I think of the Everglades as a special place, a place people really should have left alone. It's designed by nature or God to be a "no man's land" since it's populated by all sorts of things to deter us from living there. Prickly, sharp and bitey things. Still, because of the climate we've persisted, and now the future of the land is in danger.
Here are some fun facts about the Everglades, courtesy of the Everglades Foundation, an organization that works hard to protect the Everglades.
- The Everglades are the largest wetland located in the lower 48 states in the U.S.A.
- While it is often described as a swamp or forested wetland, the Everglades is actually a very slow-moving river.
- Once spread out over 8 million acres, the Everglades ecosystem reaches from the Kissimmee River to Lake Okeechobee where waters from the lake slowly moved south toward Florida Bay completing the Everglades ecosystem.
- Native Americans living in and around the river called it Pahayokee (pah-HIGH-oh-geh), the "grassy waters."
- Birds were so plentiful in the Everglades that it was said they “darkened the sky” when they took flight
- America’s Everglades are home to 67 threatened or endangered species.
- Just months after Florida became a state in 1845, the legislature took the first steps that would lead to draining the Everglades
- Periphyton, the mossy golden-brown substance that is found floating in bodies of water throughout the Everglades, is the dominant life form in the River of Grass ecosystem.
- The Everglades is the only place in the world where the American Alligator and the American Crocodile co-exist in the wild.
- Mosquitoes play a vitally important link in the Everglades food chain. The larvae of grown mosquitoes provide food for a variety of native fish that are critical to the diet of wading birds.
- The Everglades is a World Heritage Site and an International Biosphere Reserve.
- The ubiquitous grassy plants known as sawgrass (a sedge), feature serrated, razor-edged blades of grass that are so sharp, they have been known to cut through clothing.
But hey, if you've been reading this blog very long, or getting my newsletter, you knew all this stuff, didn't you!