Sunday, December 28, 2014

FTV A Stop in Fort Lauderdale before heading home.

Click Here to see Live Webcams of South Florida

As the Kennedy heads back to Taylors Point it will make one last port stop in Fort Lauderdale. With 165 miles of canals (which are navigable inland waterways), Fort Lauderdale has earned the reputation of being the "Venice of America."  These canals are a part of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway which is comprised of a system of canals, land cuts, and a series of natural and artificial barrier islands, which provide a protected passage for small vessels wishing to avoid the tumultuous currents of the Atlantic Ocean.

This area known worldwide as the land of sunshine, orange groves, Disney World, and the Kennedy Space Center, was first sighted and explored by Juan Ponce de León in 1513, while on his famous quest for the mythical Fountain of Youth.  He claimed the land for Spain and named it La Florida, meaning "Land of Flowers."  

A unique combination of geological history, climate, geography, and environmental forces comprised the South Florida Ecosystem. The South Florida Ecosystem supports the only subtropical ecological communities in the continental United States.  This unique ecosystem is a combination of Caribbean, and temperate forest supports a large ecological community with huge genetic biodiversity.

The Lower East Coast region of South Florida is very urban, yet many species of native fauna and flora continue to exist. Ecosystems found in this region include beach dune, coastal, maritime, tropical hardwood forests, mangrove swamps, coastal salt marsh, freshwater marsh, and wet prairie. The Florida Everglades is unique in the world, because it is both temperate and tropical habitat.

The Everglades region consists of dense, wetlands, extending over an area approximately 64 km (40 mi) wide by 160 km (99 mi) long. Geologically, the Everglades system was formed 5,000 years ago as rising sea levels allowed the accumulation of thick peat. During the dry season and during periods of below-average precipitation, the Everglades survive on nutrients from rainfall, not rivers and streams. This unique climate of the Everglades sets it apart from other large subtropical wetlands.

Learn more about the Everglades with this web activity.

In this video segment from WILD TV, learn about the Florida Everglades, a giant wetland that is the habitat of many different species of animals. One of the animals featured in the video is the pig frog, named for the sound they make which is similar to a pig’s grunt. They contribute substantially to the ecosystem of the Everglades. Their permeable skin helps reflect toxins in the ecosystem. Scientists are studying pig frogs because they believe the frogs act as indicators of the health of the Everglades. They are an important part of the food chain that affects animals both far and near.

Many threats face the South Florida natural environment. In particular humans have had a greater impact on the land than any other species. The greatest hope for the future of this rich environment is in children because they are the future resource users and decision-makers, needed to protect these unique exotic plants and animals.  Here is a curriculum to help you learn more.

Come along on a virtual field trip with Ranger Jenny and learn more about invasive species in South Florida

Click here to go on a virtual swamp safari through the Florida Everglades

Try this Activity

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