We took around 800 folks into the swamp this year, with around 1500 showing up to the event...a very busy weekend...but lots of fun! The swamp walks cost $20 a person. After expenses (police to keep traffic safe, feeding the volunteers, music, etc), the remainder goes to benefit Friends of Big Cypress, Friends of Fakahatchee, and Florida Trail.
Every year we hold our breath hoping a hurricane won't interrupt the weekend. Since we started these walks in 1994, we've only had one hurricane cancel the weekend. This year we held our breath and successfully squeezed the event between two hurricanes by-passing Florida...Hanna and Ike. The clouds from Hurricane Hanna kept everyone cool and comfortable. We did have a little rain, but mostly it was perfect weather for a swamp walk.
Below you will find photographs Jackie and I took during the Muck-About...enjoy...
Sandra, Miladie and Rick working to get the gallery ready
Rich and Ron organizing the swamp walks
Mike Owen from Fakahatchee Strand State Park
introducing the swamp walk to the muckers
Mike Owen talking about the ecosystem
Discussing the benefits of periphyton, an ugly glob of gook, to a fellow swamp walker. Perifphyton not only cleans the water, it also retains water like a sponge so that during the dry season different small species can survive in it.
Mike Owen of Fakahatchee State Park making his way through
Charles of Dragonfly Expeditions rescuing five soles in the swamp...
Yep...shoes not only fall apart out there in the swamp, but many people don't want to take their shoes home with them, so they leave them with us. We are always amazed at the quality of shoes that folks leave behind, so at the end of the swamp walk we go through the shoes that are left behind and clean the good ones, then donate them to Shoes for Souls.
Rosie cleaning shoes
Of course there are those folks who just LOVE mud!
In the meantime, while all the swamp walks are going on, Clyde was in the gallery signing books and meeting so many wonderful people.
Clydes discussions with folks on photography and the environment made for fun conversations!
Cindy Hackney and Valerie Wisecracker joined us again with their great folk singing.
...and of course the wonderful food provided by Camille Street Grill from Everglades City...
Political cartoonist, Rob Smith, joined us having fun drawing images of the folks who came to the event. He too donated his earnings to Friends of Big Cypress, Friends of Fakahatchee and Florida Trail.
Rick Cruz made the photographic record of Old Ed joining us with his discussion of
Old Ed making his way down the road to the campfire
Old Ed stops in his tracks when he sees beautiful women...
and of course, he's very partial to young folk.
however, like all men, a beautiful woman is hard to pass by...here Old Ed shares a stuffed alligator with Julie.
Old Ed finally making his was to the group
Old Ed begins by remembering how, back in the old days, there were so many birds in south Florida that their great numbers would block out the sun as they flew overhead.
He spoke about how millions of birds were killed in order to make feather hats. Here he puts a feather hat on Mike Owen's head.
Mike Owen is just so THRILLED at having the hat on his head...!
Niki sharing the feather hat with the kids
Then Old Ed told the story of how the alligators were almost became a vanished species because their beautiful hides were used for so many things. As an example he passed around an alligator purse.
Old Ed sharing with us the skull of a manatee and telling us the story of their lives, as well as cautioning us boaters to go slowly because more manatees are killed or damaged by boats than anything else.
Old Ed with Clyde
It was an educational, funny and inspiring evening thanks to the extraordinary talent of Lisa Andrews!