Kenny's passion for the environment - flora and fauna, ecology, biology and history of Florida was fantastic! And, he even knew a bit about the paleontology of the area - fossil shells.
We learned about early history of the Everglades, including history of the standoff between the Calusa Native Americans and the Spanish, Ponce de Leon, and the Totch family. We also learned details about the current wetland restoration efforts - water sheeting. I had no idea that Florida's restoration and conservation program is being carefully watched by other countries as a "test" of rebuilding the local habitat and food chain. This is especially important because of climate change!
We had a great time on the airboat ride and we were quite amused about the way the raccoons come out of the cypress trees when they hear the boats - the airboat operators give them treats! :) They fed the fish, too. We made stops to view alligators and take pictures, and I did hold a baby gator. Amazing animals. We had a wonderful time on the boat trip to the gulf and we were fascinated by the way that the islands were created (built up) by sea shells! WOW! And the birds, such an amazing variety of beautiful birds!
At the Smallwood Museum where the Seminole and Miccosukee Native Americans traded, Kenny picked a Sea Grape leaf and called it a Florida post card. Sure enough, we visited the Smallest Post Office and mailed the grape leaf to our home in Colorado....and we got it the day after our return. How fun! We then stopped at Grimm's Stone Crab, Inc. for lunch - wonderful! Gotta try the Grouper salad with the mango dressing and take pictures with the stuffed alligator in the other room - worth the giggles!
We also visited Big Cypress and were able to watch some manatees - how beautiful. One of the last stops including a hike through the Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk where we learned about some of the different trees and ferns and also viewed a nest with a baby eagle making attempts to fly out of the nest - quite beautiful!
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