition to existing ‘green’ initiatives already in place at the Hard Rock Cafes/Hotels/Casinos globally.  On top of the straw initiative, HRI transitioned to paper only to-go bags in mid-August.

HRC Save Planet

One of Seminole Hard Rock’s founding mottos is to ‘Save the Planet’, and these recent initiatives are only an extension of the commitment they have made to do their part. Vendors and partners have been and will continue to be instrumental in activating their endeavors across the globe, and they are proud to help make a difference in conscientious sustainability practices as a business.

As leaders in gaming and hospitality, the iconic Hard Rock brand will be announcing more save the planet initiatives in the next few months, including partnerships with key charity partners that share the values of the business to help protect the earth’s natural resources and environment.

Human Energy Conservation

Healthy, energetic employees are more creative and productive. We hope to help keep our team healthy by creating a safe, non-toxic environment. We plan to serve sustainable brain food at meetings including: nuts, organic fruits and vegetables, and even dark chocolate– all which play a role in maintaining mental acuity!

Green Cleaning

Do you love the smell of a nice, clean office? Guess what: many of those familiar scents are toxic to your body and to the environment.  Replacing window cleaners, dish and hand soaps, and bathroom cleaners with healthy alternatives is key to our green initiative. The benefits include improved health, increased clarity, a reduction in allergic reactions, and a healthier planet.

Sustainable development cannot be achieved by a single individual or enterprise. Everyone must participate. We will demonstrate our leadership and commitment to a healthy, safe future by joining the ranks of business leaders who make sustainable choices. We will prioritize partners and vendors who share this commitment.

We have expanded our journey to being green and will continue to add initiatives whenever we see an opportunity to improve and help do our part to making this a better, brighter, more responsible community.

We will continue to save our planet!



Who Cooks for You?

by Gene Davis, Museum Facilities Manager

A large bird of prey named the Barred Owl has been found in the early morning light perched in and sometimes on top of the traditional chickee huts at the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum. This owl has been nicknamed the hoot owl because of its distinctive and powerful vocalization that sounds like someone saying, “Who cooks for you?”

Owl at chickee hut

Our institution is situated right on the edge of a dense cypress dome. Reinaldo Becerra, our animal specialist, told me that Barred Owls nest in large trees, but sometimes have been spotted roosting in human-occupied spaces as long as they are adjacent to fields or an open area in the forest canopy that the bird uses as a dusk-till-dawn hunting ground.

One September morning just after 8:00am, Rei walked me over to one of the chickees situated directly behind the curatorial building on our campus. He pointed out what he called a young Barred Owl perched up in the rafters under that open-sided chickee. It just sat up there about eight feet above the floor on a cypress wood cross beam staring down at us through its large brown eyes. Rei told me that this species of owl is the only typical owl in the eastern part of our country that has brown eyes. He said that all others have yellow eyes.

owl eyes 2

Rei went on to say that the Barred Owl is nocturnal making it easier to be heard than seen. However, the individual bird that has been visiting our campus does not have any fear of humans. It also prefers to perch up inside of the manmade traditional chickee huts rather than trying to find a hollowed out tree trunk.

Just recently I spotted the same owl on the ground during the daytime by a small pool of water in the cypress dome that had been created by recent torrential rains. The owl was feeding on crayfish that were cowered in the now receding water level. Although it was facing away from me; the attractive bird swiveled its head around to look directly at me. But just for a short while. It then silently fluttered off to the supper table while clutching one of the captured crustaceans in its beak.

owl crayfish

This same bird was spotted in the early morning just one day later lurking around on the ground directly in front of one of the village crafters’ work areas. Any owl is considered as a bad omen to the tribal members that create and sell their hand crafts back in the traditional Seminole village on the museum grounds. Luckily, peace of mind was restored when the owl didn’t linger long flying off to somewhere else where we might hear it again asking, “Who cooks for you?”