Falling in Love with Big Cypress

So today was a lot warmer waking up, so i must say, I was in an incredible mood. Breakfast was great and I have to give it up to Elliot, our cook. I have a passion for cooking, but I can’t imagine rustling up some of the grub that Elliot does at our campsite. He’s been fantastic.

After breakfast we headed out to our designated worksite. Today we were deep in the swamp doing forest fire mitigation in order to protect the endangered Red Cockaded Woodpecker. To preserve the swamp, prescribed fires are a must! In order to protect the RCW, fire crews must maintain debris-free zones around the pine trees they nest in. The low-lying foliage around the trunks of trees is known as ladder fuel, because it will allow fire to climb high up the tree and damage it, along with the nests it contains.

Of all the days I’ve spent here so far, today has definitely been my favorite. I can honestly say that I’ve fallen in love with Big Cypress. I wish I could explain the feeling I got while I was out there but words can’t adequately describe my emotions. Never have I felt so free and at one with mother nature. Just being out in this beautiful land is inspiration enough to pursue a lifetime of conservation.

The Big Cypress Fire Crew is a group of outstanding gentlemen who really know their way around the swamp. We would have been lost without them. I truly respect the people who make an effort every single day to make this preserve what it is and more.

After work we had our first free time since we’ve been here, so I took advantage and took a look around Collier Seminole State Park. The paths here are beautiful. There is an amazing boardwalk that runs right through the swamp. I highly recommend this area as a prime vacation spot.