Everglades Artist in Residence Program

everglades artistBesides alligators and birds, there is art in the park! The Artist in Residence in Everglades (AIRIE) offers artists, writers, and composers the opportunity to live and work in the Park for a period of up to one month.

The works completed in this program will contribute to the public understanding and appreciation of Everglades National Park. This program is meant for serious professionals who want to work alone in the wilderness. It’s a good program for those who care about and want to contribute to the environment. The park takes in 12 residents each year.

Artists are provided a furnished apartment during the residency (about four weeks). It is in the Royal Palm area, near the Ernest Coe Visitor Center. Residents need to bring personal belongings, foods, and supplies. Artwork includes painting, video arts, sculpture, photography, mixed media, poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. Student work is not eligible.

Each artist is asked to donate one piece of art that reflects their residency for the park’s collection. Also, each artist must volunteer a few hours during their residency to interact with park visitors and staff. This volunteer work can include “art walks,” slide lectures, exhibitions, and workshops.

The resident is chosen by a panel of experts and professional artists, curators, and educators, along with park personnel.

In the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center in the Everglades, you can have the chance to see AIRIE NEST, which is an interdisciplinary art gallery put on display by AIRIE, Inc (Artists in Residence in Everglades).

This exhibit features visual art, performing art, art-science driven collaboration, artwork from the AIRIE permanent collection, as well as educational workshops. The mission of this exhibit is to “educate, enhance and enrich the visitor’s understanding and experience of Everglades National Park through quality Everglades’ specific exhibits; foster a unique opportunity for the future generations of Park stewards to learn about the Everglades.”
AIRIE Nest Gallery is located at Everglades National Park’s Coe Visitor Center, 40001 State Hwy 9336, Homestead, FL. The gallery is open daily from 8 am to 5 pm, free of charge.

To see what artwork is up for display, visit the AIRIE website.

Before or after visiting this wonderful exhibit, or while you’re an artist in residence, explore the Everglades by airboat on a ride with Captain Mitch. Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours give you a glimpse of the Everglades like no other. To book an airboat ride, call  800-368-0065  or visit our Private Everglades Airboat Tours page. We are open seven days a week 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. If paying by cash, adults cost $40 (plus tax) and children 12 and under cost $20 (plus tax. If paying by credit card, adults cost $45 (plus tax) and children cost $25 (plus tax).

 

2018 Showed Everglades Restoration Helped Wading Birds

roseate spoonbillResearchers, scientists, government officials, park staff, and civilians have been trying to restore the Everglades in many different ways. One way is by helping out native species. We want native species to thrive in the Everglades, not disappear.

 

Many scientists have been trying to restore native bird populations. And in the last few months, state environmental officials announced that in 2018 there was in increase in wading bird nests that haven’t been seen since the 1940s.

 

According to South Florida Water Management District’s 2019 wading bird report, prepared along with Audubon Florida, the Everglades saw about 138,834 nests of white ibises, wood storks, roseate spoonbills, and other long-legged bird species in 2018. The highest number before that was 51,270 nests in 2009. There was even a “supercolony” in western Broward County where 59,120 nests were found, which has not been seen since the 1930s.

 

As you can tell by the numbers, this is great news and a promising outlook for native bird species in the Everglades.

 

How did this number increase so much? Well, one reason is the increase in fish populations due to the year’s rainfall patterns. The Broward supercolony birds likely increased due to the restoration of more water being moved around a teardrop-shaped island. The deep water kept away predators like racoons, so it was easier to nest.

 

2019 likely won’t see as big of a number as 2018, due to weather, but 2018’s season shows that further restoration on waterflow improvement will likely be successful for wading birds.  A bird biologist from the water management district believes if they get the water right at the right time, species can be recovered quickly.

 

Birds are a sight to see in the Everglades, and you can catch a glimpse of them in their habitat on an airboat tour.

 

Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours is a trip where you can see wildlife and a side of the Everglades like nowhere else.

To book a trip for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, call 800-368-0065  or visit our Everglades Airboat Tours page. We are open seven days a week 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. If paying by cash, adults cost $40 (plus tax) and children 12 and under cost $20 (plus tax. If paying by credit card, adults cost $45 (plus tax) and children cost $25 (plus tax).

 

Safety Tips for a Trip to the Everglades

safety tipsThe Everglades is a great place to take the whole family. There’s a lot of wonderful things to see and areas to explore, along with activities like airboat tours, biking, canoeing, shuttles, walking tour, and much more. Being an outdoor Park filled with wildlife, visitors must take precaution as anything can happen in terms of weather, flooding, restrictions, bugginess, etc.

When visiting the Park, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with some of the park’s safety rules, so you can get the most out of your visit. Safety is critical no matter what you choose to do in the park.

We’ve listed some of the Everglades National Park’s safety precautions, tips, and rules below. These safety rules are in play no matter the time of year you plan to visit the area.

  1. Pay attention to the weather. It can get very hot and humid in the Everglades during the summer. Dress appropriately, wear sunscreen, bring water, and bug spray.
  2. Children must be supervised. There are animals roaming freely all in the grasses and vegetation alongside the trails. For your child’s safety and yours, make sure everyone sticks to the trails.
  3. Pets are not allowed on the trails.
  4. Feeding wildlife is not allowed and is illegal. Animals can become aggressive if they’re being fed by humans in their wild habitat.
  5. Be aware of vultures. Vultures are federally protected. They have been known to damage the windshields, sunroofs, and windshield wipers of cars and other vehicles. The Park suggests you avoid parking near groups of vultures, park in full sun, put a car cover over the car, use loud noises to spook the vultures off the car or vehicle, and notify a park ranger if one is on your car and won’t leave.
  6. Leave the wildlife alone. If you harm, touch, or bother the animals or birds, you can get in trouble; it is illegal to interfere with the animals in any way.
  7. Do not leave a fire unattended.
  8. Do not tie or attach anything to trees.
  9. Do not leave garbage out or behind – this can attract wildlife.
  10. The Park suggests applying insect repellant before walking on any of the trails; the park also sells repellant at all stores in the Park. It’s best to stick to walking on paved areas if you want to stay away from bugs as much as possible.

Keep these 10 tips and safety rules in mind while visiting the Everglades. The trip will be much more enjoyable if you prepare for the trip properly, and don’t bother the animals of environment in any way.

Riding on an airboat is a safe and fun way to explore the Everglades. Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours has been navigating through the wetland for decades.

To book a trip for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, call 800-368-0065  or visit our Everglades Airboat Tours page. We are open seven days a week 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. If paying by cash, adults cost $40 (plus tax) and children 12 and under cost $20 (plus tax. If paying by credit card, adults cost $45 (plus tax) and children cost $25 (plus tax).

 

 

Parts of an Airboat

airboat tourAn airboat is an iconic site in the Everglades – being on one is an experience you’ll never forget. Airboats can glide along in shallow, marshy waters due to their flat-bottom design and their above-water propeller; they are also known as fan boats.

Years ago, airboats were the primary mode of transportation in the Everglades, but now they are used for recreational purposes.

In 1942, Barrel Head House built one of the first commercial airboats. After that, Everglades visitors enjoyed viewing the Park on these boats where they could see alligators, plants, birds, and other wildlife. Airboats are still one of the most popular tourist attractions in south Florida and the Everglades.

Below, we have detailed some parts that make up an airboat.

  • Engine: Airboats have an aircraft or automotive V8 engine ranging from 500 to 600+ horsepower.
  • Propeller: Airboats have an aircraft propeller operates out-of-water to power the airboat.
  • Propeller cage: This sits inside a metal cage, which protects the boat and its inhabitants from injury from the propeller’s blades.
  • Rudder panels: Steering an airboat relies heavily on rudder panels, which help direct air.
  • Rudder stick: The rudder stick is located on the airboat driver’s left side; the rudder stick directs the boat through the swamp.
  • Accelerator: The airboat captain uses the accelerator to pick up speed during airboat rides.

Explore the Everglades on a Private Airboat Tour

Captain Mitch’s Private Everglades airboat tours is based in Everglades City and is one of the oldest airboat tours in the Everglades. Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours has been running safe, fun and family-friendly excursions throughout Everglades’ wilderness for decades.

To schedule an airboat trip when you’re visiting the Everglades, call Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours at 239-695-3377 or visit the Everglades Airboat Tours  page.

Everglades Trails You Should Check Out

trailsThe Everglades is a magical place to explore, but being that it’s the outdoors, it’s a good idea to stick to paths and trails. The Everglades National Park allows visitors to explore the area with many hiking and bike trails winding throughout the wetlands. People can also canoe, boat, and kayak through the Everglades’ waterways.

If you choose to go on a trail, the Park recommends that visitors bring water with them and to pay attention to the weather forecast. If you hear thunder, the Park suggests going into a building or vehicle. Being a warm climate, insects are plentiful, so you should wear appropriate clothing and apply bug spray. Pets are not allowed on any of the Park’s trails.

Below, we’ve shared few trails within the Park that allows people to explore.

The following trails are currently not being maintained because there are endangered species nearby.

Coastal Prairie Trail – This trail is 11.2 miles long. It isn’t recommended due to its high exposure of mosquitos and sun and mud. Being 11.2 miles, it can be a tiring walk.  This trail is a critical habitat for the Cape Sable thoroughwort.

Snake Bight – Snake Bite is a 7.6-mile loop trail. It is moderately-difficult and leads from the forest to the shoreline of the Florida Bay. You may see crocodiles, flamingos (in December), mosquitos, pythons and anacondas on this trail. This trail is good for biking and walking, but it does get buggy. This trail is considered a critical habitat for the Cable Sable thoroughwort.

Christian Point Trail – This is a 4.2-mile harder trail that leads you deep into a mangrove forest along the Florida Bay. Beyond the forest, the trail will lead you to a small prairie that opens up later into a large mark prairie. It can also be buggy. This trail is a critical habitat for Cape Sable thoroughwort. c

Other Non-Maintained Trails to Checkout:
Rowdy Bend
Bear Lake
LPK Bike Trail

These trails are maintained:

Anhinga Trail – This trail is easy and is .8 of a mile long. It’s close to the Park entrance, which is why most visitors travel on this trail. You can easily spot wildlife along this trail, including alligators and birds. There are several observation decks throughout the trail.

Bayshore Loop – Bayshore Loop is an easy to moderate level trail that is 1.3 miles long. This trail is very buggy. This loop will bring you along the edge of the Florida Bay through the coastal prairie habitat. It passes through the original fishing village of Flamingo. Bayshore Loop is a great bird-watching trail.

Pa-Hay-Okee Boardwalk – The Pa-Hay-Okee Boardwalk is an easy .2 loop that leads visitors through the “River of Grass” (Pa-Hay-Okee) within the Park for a close look at the area. It leads people to an observation tower.

Other Maintained Trails in the Everglades:
Bear Lake Trail
Bobcat Boardwalk
Gumbo Limbo Trail
Guy Bradley Trail
Mahogany Hammock Trail
Old Ingraham Highway
Otter Cave Hammock Trail
Pinelands Ecotone
West Lake Mangrove Trail

Explore the Everglades by Airboat

From alligators to flowers, there’s a lot to observe and explore on these trails – you get an up-close-and-personal experience in a beautiful area. If you’re tired of walking or you want a different view of the Everglades, hop on an airboat tour.

To schedule an airboat trip when you’re visiting the Everglades, call Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours at 239-695-3377 or visit the Everglades Airboat Tours . Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours has been giving fun, informative, and safe tours in the Everglades for decades.

 

The Newest Problem with Burmese Pythons in the Everglades

burmese pythonsBy now, you likely know that the Burmese Python is an invasive species to the Everglades, causing a lot of destruction. You’ve probably seen several articles of python hunters catching huge pythons and removing them from the Everglades, so they won’t breed or kill any more native wildlife. By reducing the number of pythons in the Everglades, hunters are helping bring a balance back to the ecosystem to the Everglades.

Now, researchers are finding that the Burmese pythons are threatening wading bird nests in the Everglades. It was always known that pythons eat wading birds, but now this is the first time that researchers have documented pythons eating nestlings. Researches from the University of Florida found that there is more python activity on islands with wading bird colonies than those without bird. In a study, the researchers caught snakes eating eggs and young birds on camera five times more than racoons, rat snakes, and other predators.

Unfortunately, it has been estimated pythons have already eaten/killed more than 90 percent of mid-sized mammals in the Everglades. Pythons can eat more than their own body weight and grow up to seven feet long in their first year of life. Researchers are worried bird species will be wiped out in the Everglades, especially since they aren’t prepared to deal with this invasive predator.

The answer to restoring the wildlife balance in the Everglades lies in the reduction/eradication of the pythons. To get a permit to hunt for pythons, click Everglades python permit page.

The pythons lower animal populations by eating them, but they also harm the population who eats them! These snakes’ bodies hold high levels of mercury, which can poison any animal or reptile that eats them. The pythons’ presence is changing the entire ecosystem of the Everglades

If python hunting isn’t your thing, visit the Everglades in a much more relaxing way… on an airboat tour! An airboat tour will give you a glimpse of the Everglades’ native, wonderful wildlife that is still around, despite pythons. To book a tour, click the Captain Mitch’s Everglades Airboat Tours page or call 239-695-3377.

 

Thousands of Spiders Live in the Everglades

spidersWhat is creepy and crawly, has 8 legs and scares a lot of people? Spiders! For the most part, people either love or hate spiders. Spider love the Everglades. In fact, there are 20,000 spiders per acre of land in the Everglades… and the Everglades is 1.5 million acres of wetlands, so that’s A LOT of spiders. The spiders enjoy the warm climate. Some are easy to spot while other spiders are barely visible to the naked eye.

Just like other species, there are native and invasive species of spiders in the Everglades. The invasive species have made their way to the Eveglades and Florida by airplane, ships, and other animals.

Some of these spiders make webs while others live in the leaves and brush on the ground. Even if you hate spiders, you have to respect the fact that are essential to a healthy Everglades’ ecosytem. They eat a lot of insects and they get eatn by other prey.

Here are three types of spiders living in the Everglades:

Banana Spider – This spider is an orb-weaving spider. They consume mosquitoes, bees, butterflies, flies, small moths, and wasps. This spider is also known as a gold silk spider, because of the color of the silk of their webs. It loves high humidity. The female banana spider is one of the largest orb weavers in America coming in around three inches long in size. The female banana spider ha yellow, white, orange and brown on its body, while the males are dark brown in color. The female can spin a three-foot-wide web. The banana spider is not an aggressive spider, and its bite is harmless to humans.

Red Widow Spider – The red widow spider has a reddish color on its head and legs; its abdomen (body) is black. The red widow is a venomous spider. According to the University of Missouri, no bites have ever been recorded from this spider, so little is known about its venom. The female red widow spiders are a ½ inch in size and male red widow spiders are about 1/3 of the size of the female. This spider can be found in the pine scrub habitat along the sandy ridges in central and southeastern Florida. It web is built on palmetto leaves. The primary prey of this spider is the scarab beetle.

Brown Recluse Spider – The brown recluse spider is one of the most poisonous spiders in the Everglades. This spider is common in tropical climates, and they are not native to Florida. This spider is the size of a quarter. They make webs, but they also will wander to look for their food, such as cockroaches and other insects. A brown recluse spider will not bite a human unless it’s trapped up against the person’s skin (if you roll onto a spider or if it’s in your clothing). This spider’s venom can cause necrosis, loss of limb, and death.

Viewing Spiders in the Everglades

If you want to view some spiders in the Everglades, you’ll have to look closely as you walk along the trails. Despite being terrifying to many people, these eight-legged creatures help balance the ecosystem.
Want to have some fun in the Everglades while learning about the area? Jump on an airboat to try and catch a glimpse of one of these arachnids as you sail on by. To book an airboat tour, visit the Everglades Airboat Tours  or call 239-695-3377. Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours has been giving fun, informative, safe tours in the Everglades for decades.

Go Canoeing and Kayaking in the Everglades

explore in evergladesDo you like being active? Do you like canoeing and kayaking? Or, you want to try? The Everglades is a perfect place to venture out! You can paddle on through freshwater marsh, mangrove forests, and Florida Bay.

All canoeing and kayaking trails in the Everglades are different lengths – some can take a few hours to complete, while others can take several days.

You can bring your own canoe or kayak and you can set sail from many locations in the park. Canoe and Kayak rentals ae available at Flamingo Marina. Click here for more info on rentals. If you don’t want to go alone, you can go with a guide, who will lead your trip. You can find info about the permitted guides here.

If you want a multi-day canoe/kayak backcountry trip in Florida Bay and the 10,000 Islands, visit here. Otherwise, here is where you can go for a day canoe or kayak trip:

  • Flamingo’s Canoe TrailsThese trails are located 38 miles south of the main park entrance in Homestead. There are beginner, mid-level, and advanced trails. They  can be accessed from launch areas in the Flamingo Marina or along the main park road as you get to Flamingo.
  • Nine Mile Pond: This location easily accessible off the main park road just before you enter the Flamingo area.
  • Hell’s Bay – This is a good trail if you want to paddle through mangroves. It can be buggy and challenging, but it very popular. You can find it off the main park road south of the Homestead Entrance.
  • Gulf Coast Paddling Guide – This is on the west coast accessible through Everglades City.

Take a Ride through the Everglades on An Airboat

If paddling isn’t your thing, see the Everglades on the water by airboat. You get to be on the water without tiring out your arms!  An airboat tour is fun. You will see animals, birds, and plants on this tour you may not get to see by foot.

To book a private Everglades airboat tour, call Captain Mitch’s Private Airboat Tours at 800-368-0065 or click our Private Everglades Airboat Tours page. We are open seven days a week 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. If paying by cash, adults cost $40 (plus tax) and children 12 and under cost $20 (plus tax. If paying by credit card, adults cost $45 (plus tax) and children cost $25 (plus tax).

 

How to Support the Everglades

support the evergladesThe Everglades is a National Park. It is home to thousands of plants, flowers, birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, insects, and more. The area provides drinking water for much of south Florida. There are species that live in the Everglades that live nowhere else in the world. It’s beautiful and there’s a lot to learn in this expansive Park. However, as years have gone by, the Everglades has shrunk in size. The area has become threatened due to human development and invasive species.

As you’ve probably heard or read about right now, the Everglades is undergoing a restoration process that will take millions of dollars and many years. The point of this restoration is to restore the Everglades back to its original state (change back the flow of water) so the Everglades can begin to flourish again, and better survive alongside humans, invasive species, and climate change.

Government and state officials are those who will and can dictate funding for the Everglades, but what can you do as a citizen of the United States to support this precious park?

  • You can become a volunteer at the park. Whether it’s a one-time outing or a long commitment. From picking up trash to leading a group, there are many different volunteering opportunities at the park.
  • You can donate. The Park can accept donations by check or through its friends group the South Florida National Parks Trust (by check or credit card). Donations help park programs (education programs, ranger guided programs, public safety programs, etc.) continue to run. Donations can be made directly to the Park by check or money order, payable to National Park Serviceand mailed to :Superintendent Everglades National Park, 40001 State Road 9336,Homestead, FL 33034-6733
  • You can donate to the South Florida National Parks Trust, which supports the Everglades. Donations help support education resource protection, visitor services, volunteer activities and community engagement.
  • You can join the park’s friends group, the South Florida National Parks Trust. As a member, you will eceive gifts, discounts to bookstores in the four national parks the Trust helps, monthly park updates, and invites to special events.
  • You can put a traveling exhibit/display at a facility in your local community like a school or library. It will help spread the word about the Park.

Support from the public is what helps national parks thrive and survive. The national park system is the only federal agency to rely heavily on visitors, donors. and volunteers

To learn more about supporting the Everglades, visit here.

Explore the Everglades on An Airboat

Whether you’re visiting or volunteering, the Everglades is spectacular to explore.  An airboat tour is a fun way to explore the Everglades.

To book an airboat tour, call Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours at 800-368-0065 or click our Private Everglades Airboat Tours page. We are open seven days a week 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. If paying by cash, adults cost $40 (plus tax) and children 12 and under cost $20 (plus tax. If paying by credit card, adults cost $45 (plus tax) and children cost $25 (plus tax).

 

Is an Airboat Tour Safe?

airboat tourAn airboat tour is a safe ride. Just like going on a boat, car, bus, plane, motorcycle, and any other moving vehicle or vessel, there are risks, but if you and the captain follow safety rules and the boat is kept up, you will be in for a safe, memorable ride.

At Captain Mitch’s Airboat tours, we perform regular maintenance on our airboats to ensure they are safe for rides. Our captains have years of experience and are knowledge with airboats, boating and the waterways of the Everglades. They know how to direct the boat through different areas and waters safely. We also will not set out on the water if the weather is too dangerous. We do no want to get caught in a thunder and lightening storm on the water.

Our captains will bring you by all sorts of wildlife and plant life. You may spot alligators, fish, snakes, frogs, birds, and other animals. You will always be kept at a safe distance – you don’t need to worry about any wildlife feeling threatened.

Our captains will discuss safety precautions before heading out into the water. You should keep your hands down. Dress appropriately for the weather (can get windy/chillier on the boat). You should wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and/or a hat for sun protection.

Our boats have a First Aid kit on board and lifejackets.

If everyone plays by the rules, an airboat tour will be the ride of your life!

Discover the Everglades on An Airboat

An airboat tour is a fun-filled way to explore the Everglades. It’s an experience you’ll never forget, and you will see a side of the Everglades you can’t in any other way.

To book an airboat tour, call Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours at 800-368-0065 or click our Private Everglades Airboat Tours page. We are open seven days a week 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. If paying by cash, adults cost $40 (plus tax) and children 12 and under cost $20 (plus tax. If paying by credit card, adults cost $45 (plus tax) and children cost $25 (plus tax).