The Urban Ecology Center invites you to join us as we explore the amazing Biodiversity and unique natural history of subtropical Florida October 30th – November 7th, 2015. Facing an uncertain future due to the rising tides of climate change, come explore some of the things that make this state such a culturally and biologically diverse place.
Your tour guides are Manager of Research and Citizen Science Tim Vargo and Jennifer Callaghan, the Coordinator of Research and Citizen Science. Jennifer was born and raised in Florida, having spent a great portion of her youth outdoors exploring the state's natural areas. Tim has spent several years living in and doing research in tropical areas, and has guided many previous Center eco-travel trips around the US and in Central America.
This 9-day, 8-night excursion begins in the Tampa Bay area where we will explore the state's largest open-water estuary. Visit one of world's most productive natural systems while looking for Pileated Woodpeckers, state-threatened Gopher Tortoises and migrating Florida Manatees.
From there we will travel to southwest Florida's Oscar Scherer State Park. The park's unique scrubby flatwoods is one of the best places in the state to view the imperiled Florida Scrub Jay. Onward to the Florida Everglades, a National Park recognized as a World Heritage Site and a Wetland of International Importance. Bog walk or kayak through this national treasure which is home to alligators, crocodiles and the secretive Florida Panther.
The third leg of our trip will explore the islands of the Florida Keys. Hand-feed giant tarpon, paddleboard through mangrove forests, spot the diminutive Key Deer and enjoy the local cuisine, which is heavily influenced by early settlers including Cuban cigar-makers and Bahamian fishermen.
We wrap up the excursion with a trip to the world-renowned Dry Tortugas. Enjoy a 70-mile boat ride, which will take you past sea turtles, dolphins and sting-rays. Once on the island, snorkel old shipwrecks and one of the US's best coral reefs. Tour a well-preserved Civil War fort, Ft. Jefferson, and bird watch some of the Tortuga's vast seabird colonies.
Cost: The price for this 9-day trip is $1,925 for double occupancy ($2,600 single) and includes all lodging, meals, and local transportation. This price does not include airfare and travel insurance.
This trip is a unique way to explore the natural and cultural history of one of our most biologically diverse states and your participation supports Urban Ecology Center programming. We hope you will join us!