FLORIDA [TEAM Adventure]
CORAL REEFS / freshwater wetlands / Coastal Estuaries
OVERVIEW: Journey with Sprout to south Florida for an IMMERSIVE experience with scientists and wildlife experts. First, we fly to Fort Lauderdale, pick up our vehicle, and drive down to Redland, Florida. We will experience great Florida diving with the best dive crew at Islamorada Dive Center in the Keys. You do NOT have to be certified to SCUBA dive to participate in this program! You will receive instruction from a special series of classes and dives. Next we travel to the Everglades for two days exploring the aquatic biomes, hiking, slogging, kayaking and more!
TOPICS: Marine Biology, coral reefs, herpetology, wetland ecosystems, SCUBA.
PROGRAM DATES: July 9-14, 2019 (NEW DATES!)
LENGTH: 6 Days
LOCATIONS: Islamorada, Florida Keys, Redland, Everglades
ELIGIBILITY: Those who will complete 8th grade by trip departure
TUITION INCLUDES: Roundtrip airfare from CLE, transfers, taxes and fees, accommodations, meals, transportation, park fees, conservation program fees, tips, guides, vehicles, and all trip activities.
ADDITIONAL COSTS: Trip insurance (about $100), souvenirs & personal items.
DEPOSIT: $500 (non-refundable if accepted to the program)
Day 01 : CLE / Fort Lauderdale / Redland
Depart CLE for Fort Lauderdale, pick up our vehicle, and drive down to the Redland area in south Florida. On the way, we will have lunch at a cool Cuban pizza place.
Our accommodations in Redland are unique: remodeled classic Airstream* trailers! We will be staying on an amazing sustainable farm with guest rooms, airstream trailers, and a beautiful pool. Best of all, our host is a professional chef, and he will be providing our meals!
1: noun, brand of travel trailers recognized their rounded and polished aluminum exterior.
Day 02 : Islamorada / Dive intro / SCUBA
Wake up and get ready for a busy day. First we will enjoy a delicious Redlands breakfast, and then head to the Florida Keys. For the rest of the morning, we will work in the pool for custom introduction dive lessons that will prepare us for the real thing in the afternoon.
After lunch, we get on the boat and head out on the ocean, where we will experience SCUBA* diving! The world looks different under the ocean, and we will get to be part of the marine ecosystem, swimming among brightly colored fish and delicate coral reefs.
1 : noun, self contained underwater breathing apparatus
2 : verb, to dive under water using SCUBA
Day 03 : Islamorada / SCUBA / Redland
Back to Islamorada in the morning, where we SCUBA dive from the boat. We will explore a different area than the dives the day before. After diving, we will get changed and head north, stopping at Pennekamp National Park before returning to Redland for dinner.
Did you know that Redland was named for pockets of red clay once common in the area, on top of a massive layer of oolite* rock?
1: noun, a sedimentary rock formed from ooids, spherical grains of concentric layers. From the Ancient Greek word ᾠόν for egg.
Day 04 : Redland / Everglades / Mangrove slog / Saltwater kayak
With our fantastic guide Garl, we will explore a variety of Everglades ecosystems. First, we will SLOG* through mangrove estuaries where the ocean meets the freshwater river of grass. These places are nurseries for all kinds of marine creatures, from fiddler crabs to American crocodiles and lemon sharks.
After we slog, enjoy lunch and then kayak in the sea around the edge of the Everglades, where we can spot reptiles, birds, and even sharks. Dinner back at Vintage BnB.
1 : verb, to walk perseveringly against difficulty
Day 05 : Redland / Everglades / Swamp slog / Freshwater kayak
On our second day with Garl, we will focus on freshwater. In the morning, another slog. This time, through the classic swamp ecosystem that embodies the Everglades. It is truly an amazing experience to walk among the towering trees, through crystal clear, cool water. We will see rare and endangered flowers, swamp birds, and alligators.
In the afternoon we get out our kayaks again and explore a long series of connected ponds and creeks. The scenery is gorgeous, and Garl even knows where we can find a local American crocodile they call Croc-zilla*.
*CROC-ZILLA \krak-zil’-ah\ [colloquial]
1 : noun, an American crocodile you may very well see on this trip. He is quite large.
Day 06 : Redland / Fort Lauderdale / CLE
One last delicious breakfast with our friends at Vintage BnB and we begin our journey home.
We will eat quite well on this adventure, visiting cafes and local eateries. Sprout has made some great connections, so when we visit a place, we are visiting friends. While staying at our south Florida location, our hosts include a trained chef, and the food will look as good as it tastes!
Here are some snapshots of the actual food at the places we will be eating. So good.
“The Islamorada Dive Center (IDC) is a full service PADI scuba diving resort in the Florida Keys, offering daily guided scuba diving trips, scuba instruction, and private dive charters. You can find us at Postcard Inn Beach Resort and Marina at Holiday Isle (mile marker 84 along the Overseas Highway).”
“Our guides know the Everglades backcountry as if it were their own backyard. Let our experienced team of guides and naturalists show you the beauty of Florida's largest wilderness. Our guides will show you the various ecosystems that make the Everglades one of the most prolific wildlife viewing destinations in the world. From slogging to kayaking, we offer a complete package.”
“A truly unique experience: our Vintage Row is 7 Vintage aircraft inspired trailers that range in date from 1951 to 1977. Each Airstream has its own private outdoor bathroom, including a second toilet, sink and shower. Breakfast is served family style, and our owner/chef an prepare meals as needed.”
SPECIES OBSERVED TO DATE
American Alligator Alligator mississippiensis
American Crocodile Crocodylus acutus
Great Blue Heron
Green sea turtle Chelonia mydas
Lemon Shark Negaprion brevirostris
Manatee Trichechus manatus
Roseate Spoonbill Platalea ajaja
[List in progress]