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We’ve concluded our fourth week and are halfway through the John Marshall Everglades Internship! This week we focused heavily on advancing our individual projects, and on Thursday, we attended a South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) Governing Board monthly meeting which focused on Everglades restoration projects.

Monday mornings in the office, working on individual projects

We were given the opportunity to deliver a brief speech related to one of the agenda items, and I was filled with nervous excitement as I walked into the meeting. Before beginning the agenda, the governing board presented a video detailing personal narratives involved with Everglades restoration – from farmers, to construction workers, to policymakers. I saw my own backyard canal in the video and was blown away.

Thea spoke in support of an agenda point that discussed the removal of the Old Tamiami Trail as a part of CEP (Central Everglades Plan). This change would improve the water flow in areas like Water Conservation Area 3A and 3B, a region of the Everglades that we visited in Week 2 of our internship. Luis applauded the Modified Waters Delivery Project for the benefits it would have on the Cape Sable seaside sparrow population. He also brought 8 framed pictures of the American alligator for all board members to keep as a memento of a previous success story that came from a fight for restoration. Adele delivered a heartfelt message on the importance of climate change action, bringing up the south Florida flood patterns and how they’ve changed. “Knowledge is power, but not without the necessary action taken to ensure that change will actually occur,” said Adele. I, Natalia, spoke in favor of the C-111 South Dade project, which will allow increased water flow into Taylor Slough and then into Florida Bay. I brought up the importance of bay restoration for the preservation of the ecosystem, and the benefits it has on Florida’s economy – both in fishing and tourism.

Luis, speaking in support of the Modified Waters Delivery Project

We were all grateful for the opportunity because it gave us a platform on which to improve our public speaking skills. Sitting at the SFWMD meeting showed us the multitude of projects and varying perspectives that are tied to Everglades restoration, and the value of listening to each one.

We’ll see you next week with more adventures!

See you later alligator,

The Cleverglades Interns

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