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Inaugural Winter Term Class to Florida a Success!

590/790 Winter Term Everglades National Park

During the inaugural EKU winter term, Dr. Sharp took eight students on a tour of parks and protected areas in the southeastern United States (REC 590/790 – Social and Economic Impacts of Tourism). The journey began at the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in South Georgia. During their stay the students conducted a cultural restoration service project, and as a reward went kayaking in the swamp (where they had more than one nerve-racking encounter with an alligator). From there the class went to Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge on the Gulf Coast of Florida. The students met with refuge managers to discuss how the surrounding communities benefit from the refuge. However informative this discussion was, the real highlight of this stop was kayaking with manatees! The students got to paddle right alongside the endangered giants, and gain a true sense of how amazing Crystal River is as a protected place. The next stop was Big Cypress National Preserve in South Florida. Here, the class also met with preserve managers, and discussed some of the management challenges of the preserve. During their stay, the students participated in a trail maintenance project, clearing trails of brush and debris along a 5-mile section of the Florida Trail that runs through the preserve. The final stop on this adventure was Everglades National Park. Here the students met with a park interpreter for a tour of the park. During their time in the Everglades, the students stayed at the Everglades Hostel, which gave them a unique perspective on the tourism industry in South Florida. Overall, the trip was a grand success (except for the 16-hour drive home), and hopefully was an experience that the students will not soon forget!

Published on January 14, 2015

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