Everglades Study Field Trip
Day 2: Tuesday, March 26, 2019
With a late sleep in after last night’s late adventure, we gladly devoured Kyle’s and Jim’s pancakes before heading back to see what bright sunshine would reveal that darkness hid from us only hours before. The slough was alive with sounds of the day. Birds argued, warning others to stay away. Giant anhinga chicks screeching in their nest demanding more and more food from their tireless parents overhead. Fish made their presence known as they surfaced and splashed everywhere. Silent alligators glided along the surface of the still pond, submerging silently as they searched for prey.
Too soon we had say, “Later, Gator,” as we headed for the Daniel Beard Research Center to meet Marine Ecologist, Christopher Kavanaugh. We were most privileged to be invited behind the scenes, where scientists work to ensure the health of the Everglades, now and into the future long after their work is done.
Christopher transported us back in history telling the story of the River of Grass from its very beginning. We began to understand why this place, unique in the world, is so important to preserve, and why both nature and humankind need to co-exist and thrive, keeping sacred this delicate balance. Ask us about elevation, salinity, drought, water depth, flora and fauna, and environmental issues. Thanks to Christopher’s patience in answering all of our questions and sharing his obvious passion, we leave with in-depth understanding and the resolve to make a difference for this dynamic and precious ecosystem.
A cooling dip in our little spring fed lagoon-pool back at the hostel refreshed us after our nearly 90-degree day. What a treat to have come from Massachusetts’ big chill to south Florida’s mid-summer-like heat. Kids splashed, breeched, glided underwater, and braved the waterfall gauntlet together before getting back to our journals.
In the fairy light studded gazebo, we broke out our watercolors to paint the Everglades night. How do we represent the feeling of being enclosed in darkness, hearing the music of the glades? It was a good problem to solve, stretching our talents and imaginations.
Everyone wanted to share their Night Walk writing, so before we retired for the night, we listened to the night through each others’ words.
Written by Barbara McFall, Founder of The Phoenix School
You can see all our photos here!