CORAL REEFS / freshwater wetlands / Coastal Estuaries
OVERVIEW: Journey with Sprout to south Florida for an IMMERSIVE experience with scientists and wildlife experts. Explore the aquatic biomes of the Everglades: hiking, slogging, kayaking and more! Experience SCUBA diving in the Florida 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.
TOPICS: Marine Biology, coral reefs, herpetology, wetland ecosystems, SCUBA.
PROGRAM DATES: TBD
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 : Travel day
Location: CLE / Fort Lauderdale / Homestead
Fly CLE to Fort Lauderdale, pick up our vehicle, and drive down to the Redland area in south Florida. On the way, we will have dinner at a cool roadside 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 : Dive instruction / SCUBA dive
Wake up and get ready for a busy day. First we grab a delicious Vintage BnB breakfast cooler for the road, and then head to the Florida Keys. For the rest of the morning, we will work in the pool for custom introduction dive lessons to prepare us for SCUBA diving that 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 : Coral reef snorkel
Location : Pennekamp State Park
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is a Florida State Park located on Key Largo in Florida. It includes approximately 70 nautical square miles of adjacent Atlantic Ocean waters. It was the first underwater park in the United States. The park was added to the National Register of Historic Places on April 14, 1972.
We will have a private boat charter to snorkel all over the reefs before returning to Redland and the Vintage BnB 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 : Saltwater slog / Saltwater kayak
Location : Everglades National Park
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 : Swamp slog / Freshwater kayak
Location : Everglades National Park
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 : Travel day
Location: Homestead / 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! Our host is a trained chef with a passion for food, plus we will visit local cafes and eateries. Here are some snapshots of the food 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]