Florida Everglades National Park was first established in 1947. Thanks to the park and its founders it has played a crucial role in the importance for the survival of endangered species and the ecosystem surrounding it. “From a biological perspective, it is home to some of the most rare and endangered species in the U. S. ; the West Indian manatee, the American crocodile, and more than a dozen others. ” (“National Parks Conservation Association,” 2012).
Everglades Nation Park has a span of 1,508,537. acres, and is home to a vast variety of plants and animals that have adapted to the wetlands. A major factor to the survival of the park is due to that hard work of scientists and researchers that point out the areas where the park needs help. A vast amount of volunteers also participate in the collection of biology and hydrology data. This date helps scientist and researchers evaluate the park’s condition. Everglades National Park is also a tourist park where people can learn and experience firsthand the amazing world out there. The park was first founded by Marjory Stoneman Douglas.
Her mission was to preserve, protect, and restore the Everglades. Marjory was an editor in 1917 when World War I was engaging in Europe; and Navy ships where sent out to Miami to recruit men and women to help fight the war. Marjory went to the site to cover the story of the first woman who would enlist in the reserves. As it turned out, Marjory ended up being that first woman who was enlisted into the reserves. When the Red Cross closed down in Parris in 1920, Marjory came back home to Florida and began to write a column that talked about Florida and its geography.
Everglades National Park was a project that Marjory supported in print; by serving on the committee Marjory was able to create the park. The park was officially designated in 1934 by congress, and it took another 13 years to acquire the land and funding to help maintain it. Finally, in 1947 the park was officially opened. Foundations like Friends of Everglades and National Park Foundation have helped Everglades National Park preserve, protect, and restore the natural evolution of the everglades.
The Friends of Everglades Foundation has helped constrain government agencies regulations towards current environmental laws, and also make sure that the politicians understand the long term consequences of their actions, and spread the awareness of the importance that the everglades have to the region. “The Park Service has used over $67 million from the National Park Foundation (NPF) Resource Recovery and Protection Program, and its Everglades Freshwater Wetlands Mitigation Trust Fund, to help restore, research, monitor, and manage 6,600 acres of abandoned farmland inside Everglades National Park. (“National Parks Foundation “, 2012). Everglades National Park is home to a vast variety of plant and animals, not to mention that 67 species are in the federal threatened or endangered list. The park is covered with plant species, to include Marsh species, which are also considered to be floating aquatic plants. Tree Island, Hammock Species, Bromeliads, Ferns, and Orchids are some of the other few plants that have adapted to Everglades National Park’s wet environment. Some of the world’s most unusual and beautiful orchids can be found in the Everglades National Park.
A plant that is an important aspect to the community is the Mangrove; it is known for its vast root system that helps reduce soil erosion, shield the land from wind and waves, and build the soil from their growth and decomposition. Mangroves are so important to the survival of Everglades National Park, that they are now protected by order of the law. All this plant life in the park has helped preserve the animal kingdom in it. Imagine a sky darkened by so many migratory birds that are flying to other regions in order to survive.
In the 1800’s, it was reported that these types of events would happen if the balance of the environment were to be disrupted. Unfortunately the bird population has been greatly reduced due to hunters, poachers, and loss of habitat. Even with all the hunting and loss of habitat, in Everglades National Park alone, there has been 350 species identified. There is an immense variety of animals living in the everglades, from opossums, raccoons, bobcats, white tail deer, and the skunk; but there is no other animal like the Florida Panther to symbolize the wild.
The Florida Panther is the most endangered species in the park. With only about 100 of these endangered panthers remaining, there have been measures taken to great lengths to save them. Radio controlling and introducing other panthers to increase the gene pool have been tried to help preserve the panther species in that area. “Another keystone species of the ecosystem and an indicator of its health is the American alligator. ” (“The Journey To Restore America’s Everglades”, 2011).
The alligator plays an important role in the ecosystem, it makes holes in which the animals live and feed from. Other animals that live around the coastal community and play an important role in the ecosystem are the Indian Manatee and the Bottlenose Dolphin. The amount of species living in the Everglades is huge if not for humans helping to preserve the environment; these species would be dead, or even worse, extinct. Humans have played an important role in the Everglades National Park preservation, from making laws to protect the park to proposing a strategy to save it.
A strategy such as the Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR), under the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), was built to help the water supply flowing through when the land is dry. The ASR works like a water reservoir that helps store and pump water when it is most needed. The CERP’s goal is to increase the amount of water available, ensure adequate water quality, and reconnect the part of the system that has been disconnected by canals and leaves.
Laws or acts such as the Rivers and Harbor Act of 1899, Clean Water Act, Marine Protection Research and Sanctuaries Act, and Endangered Species Act, have all helped to save Everglades National Park and its habitat. “In 1999, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service approved a Multi-Species Recovery Plan for the Threatened and Endangered Species of South Florida. This plan outlines a detailed program to protect the endangered and threatened plants and animals of the South Florida ecosystem that includes the Everglades.
It provides a detailed list of rare, threatened, endangered and special concern species. ” (“The Journey To Restore America’s Everglades”, 2011). Plans like these are significant to Everglades National Park, most importantly because of the awareness that the habitat has been extremely important to maintain it. Everglades National Park has been able to sustain all these years, thanks to the awareness created by individuals. Everglades National Park has become a tourist attraction, open to anyone that is interested in having a great exploration day or just wants to know more about its habitat.
This park has helped raise awareness and help individuals experience the fascinating life it has sustained, first hand. Tourists can ride on jet airboats, swamp buggies, pole boats; there are paddling tours, swamp hikes, canoes, kayaks. You can even rent a cabin and camping gear, and enjoy the restaurants, resorts, fishing, and the most common activity, feeding a crocodile. No matter what reason you come for, their goal is to raise awareness of the incredible habitat out there and what you can do to help preserve it.
There are many ways we as humans can help to save the everglades. Making a difference can be as little as making a contributive donation, as low as $35 dollars a year, to volunteering to help clean the everglades. Most of the survival of Everglades National Park is due to the hard working volunteers. The volunteers lend a helping hand, from cleaning up beaches to collecting biology and hydrology data. They also remove exotic plants that can harm animals, and help visitors around the centers. Most importantly volunteers help with the environmental educational assistance.
Programs like Young Friends of Everglades where created to educate and raise awareness to young children of the constant battle of the habitat. According to “Friends Of The Everglades” (2011), The pioneer Marjory Stoneman Douglas once said “Take the children out to the Glades and let them learn; education will be the only way to save the Glades. Tell them the Everglades isn’t saved yet! ” It could not have been better said than with the words from the founder of Everglades National Park that with education and awareness of the habitat there can be saved.
National Parks Conservation Association. (2012). Retrieved from http://www. npca. org/parks/everglades-national-park. html National Parks Foundation . (2012). Retrieved from http://www. nationalparks. org/our-work/success-stories/everglades-national-park-resource-recovery-and-protection-program The Journey to Restore America’s Everglades. (2011). Retrieved from http://www. evergladesplan. org/facts_info/sywtkma_animals. aspx Friends of the Everglades. (2011). Retrieved from http://www. everglades. org/young-friends/