Canaveral National Seashore

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OVERVIEW: About this Audio-Described Brochure

Welcome to the audio-described version of Canaveral National Seashore's official print brochure. It was developed as a special project by Young Sound Seekers, and benefitted from collaboration between students at Stetson University, staff at Atlantic Center for the Arts, and young adults at the Conklin Davis Center for the Visually Impaired. Through audio descriptions of photos and maps, this version interprets the two-sided color brochure that Canaveral visitors receive. It also features creative sound design to enhance that experience of listening to text from the printed brochure. This text explores the history of the park, some of its highlights, and information for planning your visit. This audio version lasts about 40 minutes which we have divided into 30 sections, as a way to improve the listening experience. Sections one through 13 cover the front of the brochure and include details about the seashore's history, wildlife in the area, and other highlights. Sections 14 through 29 cover the back of the brochure which consists of a large park map, directions to the visitor centers, accessibility details, and guides to planning your visit. The final section, number 30, contains credits for those individuals who contributed to the production of this audio-described brochure.

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OVERVIEW: Canaveral National Seashore

Canaveral National Seashore and Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge are located in Florida. On August 28, 1963, as the 286th refuge of the National Wildlife Refuge System, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service signed an agreement to establish the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. In 1975 a second agreement by the National Park Service established Canaveral National Seashore on January 3rd. Today, the Department of Interior manages most of the undeveloped portions of the Kennedy Space Center as a National Wildlife Refuge and National Seashore.

Canaveral National Seashore spans 58,000 acres, and begins 10 miles south of New Smyrna Beach at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. The park contains barrier islands, open lagoon, coastal hammock, pine flatwoods and offshore waters along the east central coast of Florida. It represents an excellent example of a relatively stable barrier beach backed by a productive lagoon system. Canaveral National Seashore has 24 miles of undeveloped beach is the longest such stretch on the east coast of Florida. Mosquito Lagoon, which comprises over two-thirds of the park, is designated an Outstanding Florida Water and as a part of the 156-mile long Indian River Lagoon (IRL), an Estuary of National Significance. The IRL is considered the most diverse and productive estuary in North America. Mosquito Lagoon supports nationally-recognized commercial and recreational fisheries for fin fish, clams, oysters, blue crabs and shrimp. The park provides habitat for 15 federally-listed (Threatened and Endangered) animal species, ranking it second in the entire National Park Service. Three sea turtle species deposit approximately 4000-7000 nests on the beach each year. Large numbers of waterfowl and wading birds utilize the Seashore as a migratory stopover and wintering ground. Located along the "frost line", the park contains a rich and unique mixture of subtropical and temperate plants found nowhere except central Florida.

Each year, thousands of visitors come to enjoy the unique experiences that can only be had at Canaveral National Seashore and Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. We invite you to explore the natural beauty and majestic views. Feel the natural rhythms of this wilderness. Take a walk and hear the song of migrating birds. Stand on the soft sand and listen to the crashing waves as the warm Florida sun shines down. 

For those seeking to learn more about the park during their visit, informative audio guides can be found at each visitor center. To find out more about what resources might be available or to contact the park directly, visit the "Accessibility" and "More Information" sections at the end of this audio-described brochure.

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OVERVIEW: Front Side of Brochure

The front of the brochure is divided into three sections that offer information about the wildlife habitat, the history of this area, and cultural influences from indigenous people and European settlers. These three sections are titled: Sheltering Spaces, Preserving Species, and Inviting Spaces. Two sections include photographs that represent the narrative. All the photographs are in full color.

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IMAGE AND TEXT: Header Canaveral / Merritt Island


Canaveral/Merritt Island

Canaveral National Seashore
National Park Service

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service


A black bar with the park name and the NPS arrowhead logo runs horizontally along the top edge of the brochure. Underneath this heading, a color image of the shoreline spans the entire top fold of the brochure.


This shoreline shows the Atlantic Ocean on the left with the rising sun illuminating the calm water washing up to the sandy beach where a long dune is covered in low lying green sea grass and coastal plants on the right side of the photograph.

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TEXT: Sheltering Spaces

Sheltering Spaces: Neither buildings nor seawalls disturb this wilderness beach on Florida’s east coast. At both the national seashore and wildlife refuge, nature lives in harmony with human technology.

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IMAGE AND TEXT: Landscape and Sunset

Caption: From isolated beaches and inland channels to life-filled marshes and lagoons above, water takes command here.

Description: A sunset over Indian River Lagoon, with colors of orange and yellow reflecting off of an isolated beach, with the reflection of the clouds on the beach and a bird standing in the sand, with palm trees pictured in the distance. 

Photo credit: Anne Heimann.

Description: A sunset over the marshland with scattered palm trees. An egret flies over the land in the distance, and the clouds are reflected in the foreground in the lagoon. 

Photo credit: Frank Moser.

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IMAGE AND TEXT: Eagle and Hawk

Caption: Don’t be surprised if you see a red-tailed hawk or a bald eagle keeping watch over land and water.

Description: A red-tailed hawk spreads its wings and opens its beak, their gaze aimed at the ground below. Its feathers are a combination of white and dark brown. 

Photo credit: Anne Heimann.

Description: A pair of bald eagles rest on the bare branches of a tree, highlighted by the warm glow of sunlight, set against a serene blue sky.

Photo credit: Frank Moser.

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Caption: Guided by instinct, sea turtles struggle onto the protected beach to deposit eggs into nest cavities dug with their flippers.

Description: A sea turtle moves forward with its flippers pointed in its desired direction. The turtle’s head is down and covered in a brown and black spotted pattern similar to that of its flippers. The shell is dark brown with a ridge and reflects the sunlight. The sea turtle moves in sand that is tan and smooth other than a few rocks of the same color. The turtle casts a shadow onto the sand, displaying its shell and left outstretched flipper.

Photo credit: Anne Heimann.

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TEXT: Preserving Species

Preserving Species: For many plants and animals found here, living at this national seashore and wildlife refuge means more than life as usual—it means life over extinction.

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TEXT: Preserving Species Paragraphs

Mention Canaveral and Merritt Island and many people imagine space exploration—the exciting countdown, the thrilling liftoff. But another quality of space here is almost a secret from outsiders. This space can be secluded as gentle breezes caress miles of primitive beach or endangered sea turtles struggle from their leathery eggs. This space can also be boisterous, as tropical blossoms’ aromas waft on humid air—and insects noisily approve.

This space has been preserved through the teamwork of three federal agencies. In the 1950s it was set aside to buffer activities of the nearby National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The space race gave the John F. Kennedy Space Center world prominence and ensured preservation of this barrier island. Working with NASA, the US Fish and Wildlife Service has managed Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge since 1963, and the National Park Service has run Canaveral National Seashore since 1975. These agencies care for this special area, where warm waters and a temperate climate nourish species as diverse as bald eagles and alligators or bromeliads and mangroves.

Winds and Atlantic waters massage the beach’s sand grains into dunes that parallel the shore as far as you can see. Hidden in this graceful image is the buttress of a barrier island—a low-lying ribbon of land braced with a spine of sand dunes. Behind this protective island, salty Atlantic water flowing through inlets combines with seasonal rains to form the Indian River and Mosquito Lagoon estuaries. Fish, oysters, clams, and shrimp begin life in these fertile nurseries, which, in turn, attract an abundance of waterfowl. Until the late 1950s the marshes also nurtured saltmarsh mosquitoes, which at times could produce a million mosquitoes per square yard in one day. Because saltmarsh mosquitoes don’t lay eggs in fresh water, engineers divided 69,000 acres of marsh into walled impoundments to control water levels, salinity, and mosquitoes. The new environment attracted new residents, and today it is common to see waterfowl, alligators, otters, and wading birds like snowy egrets, white ibises, and great blue herons.

The barrier island and its waters offer sanctuary for an abundant mix of plants and animals. Recorded here are 1,045 plant species and 310 bird species. Hammocks of ancient oaks draped with Spanish moss grow near sand dunes covered with palmetto and sea oats. Thousands of migratory birds stop over on their journeys north and south. Over a dozen wildlife species federally listed as endangered or threatened include sea turtles, West Indian manatees, wood storks, eastern indigo snakes, and Florida scrub jays. Canaveral and Merritt Island form a sheltered space, where the countdown is not of spaceships but of endangered animals ensuring life for future generations.

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TEXT: Inviting Spaces

You may not see anyone else, but you will not be alone. Come share the warm sand with shorebirds and watch for other wildlife and flowers along quiet trails.

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Caption: An angler casts in early morning surf. Near-tropical water temperatures attract bluefish, whiting, and pompano, making sport fishing popular here.

Description: An angler fisherman stands in the early morning surf, water covering his ankles. He casts his pole out into the ocean. The background shows the ocean waves and thick, tall grass. 

Photo credit: Ken Laffal

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IMAGE AND TEXT: Bird-Watching Tower

Caption: At the Cruickshank observation tower on the refuge’s wildlife drive you’ll want your binoculars: The 310 bird species recorded here include wood storks and reddish egrets.

Description: A structured wooden bird watching tower stands upon a serene wetland with a person atop gazing out into the distance. The sky's soft light bathes the scene in a peaceful ambiance, mirrored in the still water below.

Photo credit: Ken Laffal.

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TEXT: Inviting Spaces Paragraphs

Canaveral, this “place of canes” named by Spanish explorers, bears one of North America’s oldest recorded place names. Surveyor Pedro Marratt probably named Merritt Island, charting it in the early 1800s. But human imprints were here long before European explorers put ashore. Earlier people, attracted by fertile estuaries and the temperate climate, harvested oysters and clams, discarding shells in heaps that archeologists study. These heaps (called middens or mounds) can be seen at Seminole Rest, Turtle Mound, and Castle Windy. In April 1513 Ponce de León’s sailors claimed the land for Spain, and in 1763 the British took control of Florida’s east coast. But vast wetlands, clashes with the Seminole, and clouds of saltmarsh mosquitoes delayed development until Douglas Dummett planted an orange grove in 1830, launching the Indian River citrus industry.

For the next century villages near citrus groves or water passages took hold briefly, then fell to storms, isolation, or killing frosts. Eldora was a late-1800s town near Mosquito Lagoon. A lone house, Eldora State House, survives and is open to the public. Seminole Rest, where the Timucua people probably gathered and shelled clams, dates from 4,000 to 500 years ago. It’s now 18 feet high. Early-1900s settlers who refused to sell its contents for road building thereby preserved its clues about Timucuan life. Exhibit panels along a half-mile trail convey more history of the mound.

Today this inviting space is yours to enjoy. Relax on a deserted beach or hike in forests of Spanish moss-draped live oaks. Scout, by boat, sail, or canoe, Indian River or explore Mosquito Lagoon for oysters, clams, pink shrimp, or blue crabs. And don’t miss Black Point Wildlife Drive. It's six miles can take an hour or all day, depending on how many stops you make to view wildlife. Whether you seek solace or adventure, the national seashore and the wildlife refuge welcome you.

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OVERVIEW: Back Side of Brochure

Side two of the brochure consists of text and two maps. The map which takes up most of the brochure is of the larger area and identifies the park boundaries, highways, roads, coastline, park units, vast waterways, and visitor centers.

The smaller map is a locator map that illustrates the park location in relation to Orlando, Florida and smaller cities along the east coast of the Atlantic Ocean.

In the section of this brochure containing the locator map, several paragraphs give detailed information about directions, accessibility, beaches, hiking, scenic drive, camping, hunting, regulations and safety, and permits.

In the section of this brochure containing the larger map, three areas of text give information about safety, fishing and boating, as well as a small area for the map legend.

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TEXT: Enjoy the National Seashore and National Wildlife Refuge - Overview

The text and associated map is presented under their own sections. In addition to the locator map, the text sections provide information about getting there and what trails and amenities are available.

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MAP: Canaveral / Merritt Island – Locator Map Overview

The purpose of this color map is to provide navigation to the park from Central Florida’s largest airport Orlando International, and surrounding cities such as Daytona Beach and Cocoa Beach. This locator map is oriented north, with a legend for distance in miles. The major interstates of I-4 and I-95 are illustrated, along with state roads that lead to the north and south entrances of Canaveral National Seashore and Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge. John F. Kennedy Space Center is also indicated along Cape Canaveral which borders the Atlantic Ocean.

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TEXT: Directions and Visitor Centers

The national seashore and wildlife refuge are reached via US 1, I-95, and FL 528 (Beachline Expressway). Northern access: New Smyrna Beach is on FL A1A. Seminole Rest is east of US 1 in Oak Hill on River Road. Southern access: Titusville is on FL 406/402. Playalinda Beach is reached via FL 402. 

The seashore has a seven-day entry fee and honors the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass series. 

The seashore visitor center, seven miles south of New Smyrna Beach on FL A1A, offers exhibits, schedules, publications, and an orientation program. Call 386-428-3384. 

The refuge visitor center, four miles east of Titusville on FL 402, offers exhibits, publications, and information. Call 321-861-0669.

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TEXT: Accessibility

We strive to make our facilities, services, and programs accessible to all. For information go to a visitor center, ask a ranger, call the phone numbers above, or check the seashore and refuge websites.

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TEXT: Beaches

  • The seashore has undeveloped beaches and limited services: no drinking water, food, picnic facilities, phones, or beach showers. 
  • All beaches have restrooms and boardwalk access. 
  • Playalinda and Apollo beaches are wheelchair-accessible. Ask at the entrance stations for current locations. 
  • First aid and drinking water are at information centers. • The seashore allows surfing; the refuge does not. 
  • You can get to Klondike Beach only by foot or bicycle. 
  • Horses are allowed on a designated Apollo District beach section November 1 to April 15 (reservations, permit required). 
  • Seashore areas may close if parking lots are full or for rocket launches at Kennedy Space Center. Call 321-867-4077 for launch closures at Playalinda Beach. 

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TEXT: Scenic Drive

The refuge’s six-mile, self-guiding Black Point Wildlife Drive goes through pine flatwoods and impounded marsh for good views of many species of wildlife.

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TEXT: Hiking

  • Both seashore and refuge offer short self-guiding trails. 
  • Castle Windy and Turtle Mound trails take you by shell middens left by the Timucua people. 
  • On Turtle Mound Trail you have views of the ocean and Mosquito Lagoon. 
  • Eldora Hammock, Oak Hammock, and Palm Hammock trails go through dense hammock vegetation. 
  • Cruickshank Trail has an observation tower and marsh views.

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TEXT: Camping

Camping is allowed at the Apollo District at designated island sites all year (reservations, permit required). Camping is not allowed in the refuge. Nearby communities offer private campgrounds.

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TEXT: Hunting

In season, the seashore and refuge allow hunting of migratory waterfowl, which is part of the refuge’s waterfowl management. For firearms regulations ask a ranger or check the seashore and refuge websites.

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TEXT: Regulations and Safety

  • Vehicles must stay on roads and park only in designated spaces.
  • Thieves target parking areas: Don’t leave any valuables in vehicles.
  • Using remotely piloted aircraft like drones is prohibited. 
  • Pets are prohibited on beaches and in public buildings and must be leashed at all times.
  • Picnicking—but no open fire—is permitted on beaches. Use portable grills and remove coals from the beach. 
  • No vehicles, glass containers, or metal detectors are allowed on beaches. 
  • Roller skating, inline skating, and skateboarding are prohibited. 
  • Do not feed or harm wildlife, remove any vegetation, or disturb archeological sites—federal law protects all natural and cultural features.

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TEXT: Seashore Information and Permits

Canaveral National Seashore

212 S. Washington Ave.; Titusville, FL 32796


Refuge Information and Permits

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

PO Box 6504; Titusville, FL 32782


Visit to learn more about national parks and to learn more about national wildlife refuges.


National Park Foundation Logo

Join the park community.



GPO 2019-407-308/82345 Last updated 2019

Printed on recycled paper.

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MAP: Canaveral / Merritt Island – Getting Around - Main Map Detail


Short Description:

The map titled “Getting Around” is primarily an informational map for orientation. This map is oriented with north at the top. It shows all 57,662 acres of the park, including the lagoon along the westside, and the Atlantic Ocean on the east border.. The top of the map shows the legend which contains road conditions, ranger station, visitor center, restrooms, accessibility, drinking water, boat launches, and trails. In addition, safety information is listed for fishing, boating, and beach visits. Paved roads are highlighted within the park boundaries, and major roads outside the park are shown. Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and John F. Kennedy Space Center are shown in relation to the park. From north to south, the map shows Apollo Beach, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and Indian River Lagoon to the west. South of Apollo Beach is Klondike Beach, an area closed to the public and without road access. Then, at the south border of the park is the publicly accessible Playalinda Beach along the Atlantic Ocean, with Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge to the west.

Long Description:

A color navigational map of the boundary of Canaveral National Seashore and Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge. A green boundary runs vertically to the east along the Atlantic Ocean, and to the west along the irregular shape of the Indian River Lagoon within a system of waterways and wetlands that include the intracoastal waterway and Mosquito Lagoon. Along the east coast side, the Atlantic Ocean beaches are divided into three sections: Apollo Beach, Klondike Beach, and Playalinda Beach. Apollo Beach is the northernmost border, with the city of New Smyrna Beach as the closest town north. This section of the park contains the site of the Canaveral National Seashore Visitor Center, Turtle Mound archaeological site, Eldora historic community, Castle Windy trail, and boat ramps, which are all located on the lagoon side of the park. On the beachside of the park, five parking areas offer beach access with paved parking, restrooms and boardwalks. Many smaller islands are illustrated to the west of the Visitor Center in an area called Shipyard Island and Orange Island, where visitors may canoe to camp overnight. The south end of the main road (called Atlantic Avenue) at Apollo Beach dead ends before the beach is named Klondike Beach, which is only accessible to permitted hikers. Klondike Beach does not have a road, but hugs Mosquito Lagoon south to Playalinda Beach where the road begins again. Playalinda Beach is accessible from State Road 402 that leads to Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge, and is known as the south district of Canaveral National Seashore. Directly west of Playalinda Beach is Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge, a wide span of oak and palm hammock trails situated between the Indian River Lagoon and Mosquito Lagoon. There are no topographical indications of hills or mountains as this is a relatively flat area. Within the refuge, are several named sites, including Cruickshank Trail, Observation Tower, Black Point Wildlife Drive, Scrub Ridge, the Oak and Palm Hammock Trails, Haulover Canal and Manatee Observation Deck, boat launches, and the Visitor Information Center. This visitor center contains accessibility and self-guided hiking information, and drinking water. Indicated south of Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge is John F. Kennedy Space Center with its Visitor Complex and launch pads. To the north of the refuge by driving US 1 or Kennedy Parkway, is the site of Seminole Rest, owned by Canaveral National Seashore, which sits on the westside of the Indian River Lagoon, near the town of Oak Hill. The legend indicated on the right corner of this map details unpaved roads, trails, park borders, the Space Center, and includes icons for the ranger station, wheelchair access, self-guided trails, boat launch, telephone, and drinking water. There is an indicator for the cardinal direction of north, with a marker for distance in miles. 



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TEXT: Play It Safe - Safety Details

Play It Safe - Be aware of rough surf conditions, strong ocean currents, and stinging jellyfish as you swim, wade, or surf. Carry ample drinking water. Wear a hat and other sun protection or apply sunscreen. Use insect repellent. Summer thunderstorms and lighting are common. Wait out the storm in your vehicle or under shelter - but do not stand under trees.

Fishing - Freshwater, saltwater, and commercial fishing have size and possession limits and may require a license of special use permit. Ask for details at an information center.

Boating - Boat launch sites in the refuge and seashore give access to Mosquito Lagoon and Indian River. Airboats are prohibited.

Ask at entrance stations for current wheelchair-accessible locations.

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OVERVIEW: Accessibility

Entrance stations and visitor centers offer audio guides via the National Park Service mobile app. Numerous accessibility resources are offered, including ADA compliant ramps located at all beach entrances and archeological sites, a beach wheelchair at Apollo Beach, information about service animals, tactile exhibitions at select sites, and the benefits of an NPS Access Pass.

We strive to make our facilities, services, and programs accessible to all. Ask a ranger, or visit a complete description of accessibility resources on the Canaveral National Seashore website at

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OVERVIEW: More Information

Canaveral National Seashore and Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge are one of over 400 parks in the National Park System. To learn more about national parks and their programs, visit

Start your journey by visiting the visitor center or contact:

PHONE: 386-428-3384


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This UniDescription project was co-directed by:

  • Dr. Nathan Wolek
  • Eve Payor

From Young Sound Seekers, it features the voices of:

  • Alice
  • Christopher
  • Jessie
  • Kalya
  • Madison
  • Timothy
  • Walker

From Stetson University, it features the voices of:

  • Isabella Colombo
  • Katrina Early
  • Michaela Hawthorne
  • Alexia Kagambega
  • Marvel Olson

The sound design and audio editing was completed by:

  • Ariel Castillo Palacios
  • Jeremy Howard
  • Daniel Howard
  • Craig Kohler
  • Alecsa Laca
  • Alice Quinlan
  • Branden Rogers
  • Aidan Sullivan

The location sound recording was completed by:

  • Naya Adla
  • Fabian Cardona
  • Lane Davis
  • Shaun Gates
  • Alecsa Laca
  • Nurdaulet Myrzabekov
  • Luke Paxton
  • Alice Quinlan
  • Julian Rocha
  • Branden Rogers
  • Aidan Sullivan
  • Jodi-Ann Taylor
  • Brett Zimmerman

Additional Creative Commons sound recordings were provided by:

And finally, special thanks to Perri Lynch Howard for her additional recordings of rain at Canaveral. 

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