The Everglades: a uniquely human story.
Friday, June 2, 2017
Today was a rainy day. We drove way out west to meet with Gene Dunkin, the water resources director for the Miccosukee Tribe. He explained the water quality and quantity problems surrounding the tribe, the Everglades and Big Cypress. After our meeting, the rain let up so we decided to continue our adventure to Big Cypress National Preserve. Our fearless leader, Kristie, led us off the path through the Sawgrass and Cypress. We wandered around and found two alligator holes in the Cypress Domes, as well as several different wildflowers and bromeliads. We lived through the mosquitoes and the wetness and the Cypress knees that were determined to make us trip.
Tuesday, June 6, 2017
Monday and Tuesday brought about an odd change of pace, with one day spent in the office and the other day bowling! However, by Wednesday, we were all itching to get back on the road again!
Wednesday, June 7, 2017
Wednesday was action packed. In the morning, we first got to meet with Jenny Staletovich of the Miami Herald. Jenny was the sweetest person. In our meeting, she talked to us about communicating environmental issues with the public. It was interesting to see how our conversation was based around social media and catering content to busy people. Jenny also showed us the newsroom of the Miami Herald, and it was exactly how you would imagine the inside of a top newspaper’s headquarters. We all agreed later that we were surprised Clark Kent didn’t come running in half way through our meeting!
After the Herald we had the opportunity to eat lunch with former Governor of Florida and U.S. Senator Bob Graham. He was incredibly knowledgeable and told a riveting story of the history of Everglades restoration all while asking us insightful questions concerning our own role in this chapter of the story. Thanks to Senator Graham, we all took away a unique perspective as well as a signed copy of his book, America, The Owner’s Manual.
Thursday, June 8, 2017
On Thursday, we went to the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) Governing Board meeting in West Palm Beach. It was very interesting for us to learn about the different projects that the district manages, including the Pilot Python Elimination Program, the new Senate Bill 10 initiative and the establishment of June as Flood Awareness Month. We also heard the concerns and comments of the different stakeholders in Everglades restoration. It was a very exciting and informative meeting!
The more we talk to stakeholders, the more we’ve realized that although we are studying the natural environment, the story is a uniquely human one.