Nathaniel Reed on Lake Okeechobee
You would be hard-pressed to find anyone more influential and active in Everglades restoration as Nathaniel Reed. He is a giant, both physically and legislatively for the conservation of Florida and even the world. He's known for serving under six governers, two presidents, and is partly responsible for such legislation as the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts. Yeah, big time.
Expanses of spike rush are critical habitat for all sorts of aquatic fauna
Last week, it was one of my greatest privileges to share a boat with Nathaniel on assignment for Audubon Magazine. Guided by Paul Gray (left), another dominating figure in Everglades restoration, and FWC biologist Don Fox (right), we explored the marsh habitats of Lake Okeechobee.
A snail kite brings in an apple snail for lunch
These seasonally flooded grasslands are one of the main habitats for apple snails which are the sole diet for the snail kite, an endangered species. Recently, kite populations have been increasing and the bird community is buzzing. I felt so lucky to share the moment when Nathaniel watched a kite fly in and devour a snail right in front of the boat.
Ironically, I was shooting video for the magazine to run as a companion piece to their recent feature story on Everglades water issues written by Ted Williams. So I will let you know when that's ready to view online. Until then, I just wanted to share my excitement of spending an afternoon with one of Florida's true heroes.