Thursday, September 15, 2011

Venture Out! Gator Nest Survey

Erin Woods with National Audubon and Mark Parry from Everglades National Park
slog through sawgrass checking American alligator nests 

Restoring the Everglades takes collaborative work from a slew of organizations and agencies. Each research program provides valuable data which helps to form the overall restoration narrative. I love being involved in this circle of biologists and researchers who have some of the coolest jobs in south Florida.

Wildlife biologist with Everglades National Park, Mark Parry, suits up for gator nest monitoring

Mark Parry, a wildlife biologist for Everglades National Park works with american alligators in the summers studying the relationship between nesting success and water management practices. By the end of July american alligators have built their nests and laid eggs in remote areas of the park. Mark has the task of locating these nests via helicopter, counting the eggs, and monitoring their success rates. Occasionally a protective mother will stand her ground and Mark takes the opportunity to measure, weigh, and tag her too. When he asked my coworkers and me to accompany him on a flight, it was a no-brainer. Jumping out of helicopters, slogging through marsh, and wrestling gators? Yes please. Plus, it'd give me a reason to wear my Top Gun-style aviators.

Check out the next Venture Out! video from our day in the field with Mark.

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