Lesson Plan - Get It!
"The miracle of the light pours over the green and brown expanse of saw grass and of water, shining and slow-moving below, the grass and water that is the meaning and the central fact of the Everglades of Florida. It is a river of grass."
~ Marjorie Stoneman Douglas, Journalist and Conservationist
Everglades National Park is the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States with over 1.5 million acres of wetlands. The park is just part of the larger Everglades ecosystem.
Location & History
Image by U.S. Geological Survey, via Wikimedia Commons, is in the public domain.
The Everglades National Park is located in south Florida and is essentially a large, slow-moving river flowing from Lake Okeechobee to the Florida Bay. It was established in 1947 to protect Everglades' natural landscape and unique ecosystem.
Within the Greater Everglades ecosystem, there are 8 distinct habitats or physical places where animals and plants can be found:
Because the area is low-lying, each of these habitats is interconnected, making the whole ecosystem not only unique but sensitive and fragile as well. To learn more about each of these habitats, you can visit Habitats at Friends of the Everglades.
One particularly interesting habitat is the Mangrove Forests. Watch this National Geographic Kids video to learn how these fascinating trees with gnarly root systems grow.
Florida Everglades | Nature Boom Time:
Creatures big and small, cute and creepy, with scales, and with feathers can be found throughout the Everglades. In fact, there are over 40 species of mammals and 360 species of birds.
Some of the most famous animals include:
Take a closer look at several of these animals and discover a few more in the National Geographic video below. Make note of your favorites to study further in the Go! section.
Meet the Residents of Everglades National Park | America's National Parks:
Conservation and Preservation
Water is a key resource in the Everglades' ecosystem. This water is shared with the people living in southern Florida.
Urbanization and agricultural development nearby, as well as containment efforts, can affect the quantity and quality of water flowing to the Everglades. Ultimately, this water directly impacts the vitality of the plants and animals living there.
Because of its fragility, conservationists like Guy Bradley and Marjorie Stoneman Douglas have promoted the protection of the park and ecosystem.
As you can see, the Everglades is a fascinating park and ecosystem filled with incredible plants and animals. When you're ready to test your knowledge, proceed to the Got It? section