LET THE ADVENTURE UNFOLD: Phoenix Kids Travel to Study
Elsie, our ranger naturalist begins our slough slog adventure by describing the flow of the River of Grass over time. Without the shallow moving water, this unique environment would not exist. She provides us with long slogging sticks to help us make our way through the cypress dome’s watery world. We slog along through periphyton, kicking up mud in our wake as we try to pull our feet out of the sucking muck. Max and Leslie decide to take a little dip, probably wanting to get up close and personal with the bladderwort. We each had our personal opinions of the slog.
Charlie: My feet sink into the mud as I search for the next safe place to step. My attention is drawn to a juvenile ibis searching for the perfect landing.
Fiona: Knee-deep water splashes delicately against the cypress trees as we march across the cypress dome.
Karina D. As we were wading cautiously in the water of the cypress dome, there was life teeming both below us and above us, birds chirping and organisms swimming around our feet.
Alice: As we parade through the mighty cypress dome, sounds of slushing and rustling leaves dominate the soundscape.
Arlo: As I swiped the net across the cypress floor, it suddenly felt heavier. Lifting it up, I realized it was filled with cypress needles that cover the cypress dome floor. I remember from my research that needles certain acids that slowly degrade the limestone floor.
Karina P-Z: As I slogged through the cypress dome I saw a long, slimy, green strand of bladderwort floating along. I look up to see a night heron perched comfortably on a high branch.
Max: As the ranger explains periphyton I wonder how can something so small support 2,357 square miles of submerged sawgrass and millions of creatures.
Eziah: Walking slowly through the cypress forest with my slog pole to help me keep my balance, I hear sounds all around me. Kapunk, kapunk, my muddy feet walking through the cypress water feel funny. I look up and see a night heron squawking at me.
Aiden: Sawgrass felt sharp against my fingertips. As I walked through the slough I saw a dark blue night-heron perching on a twig. I wonder if night herons are actually rare.
Liam: As I walked through the slough, sinking in the mud, I saw the knees of the cypress almost as tall as me. Bromeliads clung to the trees far above me.
Exploring the Visitor Center and watching the Everglades movie there answered more of our questions.
On our way back to the hostel, as a special surprise, we pulled into Robert Is Here fruit stand for a fresh and delicious fruit smoothie made from Robert’s own homegrown exotic fruits. We arrived back refreshed and ready to record our adventure through words and watercolors in our journals.
Leslie, Barbara, & Kyle