Celebrate Earth Day with Friends of the Everglades

Great blue herons are one of 16 wading bird species that live in the Everglades, the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States. “Saving the Everglades is a test. If we pass, we may get to keep the planet.” These words, spoken by a former Friends of the Everglades executive director, convey what’s at stake as we work to restore the largest subtropical wilderness in the country. Beginning north of Orlando and stretching to the southern reaches of Florida Bay, the interconnected web of wetlands, rivers and lakes that make up the Greater Everglades is a watery wilderness as diverse as it is beautiful. The Everglades are home to critical habitats for a wide variety of species. [...]

2023-05-11T11:29:33-04:00April 21st, 2023|Everglades National Park, Wildlife Habitat|

Your Everglades moment of Zen: Just Hatched!

Spring is in full bloom, signaling something we look forward to every year: It’s baby bird season! Everywhere you look in the Greater Everglades ecosystem, hatchlings are cracking open their multi-colored shells to peek out into the world for the first time. And they’re hungry! Their mouths are often wide open and pointed skyward, marking bullseyes for their parents to drop food inside. These birds will mature relatively quickly and will soon take flight to join the flocks that are indicative of thriving Florida ecosystems. Friends of the Everglades Multimedia Producer Leah Voss has spent the last few weeks capturing these Easter-egg-come-early moments. Barred owls, eagles, osprey, and [...]

2023-04-04T14:25:23-04:00April 4th, 2023|All Posts, Everglades Zen, Wildlife Habitat|

Your moment of Everglades zen: Golden Hour at Anhinga Trail

As spring approaches, now is an ideal chance to take a trip to Everglades National Park before the oppressive heat of summer descends. Our multimedia producer, Leah Voss, took a recent walk along the Anhinga Trail, where she encountered scenes alive with activity as she soaked in the warm glow of a late afternoon. She captured those moments in words and images:  “Far south of the bustle of Miami, tucked inside the protective boundaries of Everglades National Park, the sun sank lower toward the horizon, blanketing the freshwater marsh of Taylor Slough with a golden light. Purple gallinules hopped across lily pads. Cormorants squawked and jostled for positions [...]

Everglades Illustrated: Persistent Red Tide

Along the coast of Southwest Florida, red tide is lingering. Through January 6, 2023, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission detected low to high concentrations in 59 samples collected from Pinellas to Charlotte County, as detailed in the image above.  Conditions have varied since October when the blooms first appeared, due to ever-changing wind and currents that move blooms inshore and offshore, as well as up and down the coast. Marine animals and residents alike are feeling the repercussions, as fish kills and respiratory irritation reported by beachgoers are linked to the persistent blooms.  In Sarasota Bay, researchers have discovered that bottlenose dolphins tracked by marine scientists will “cough” and “sneeze” when they swim through strong red tide blooms, [...]

Your moment of Everglades Zen: An Ode to Mangroves

Few images feel more iconic to coastal Florida shorelines than the twisted, tumbling limbs of the mangrove. Beneath their clumping root systems, life thrives, providing physical protection for marine species that gather under, seek refuge and sustenance within, and cling to mangroves’ protruding appendages. Above the water, dense canopies provide shelter and important nesting habitat for coastal birds and mammals. The aerial root structures of mangroves have been credited with helping to reduce waves and absorb storm surge. A common sight along much of Florida’s coast, mangroves can be likened to anchors that help to stabilize coastline ecosystems and serve as a first line of defense against coastal flooding and erosion — [...]

2022-08-01T16:45:47-04:00August 2nd, 2022|Everglades Zen, Wildlife Habitat|

Your moment of Everglades Zen: Embracing the Heat at Jonathan Dickinson State Park

It’s no wonder that life under a hot, Florida sun comes to a lazy, alligator crawl in the heat of the summer. Let’s face it — as temperatures soar and humidity rises, getting outdoors in the middle of the day this time of year can feel downright brutal. But the summer season also boasts bluebird skies and lush, rain-fueled greenery that makes for some of the most beautiful days of the year. Our multimedia producer, Leah Voss, showed us just how rewarding a late afternoon hike at Jonathan Dickinson State Park in Martin County can be, sharing scenic images of expansive foliage, fields of wildflowers, and buzzing animal life that is all well [...]

2022-07-05T12:49:27-04:00July 5th, 2022|All Posts, Everglades Zen, Wildlife Habitat|

VIDEO: Examining the Annihilation of Florida

Jeff VanderMeer is a realist — but that doesn't mean he's without hope for the future of wild Florida. During today's Clean Water Conversation, the bestselling author and Tallahassee resident talked with Friends of the Everglades Executive Director Eve Samples about his recent article in Current Affairs, "The Annihilation of Florida: An Overlooked National Tragedy." Jeff discussed special interests that work against environmental protection in Florida, the rapid pace of habitat loss, and the expanses of Florida's wilderness that still need to be protected. Several football fields-worth of forest and other valuable habitat are cleared every day in Florida. And we have 11 million acres of wetlands that remain vulnerable, down from 20 million acres prior to the 1800s. Jeff [...]

Save the Deep-sea Oculina Coral reefs from trawling

Friends of the Everglades joined 37 organization in signing a letter asking NOAA to oppose the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s proposed Amendment 10 to the Coral, Coral Reefs, and Hard Bottom Fishery Management Plan which would allow shrimp trawlers to destroy the last deep-sea Oculina reefs off Florida. As the letter states, The Oculina Bank off the east coast of central Florida is the only known place in the world where deep-sea Oculina varicosa form reef structures. This one-of-a-kind ecosystem supports marine life throughout the region well beyond the reef itself. A single 12-inch coral can host up to 2,000 animals, including small fish, crabs, shrimp, and mollusks—many of which are food for higher trophic levels. Oculina Bank is [...]

Celebrate Earth Day with Friends of the Everglades

There are over 90 species of butterflies found in the Everglades, including this one — the Long-tailed Skipper. It’s just one example of the incredible diversity of species in this treasured ecosystem. Friends of the Everglades is dedicated to protecting America’s Everglades and its inhabitants through our policy advocacy, scientific research, and educational outreach. You can invest in the grassroots movement to save the Everglades this Earth Day by contributing $22 on April 22, 2022. Your support will help us stand up for one of the most ecologically biodiverse regions of the world. Give back today to make a positive impact. After all, this planet is home — and it’s the only one we’ve got.

2022-04-21T09:26:38-04:00April 22nd, 2022|Wildlife Habitat|