Featured Image Credit: Mac Stone Photos
By Kira Krall
Most people view Florida as a tropical, sandy paradise. Well, it’s sandy alright, but most of the state was naturally a swamp that culminated in one of the world’s most unique habitats: the Florida Everglades. 50 years of draining these swamps in order to create habitable neighborhoods has cut the size of the Everglades in half.
This major hydrological mod has destroyed thousands of acres of freshwater plants and has driven some species to the brink of extinction. But there is hope. All that the Everglades needs is the restoration of that sweet freshwater flow. And two organizations are determined to make that happen.
SeaWorld and the Everglades Foundation have partnered up to effect change in Florida. They are bringing the Everglades to the classroom in order to inspire a new generation of conservationists. Their teacher workshop that recently took place in the Orlando area trained more than 40 teachers on the Everglades Literacy Program.
Why Orlando? The northernmost reaches of the Everglades stretch up into Orange County, making the effort to protect and restore a state-wide problem. So far, the Program has reached 1,500 students and 60,000 teachers in Florida. These students are getting science-based information on how to bring back Florida’s hidden treasure.
The Literacy Program combines education with research and lobbying for a tri-fold approach to restoration and conservation. Fundraising is also a significant portion of the Everglades Foundation’s goals, as restoration is an expensive process.
Considering that the potential value of the Everglades is over $46 billion, it’s a small price to pay for a healthier habitat.
Go here to read more about the Everglades Foundation and their work.