Who knew this outing would be so educational or so much fun?
The MS Environmental Club recently hosted their monthly Community Cleanup, this time in Big Cypress National Preserve, and got a swamp walk as bonus! Teachers, parents and students, including some from US, began the day with an hour-long cleanup along the mouth of a trailhead used by park visitors. Among the trash found were lots of batteries, cans, bottles, a road sign, shredded plastic, and a shoe insole. After the cleanup, park rangers handed out walking sticks, shared a safety briefing, and lead the adventurers into the “wild.”
The hike meandered through pineland, prairie, and cypress swamp with rangers providing historical and ecological commentary along the way. Swamp walkers learned that indigenous peoples used to bend and tie cypress tree branches in the direction of a trail as an early form of GPS. The group stood in an alligator hole, saw Florida panther tracks, and learned that small cypress trees can be much older than larger ones. Everyone agreed the swamp walk was amazing!
Click here to view some awesome photos from the swamp. The next Community Cleanup will take place on Jan. 29. Stay tuned for the location to be announced.