By following paths less traveled through the river of grass, our photographic journey seeks to publicize the hidden beauty and treasures of the Florida Everglades and thereby raise public consciousness for the need to protect this unique, fragile environment.

Origins of the Everglades

History

“There are no other Everglades in the World.” So begins Marjory Stoneman Douglas’ book “The Everglades River of Grass”, published in 1947.

Mystery

That very name conveys the mystery of its light and depth. The Indians have their name for it – “Pa-hay-okee” meaning “Grassy waters”, and both names equally describe its majesty.

Explorers

The earlier Spanish map makers who never explored the interior named it “El Laguno del Espiritu Santo”. They believed its mysterious blank spaces contained untold wealth but never ventured into the interior.

The Everglades

The Everglades Region encompasses a huge area, from Lake Okeechobee South to the Bay of Florida, and spreading East to the Atlantic coastal fringe, and West to the edge of the Big Cypress swamp.

Nature lover, philanthropist & photography enthusiast.
“These are the things that bend me to their will.”

A Line about Malee

…born on the wings of adventure
carved by the African Savannah
raised in the quiet coastal plains of South America
embraced by Middle Eastern traditions
influenced by European culture
and captivated by the Florida Everglades.

With the change of the new millennium, Malee was introduced to the river of grass. “The Everglades”, ever since Florida became her home!

Everglades Forever

The Everglades Forever project started in the year of 2000, when Malee while in South Africa; was introduced to the river of grass “The Everglades” through an article about the Restoration of the Everglades and Everglades Forever Act (EFA)  ever since plans to meet the Everglades started until, Malee put foot for first time in the Everglades in the year of 2002, ever since Florida became her home!
Malee started traveling through the river of grass, and started a photographic journey enhancing the  hidden beauty and treasures of the Florida Everglades to raising public consciousness for the need to protect this unique, fragile environment.

The River Of Grass

 

“There Are No Other Everglades In The World”

The Everglades Region

So begins her book The Everglades – River of Grass by Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Grand Dame of the Everglades and one of the ardent group of activists who succeeded in having the lower part of South Florida declared a National Park in 1947.

The Everglades Region encompasses a huge area, from Lake Okeechobee South to the Bay of Florida, and spreading East to the Atlantic coastal fringe, and West to the edge of the Big Cypress swamp.

Prior to the mid twentieth century, water from a chain of lakes (just South of present Orlando) made its way into what is now called Lake Okeechobee. All this water was supplied by rain as there is no snow melt or underground sources. From there it seeped through the natural walls of the Lake, East until it met the coastal rocklands of Palm Beach, and West until it met the slightly elevated ground of the Big Cypress, and South in a widening arc until it widened out to both coasts South of Miami and exited at the Bay of Florida.
 

The 11.000 Miles

Although only a few feet deep, and less or more in some places this sluggish movement of water really was a river 50-80 miles wide, dropping only at a rate of one inch per mile except after heavy rain. Then it could rise as much as ten feet deep in places and flow more strongly and faster. Its Eastern banks were formed by the rockland coastal belt running down the Atlantic coast, and separated by rock and sandy ridge from the ocean’s incursion. About 20 miles South West of Lake Okeechobee an upland area called the Devil’s Garden rose only a few feet above the Everglades, with growth of Pines and other trees and palms, while to the South and West of it was the Big Cypress Swamp which stretched to the Gulf and consisted of a mix of dry and wet land – mostly dry then becoming swampy in the rainy season. Only dropping at a rate of one inch a mile it traveled very slowly, but in times of heavy rain it could rise as much as 10 feet deep in places and flow more strongly and faster. It was and still is inaccessible to man except by shallow boat or canoe, as besides being mostly waterlogged it is saw grass over its entire length and width and can cut a person to pieces. Fringing the Southernmost coastline was the largest mangrove concentration in the Western hemisphere. This river of grass originally covered an area of 11,000 miles.

"Big Water"

Lake Okeechobee, or “Big Water” lies at the beginning of the Everglades. Live Oaks grace its rim to the West, while in places, Cypress trees festooned with Spanish Moss parade its Eastern shores. Its glittering waters are so shallow in places that a fisherman can wade to his boat out of sight of shores hidden by its 750 square miles of empty water. It cannot be seen from the roads which circle it and connect with both coasts, but a short climb up the earthen slope of its protective man-built rim will reveal an ever changing panorama of great shallow islands, masses of reeds and perhaps a glimpse of its natural inhabitants. Wild pig darting through the reeds, deer, an alligator sunning itself, or a kite dipping and circling above the green water lettuce strewn shallows. This is where the miles of saw grass begin their widening swathe in a thick, curving river of grass 50, 60, 70 miles wide to the Southern tip of Florida, and a hundred miles to the Gulf of Mexico. It continues on South, pausing to surround tree islands of Cabbage Palmetto, cocoplum, redbay, wax myrtle and swamp holly. Here deer, panther and other creatures make their home. On the Western fringe large tracts of Cypress forest and tangled sun tropical jungle hide orchids and bromeliads found nowhere else in the United States. This is the Everglades Region.

Wildlife & Scenery

1.

Birds

Bald Eagles
Common Egrets
Common Herons
Eastern Brown Pelican
Great White Egrets
Great Blue Heron
White Pelicans
Grebes
Moor hens
Osprey
Red Tailed Hawks
Roseate Spoonbills
Sand-Hill Cranes
Wood Storks
White Ibis
Wild Turkeys

2.

Mammals

Cotton Mouse
Dolphins
Florida Panther
Key Largo Wood Rat
Manatees
Opossums
Raccoons
White-Tailed Deer
Wild Hogs

 

 

3.

Reptiles & Amphibians

American Alligator
American Crocodile
Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake
Eastern Indigo Snake
Florida King snakes
Giant Land Crabs
Gopher Tortoises
Green Tree frogs
Rough Green Snake
Tree Snail

4.

Scenic Vistas

Everglades National Park was the first national park dedicated for its biologic diversity as opposed to its scenic vistas.

The astonishing and somewhat deceptive flatness of south Florida allows for immense landscapes that are easily viewed with only a slight boost in elevation.

Malee Earle - Award Winner


– Award Winner by the Museum of Discovery and Science

 

“Congratulations Malee Earle – selected from thousands” Award Winner by the Museum of Discovery and Science. The Museum’s Everglades Forever Celebration photo contest winners have been selected by nature photographer Clyde Butcher.


– Award Winner by the Museum of Discovery and Science

Everglades Forever is a project to introduce visitors to the greater Everglades from Everglades National Park to Big Cypress Preserve to the headwaters in the Kissimmee Basin in new, meaningful ways that will increase their engagement with this unique eco-system and encourage appreciation and conservation. The Everglades Forever Celebration is made possible by the American Express Charitable Fund.


– Award Winner by the Museum of Discovery and Science

This photo was taken at the Fakahatchee Preserve. Winding through the Florida Everglades is a narrow thread of forested swamp approximately 20 miles long and 3 to 5 miles wide called the Fakahatchee Strand. It is the main drainage slough of the southwestern Big Cypress Swamp. This vast wilderness is a mosaic of royal palm stands, cypress domes, and grassy prairies dotted with wild bromeliads, native ferns, and orchids.

– Fakahatchee Preserve

The park’s wildlife includes a number of threatened and endangered species. The Florida panther, wood stork, Florida black bear, mangrove fox squirrel, and Everglades mink have all been seen within the preserve.


– Park’s wildlife

Recent Articles

Florida is Purchasing 20,000 Acres of Everglade Wetlands

Florida is Purchasing 20,000 Acres of Everglade Wetlands

The state of Florida is purchasing more than 20,000 acres of wetlands in the Everglades in order to protect it from oil drilling. By: Good News Network - Jan 20, 2020 Last week, Governor Ron DeSantis announced that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection...

Florida Everglades the Most Endangered Site In the U.S.

Florida Everglades the Most Endangered Site In the U.S.

The Everglades National Park is the only site in the United States designated as "critical." Globally, the number of assessed sites that have been threatened by human-caused climate change has nearly doubled from 35 to 62 since 2014. Florida's Everglades National Park...

Tears for the Magnificent and Shrinking Everglades

Tears for the Magnificent and Shrinking Everglades

Florida’s freshwater wonder is threatened like never before with a rising sea level as restoration efforts lag. By Nina Burleigh Published Jan. 27, 2020 Updated Jan. 28, 2020 For years, whenever I found myself in Miami with an afternoon to spare, I sneaked off west to...

Join Us For A Lifetime Experience

Journey deep into nature’s mysterious wilderness at Everglades Parks and come face to face with the wildlife that calls this place home.

The Everglades acts as a safe haven for a variety of plant and animal species. No other place combines a subtropical climate, a broad, shallow river, and a stunning diversity of plants and animals into such a complex and fragile ecosystem. Here is a tourist attraction you might want to consider!

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Wildlife Watch

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Bike Rides

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Photography

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Boardwalk

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Trail Walk

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Tram Tours

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Airboats

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Camping

Be An Explorer

Be an explorer, experience a unique connection with nature, and see the wonders of the Everglades!

Give “the gift of nature” with a professionally designed book, with all the amenities of your trip!

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Visit The Wild

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Be Memorable

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Visit National & State Parks

The Everglades - Loxahatchee Slough Natural Area

Young Alligator - Fakahatchee Strand Preserve

The Elusive & Rare Ghost Orchid - There Are 315 Ghost Orchids Scattered Across The Fakahatchee's 85,000 Acres

Great White Egret - Shark Valley

Florida Bear - Picayune Strand State Forest

Sunset - Bear Island Campground, Big Cypress National Preserve

Sunrise - Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge & Alligator Alley - Route 29

Alligator - Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve

Expedition - Swamp Walk Into The Fakahatchee Strand

Bird Migration - Big Cypress National Preserve

Cotton Mouth Snake - Fakahatchee Hike Gate 12

Red Tailed Hawk - Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park: East Main Trail -Gate 12