By Samantha R Evensen

Last summer, local FishHawk resident, Etienne E. Pracht, who is a professor at USF, began documenting the wildlife that entered his backyard.

As he continued snapping pictures and cataloguing the creatures, he found that it had the potential to be a great learning experience that he could share.

He extended his adventures throughout his entire community, documenting mammals, insects, reptiles, and over 75 kinds of birds.

His two daughters served as a great inspiration in his efforts and he even got them involved. “My kids helped me spot animals. They literally have their hand in the book…one of them is holding a bird in one of the pictures,” said Pracht.

The first edition of the book was released earlier this year and is entitled, Wildlife on the Trails of FishHawk Ranch and Inland Hillsborough County Residential Area: With Fun Facts for Kids.

However, since then he has documented several new local animals that he will add to his second edition, which comes out this month.

His books will be available for purchase at Rich’s Backyard Birds, located at 5670 FishHawk Crossing Blvd. and also on Amazon.

There is a guide and outdoor activity book about the animals in the local area. The animals are divided into six categories; mammals, birds, insects, reptiles, spiders, and amphibians, and each page of the book include a fun fact about the animal depicted as well as a rhyme.

“What you learn about these animals and when you see what they are, all about and how intelligent they are you can’t help but come away with a feeling of awe about how nature works,” said Pracht.

Pracht hopes that his books will inspire kids to have fun learning and to raise awareness for the wildlife in the area.

For more information about where to find the book, please contact Rich’s Backyard Birds at 657-2473 or for questions, e-mail Pracht at


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