Hi, my name is Brent and I am the Centennial Volunteer Ambassador for Everglades National Park.
I have been at Everglades NP for a little over a month now and I have fairly settled down in my new place. As a Centennial Volunteer Ambassador, my goal is to increase the park visitation, stewardship, and volunteerism at Everglades NP. At 1.5 million acres, Everglades National Park is the 3rd largest National Park in the continental United States preceded by Death Valley NP and Yellowstone NP at 3.4 and 2.2 million acres, respectively. During the past month, I have travelled to the four districts of Everglades NP getting familiar with the various activities and staff at each area. I went slough slogging in a cypress dome at the Pine Island district, took a pontoon wilderness boat tour at Flamingo, rode the tram at Shark Valley, and took a scenic road trip on the way to Gulf Coast and one of our sister parks, Big Cypress NP. Everglades NP also has a strong relationship with our other sister park, Biscayne NP, which is only a 30-minute drive away.
One of the events I had the pleasure to participate in was the Gator in the Bay Art Gallery Reception on Saturday, August 1, 2015. The art gallery at the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center displays a new exhibit every month and for August 2015, it will be Lloyd Goradesky’s Gator in the Bay. Two original photomosaic panels of the 275-foot gator public art display will be showcased. The 102 photomosaic panels are composed of over 100,000 unique postage-size photos of the Everglades.
The purpose of this gigantic public art installation was to raise awareness about the issues impacting the Everglades and South Florida. It also acted as a welcome ambassador for tourists flying to Miami International Airport. The Everglades wetlands have been reduced to less than 50% of its original size and also reduced the wading bird populations by 90%. Goradesky hopes the Gator in the Bay public art display will encourage people to appreciate the Everglades for its natural beauty and the impacts it has to society.
Guests at the art reception included Houston R. Cypress (Micosukee Otter Clan and Love the Everglades Movement), Flash (Love the Everglades Movement), Jean Sarmiento (Love the Everglades Movement), Daniel Hubalek (DJ WhoDany), Katrina Wagner (Miami Art Scene), Leon (Photography by Leon), and the artist himself, Lloyd Goradesky. Cypress conducted a spoken word poetry performance on Persistence and Goradesky talked about the importance of the Everglades.
As part of the month long exhibit, Goradesky has offered to provide free photography and videography workshops each Saturday for all ages and abilities to the public at the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center theatre from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM. Stop by and check out the exhibit!
Photo credits: Photography by Leon