Bobby Angel Campfire

Ballad of a Florida Panther
Engineer and panther forge a lasting bond

How to you make a road safe …

for the panthers (and other animals) that cross it?

Bobby Angel is a troubadour of the Nature Folk Movement (NFM)

In this Bobby Angel standard, the singer/songwriter recounts the story of a transportation engineer named Krista who was called in to help prevent panthers from getting hit by vehicles on the Tamiami Trail. It’s one of the swamp’s most scenic roads, but also one that crossing wildlife often finds itself in harms way. At some point the song veers off into fantasy with the transportation planner and panther escaping into nature and forging a relationship for life — but is it fantasy, really, or just how life should really be? To answer that question, you’ll have to watch the video and judge for yourself.

Be sure to stay on after the song to hear an interview with Bobby Angel about the song. Topics discussed include an exclusive inside scoop on the making of the smash hit, including never before revealed details on his first sighting of (what he thought initially) was a “large dog,” why they used to be more rare than seeing Ivory-billed woodpeckers, the movie magic of he videos opening scene, and how the use of silhouettes really make the video pop.

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Concert at Lake Flirt
And why the water fall never went away

Lake Flirt vanished long ago …

Or is it still there, hiding in plain sight?

Firelight Radio is available on Apple Podcasts and Podbean

Join singer/songwriter Bobby Angel around the campfire at the banks of Old Lake Flirt where through a series of campfire crackles, singing and storytelling — and one or two special guest — Lake Flirt (and the old rapid run) magically comes back to life. Really, that’s what a Bobby Angel Campfires is all about: Getting back to discussing how things once were, are now and may somehow in the future turn out; and most of all having a conversation with nature.

Find out more about Bobby Angel at his website.

Big Cypress Half
And why it's so important to the larger whole

Someone I greatly admired told me:

“We can’t spend 100 percent of our effort on half the problem and expect to solve the problem.”

Listen to the song

More specifically, he was talking about Everglades Restoration and the need to spend more time, energy (and yes money) on fixing the hydrology of the Big Cypress half. Part of the issue stems from how Big Cypress National Preserve and the larger Big Cypress half of the pond has been framed. Long perceived as an separate and isolated watershed from the Everglades to the east, there is growing recognition that the Big Cypress Swamp and the Everglades — and most of all the restoration of all the freshwater and estuarine habitats they contain and feed — are tied together at the hip. The good news: The tide seems to be turning. And just in time. With all the success being achieved in other parts of the Everglades, the Big Cypress Swamp is the new and important frontier for getting the entire ecosystem right.

As for the video: It’s an interview about a song I wrote at the retirement of a long-time ranger who worked at Everglades National Park and Big Cypress National Preserve. Both the song and the interview explore what I call the Big Cypress Paradox — the contrary state of the swamp being described as so many people’s “favorite part of the Everglades” only to have it drop to the bottom of the list when the restoration money gets earmarked.

Escaping defeat
Victory lap into the trees

In the pandemic state of modern times,

Work gatherings are difficult to find.

Song (above) and lyrics (below)

That didn’t stop Bobby Angel from penning a song even if he inadvertently missed the party. Thank you Laurie for you contributions over the years, And most of all defecting to the Big Cypress! And also to Rita for tracking me down and encouraging me to write a song. Sometimes Bobby Angel needs prodding, or as is the case in these strange times just a reminder that someone is leaving when everyone is telecommuting from home. More about this song: I wrote it almost a year ago one the eve of us thinking everything was about to back to normal. So much for normal, or whatever hybrid of normal takes shape whenever and if ever we emerge from the post Covid-19 now Omicron coccoon.

bobby angel

The Tony Doctrine
And why its the new Art of War

We begged Tony before he left:

“Please write everything down.”

Bobby Angel’s exclusive interview on the song

The problem? Tony was more a man of action than long-winded with his words. The proof? As Exhibit A, I point to his farewell address. It was three sentences long. And three sentences that reverberated, too. The reason of course was that Tony spoke softly and carried a big stick, although not even that threadbare expression properly describes it correctly. The thing about Tony was that he possessed the unique trifecta of (1) leading by example, (2) never being afraid of a solo mission (no matter how perilous he always had a way of making it safe), and most of all (3) being a team player. Time spent with Tony was always time well spent. I remember many days sitting on Tony’s couch saying “yeah, we should get out there (and look at that issue) some day. “Let’s go now,” was always his predicable response. Tony knew the fine art of seizing the day whatever it took. That’s probably the core essence of what The Tony Doctrine is all about.

As for the big question: Will it ever be written down? If and when that happens, it will be the new Sun Tzu’s Art of War on my bookshelf. Check out the Bobby Angel interview in the interview above to find out more.

Time to Retire
A farewell song for Tony Pernas

First the bad news:

Tony Pernas is retiring.

Bobby Angel’s retirement ballad to Tony Pernas

The good news is he’s right around the corner. And without supervisory responsibilities, that frees Tony up to do what Tony does best — solo missions into territory that only Tony knows how to find. Some people talk about the Kissimmee-Okeechobee-Everglades (KOE) ecosystem. Well, Tony’s canoed it, and not just over time, actually all at once, and somehow after the multi-week odyssey managed to gain weight. Other feats: There are too many to count, and all confidential. Do you need a fish? Tony can get you a fish. Any fish. But only if its in season because here’s the real secret behind Tony’s success. He’s a person of great character, high energy and knowledge of navigating in the backcountry that rivals the early pioneers.

The song tries to touch on a fraction of his feats, but is also incomplete, and — here’s the real inside scoop — also destined to rapidly get outdated as in the weeks, months and years ahead as Tony embarks on new adventures near and far. My guess is when its all said and done it will be worth another song, possibly two!