2017 Intern Blog Series: Week 4

On the road again

On Monday, we attended a teacher training on Florida International University’s campus with Jen Diaz. It was fascinating to watch the teachers engage with the activities, from building the KOE system out of play-doh, to slithering around in a gator hole. It was surprising that not many teachers knew much about the Everglades ecosystem, so we were delighted to share our extensive knowledge gained over these past few weeks. It was incredibly fun and educational.

Everglades model created at the teacher training.

On Tuesday, we drove up to West Palm to stay for a few days, first stopping in Stuart to have a meeting with Mark Perry from the Oceanographic Society. He spoke about the many different plans that came up around restoration. He mentioned Plan 6, that would have set land aside in the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA), to use as a waterway from Lake Okeechobee to the Everglades. We also met with Chris McVoy, who invited us to his home to discuss the old and new maps of the Everglades. We were really curious about the way maps were created in the 1800s, so it was fascinating to see the differences. Chris also showed us the contraption in his backyard that measured flock in a tank and we talked about how hard it is to re-create natural occurrences in a lab.

On Wednesday morning, we talked to Kim Taplin from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. She talked about the history of Everglades restoration and how it has changed since she started working for the federal government. She was part of the creation of the Yellow Book that we’ve learned has several volumes (and pages) that covers the projects for the Everglades.

Thursday began with science as South Florida Water Management District’s Eric Cline led us through LILA, an attempt to understand what Everglades restoration change will mean by simulating the hydrologic conditions in the Everglades. Change can be personal as well, as Joe Frank of the Seminole Tribe of Indians recounted to us what the Everglades has meant for the tribe. Of many perspectives, one stood out as unique – Marjory Stoneman Douglas’ book, The River of Grass, is often toted as a great environmental work; however, it also helped to displace a way of life as the last Seminole Tribe members that lived off the land were forced out of the newly established park. As always, there are many ways to look at the same issue.

Jonathan’s exciting catch of an Everglades Rat Snake in LILA.

“I’m glad to talk about my ways of life to others who want to learn. I don’t know everything but I will speak on what I know.” Willie Frank, Wind Clan

 

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