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A wide landscape of pine trees, shrubs, and vegetation.

To celebrate Marjory Stoneman Douglas’ birthday, I embarked on a much-needed trip out to Everglades National Park, a vast and unique ecosystem she famously and admirably fought to protect, and one of my favorite national parks.

I started my adventure with a classic first stop at the Anhinga Trail, and on my way spotted some White-tailed deer in the distance! When I arrived at the trail, I spotted a few gators swimming about and some birds along the trail. After walking the full trail I decided to move on to the next stop on my list, Long Pine Key.

I hiked around the campground looking for birds and native wildflowers and was able to photograph my FIRST Eastern Towhee! Then I headed off on the Long Pine Key Nature Trail for some hiking through the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Wilderness Area. There was a section on the trail that showed signs of a recent prescribed burn, including some new vibrant green vegetation that was starting to appear.  

After a bit of hiking, I got back in my car and started driving down towards Flamingo. Once at Flamingo, I stopped by the new Guy Bradley visitor center to see a photo gallery about International Dark Sky Week featuring work by my friend Anthony Sleiman. His work aims to bring awareness to the growing problem of light pollution in Miami and ways to help reduce it.

After looking at some amazing art, I went around the Flamingo area of the park in search of more wildlife. American crocodiles, Manatees, Swallow-tailed Kites, and more made for a very successful and great ending to my day in the park. 

In one day, I was able to explore wetlands, pine rockland forests, open prairie marshes, cypress domes, mangrove channels, and coastal lowlands! Not many other National Parks can offer that kind of biodiversity! Seeing so much wildlife and natural beauty, I reflected on Douglas’ enduring legacy and how important it is for us to safeguard our planet and its natural resources for future generations. 

– Federico Acevedo, Digital Communications Manager

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