UNESCO: The Everglades

Funny enough I grew up a stone’s throw away from a UNESCO Site: The Everglades. It is the only landscape like this in the whole world. An incredibly unique ecosystem of brackish water (fresh & salt mixing), shallow sawgrass fields, and the largest mangrove system in the Western Hemisphere. Like so many of our world’s unique ecosystems, this one is also in danger from extensive pollution and human construction.

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Riding on an airboat is the best (although noisiest) way to see the Everglades because of the often muddy shallows and propeller-tangling reeds. Personally, I am more partial to canoes and kayaks but not when there are alligators lurking right underneath! Many commercial airboat companies provide earmuffs so the noise shouldn’t be too much of a bother – but forget about your hair looking good at the end of the day!

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Although summertime is certainly not the best time to visit Florida, trust me I live here full-time, but it’s when many people have vacation. A summer’s day in the Everglades requires a few smart packing tips:

  • Sunblock
  • Bug spray
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Athletic clothing

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I have been in and out of the Everglades a lot in my time, honestly not realizing until a few years ago how monumental this ecosystem was for life in South Florida. You can spend a whole day in the Everglades, especially if you couple an airboat ride along with a visit to the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Seminole Indian Museum on the Big Cypress Indian Reservation. In college I took an Anthropology class on Native Americans in America and part of our course was visiting this museum to look at historical versus contemporary native life.

JMF

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