My First Week in the Everglades – Robert Weber

In one word, I spent my first week in the park, enamored.

It’s not every day that you get reminded on the drive into work why you love working there. The way the morning sun hits the sawgrass just right, how the birds fly into the horizon, how the gators sit and soak in the new sun – part of me thinks they enjoy it just as much as me. 

It also helps that the work I do is incredibly outdoorsy and entertaining. First two days, we spent adjusting ourselves and exploring the millions of acres of the park. In this, it included birdwatching and hiking – my two favorite things. From Florida Bay to Long Pine Key, I saw manatees, florida gar, bald eagles, and everything in between.

When I’m in the office, I spend my time working away at educational programs to interpret later this summer! Currently, I’m using my experiences in the Florida bay to work on a full-blown program and my expertise in ecological concepts (like population dynamics and predator/prey relations) and birds to work on library and summer camp activities! 

Towards the end of my first week, I went on a wet walk in a cypress dome dubbed “Double Dome” and just connected with nature for several hours. Trudging through the flooded forest and seeing fish come into the newly flooded area figuring their way around the place, just like me, reminded me how this place is so fragile, and the timing of things needs to be just right to let the ecosystem flourish. 

The last day of the same week, I went to Biscayne National Park to help out! We were trained to canoe and how to instruct canoeing and how to fish in the park along with other information to give to visitors if they ask about the park. I saw dolphins, more manatees, a hairy’s woodpecker, and so much more.

Since my first week, I have spent some more time in the office, getting to know my amazing coworkers, and working on my programs (future blog post on them later!). Regardless of the increased amount of time spent indoors, I still come in and out of work telling myself the same thing. 

I love this job. 

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