Do you ever think about roads? I have a strong association with the roads and the outdoors. It's what connects my home to those places and allows me to get there quickly to enjoy it or work in it. Still, roads can adversely affect natural areas. Not only since thousands of wildlife die in them in accidents but also it can separate entire systems. I can't think of a better example than Tamiami Road or SW 8th Street. A road, I constantly take to get to Big Cypress, Naples and the Gulf Coast. Yet, this is also a road that cuts through a wetland essentially stopping the Everglades from sending the water south. Some mitigations have been successfully done such as raising parts of the road to allow for water flow. Still, that's only in one short section. Sadly, I feel this is just a trade-off we have to make. Since, this road is vital for many people from the Conservationist to the Travelers.
Happy #WorldWildlifeDay and what better way to celebrate than with the American Alligator. Being from Florida, you can't escape them. Still, at one point they were endangered of extinction and a successful restoration was conducted through the framework of the Endangered Species Act. Now, we just have too many!
I to this picture yesterday. Which was a sunny and beautiful day like today. Hopefully, in the next couple of days it will remain the same since, it is possibly in the path of the storm. It does have one tool that will help brace the impact and that is sand dunes. A natural barrier and tool against the effects of Hurricanes. Also, can you guess where this place is?
I hope the Hurricane doesn't knock too many of these Cypress down. But it will interesting to see what it does with different ecosystems in South Florida. We're definitely going to lose some more mangroves. Some domes, will likely be opened up and hammocks are going to be a mass. But it should be fun to go out explore this places post storm. Are you prepared for the storm?
Talking about fires, reminds me of the Pine Rockland's. Which is a fire dependent ecosystem. Where the majority of species have evolved to survive and thrive under fires. Slash Pine even require fires to be able to reproduce. These open canopy systems need fires to avoid succession into tropical hardwood hammocks. Everglades National Park, was one of the first places to ever institute prescribed fires for this reason since they realized that the endangered Pine Rockland's required it.
This past spring I had the amazing opportunity to visit the Amazon Basin and experience it's wide biodiversity in Flora and Fauna. As well, as meet the various indigenous groups that call this place home. Recently, fires affecting the Southwestern corner of the Amazon have captures hearts and headlines. As fire rage primarily in Brazil but also at the Bolivian border. These fires do not threaten the area that I personally experienced, but threaten this system overall. These fires are not a new occurance. Some of the largest wildfires in the region go back to 2013. Yet, unlike fires in the Everglades or in the West these are not naturally occurring. Rather they are usually caused by humans. Specifically agricultural interests that seek to clear the rainforest for cattle ranching and soybean farming primarily. However, these fires are only further exacerbated by the drought conditions that these parts of the Amazon experience caused by climate change that is transforming this rainforest into a tropical savanna. This basin covers over 7 million kilometers with over 16,000 tree species alone and supporting 10% of all known species in the world. As well as acting as a carbon sink for the world's CO2 output. So what can you do? You can spread the word on social media like you've seen many others do. But you can also confront those that are allowing this to occur. Such as, Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro. Who has advocated for the destruction of the Amazon since his first day in office. Sadly, 60% of the rainforest is located within Brazil. So, you can put the pressure on this individual. As well as supporting organizations such as the @rainforestalliance , @wwf , @amazonfrontlines and countless other organizations that work on the ground in the Amazon Basin.
It's great to be in the Florida Cypress swamps again. Love to see how the water has risen in some places and completely changed the entire habitat. What I think is even more cool is how many of our native animals have evolved to adapt to these changes and depend on these constant fluctuations of water levels. I'm even more fortunate to be able to photograph these places especially for #worldphotographyday
My friend, @globetrotting_professor recently went to the Great Sand Dunes and took some amazing photos! So, it made me reminiscence of my own time there and how amazing this alien world is. Also, it's cool that NASA actually tests out the Mars Rover at the Sand Dunes due to their similarity!
A year ago today I climbed my first fourteener and it stirred within me a passion to continue that I have to yet to satisfy. Even though I long for the next one I accomplish. I don't know why, because when I usually climb I just wish I was anywhere else. Still, once I summit that feeling immediately fades and it is filled with bliss. Maybe, that's why I love the outdoors so much.
I love the beautiful cerulean blue Waters off of Florida Keys especially along the Florida Reef. Many of these areas are protected as Marine Sanctuaries. Which in turn protect countless species and their habitats. Thus, the recent announcement of weakening the Endangered Species Act is disastrous. So many species have been recovered through this Act, including the Bald Eagle. It's weakening, will only ensure the continued exploitation and destruction of our Natural Areas. Which is for the public and not for corporate interests.
It seems like anywhere I go, water plays a role. Whether it be these huge cliffs and rock formations around the great lakes to the Everglades. Water shapes our natural world, and will continue to do so. Whether we want it to or not. What are some of your favorite places that were shaped by or are near water?
So I was able to visit one of the United States iconic natural wonders of the United States and maybe the world, depending on who you ask. It's beauty lies in it's raw power that can be witnessed from any of the 3 falls. I do wish it was less commercialized and developed especially in it's surrounding areas, but still worth seeing!
I already miss my time as a John Marshall Intern with the Everglades Foundation! It was such a memorable experience. Allowing me to see slough like this in such a different light. And I think the friends I made do too! @evergladesfoundation
I am very lucky to be able to photograph the elusive Ghost Orchid. I love how such a seemingly fragile and delicate flower can grow in such a harsh environment like a Cypress Strand. Couple this fragility with highly specific demands for blooming, and you have a rare and endangered epiphyte. I want to thank @groupertoes for taking me out to see this beauty.
Today I had a great opportunity to photograph a great example of active conservation. These wildland firefighter are not putting out a fire but rather starting one. No, they're not arsonist. But rather helping preserve a fire dependent ecosystem, Pine Rockland's. Which need fires every 2-3 years to prevent succession and open the canopy. So, this is a prescribed fire! Everglades National Park was actually one of the first to ever do one. Since, many ecosystems in the Everglades require fire. Also, the recent brush fire that has consumed over 30,000+ acres in the Everglades is normal and healthy. It is not necessarily a direct example of climate change.
Spend a lot of time in lagoons? You can see a lot of wildlife in these protected bodies of water since they can host a lot more life that would find the beach to harsh. It's also is usually filled with Mangroves and other coastal species that can turn the water all kinds of colors with their tannins!