EVERGLADES DAY         February 8, 2014

15th Annual Everglades Day - All Day Family Festival

Saturday, February 8, 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. 

“The Everglades Then and Now” is the theme for our annual all-day family festival with tours, nature walks, bird walks, wildlife demonstrations, presentations, exhibits, games, kids' fishing, kids' archery, canoeing, music, dance, food trucks and much more! 

Come and enjoy a visit to a true natural wonder, the northern Everglades!

Park just south of the Refuge in Monty’s parking lot and ride the bus to the Visitor Center. On the Refuge, buses will be running continuously between the various activities.  A free handicapped-accessible van will also be available.

Admission is free all day.

Presentations - Visitor Center Theater
  9:00 - Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic For Our Time - Video
10:00 - Crocs and Gators - Frank Mazzotti
11:00 - Cultural History of the Seminole People - Reinaldo Becerra - AH-TAH-THI-KI Museum
12:00 - Florida's Giant Venice - Catherine Smith - Belle Glade Museum
  1:00 - Lake Okeechobee: Past and Present - Butch Wilson - Clewiston Museum
  2:00 - Birding Around the World - James Currie
  3:00 - Today's Culture Is Tomorrow's History - Plein Air Artists of Palm Beach County

Presentations with Live Animals  
10:00 - Native Snakes - Marcie Kapsch - Marsh Trail Pavilion
10:00 - Florida Native Wildlife - Busch Wildlife Sanctuary - Stage/Pavilion at Old Admin Bldg Location

11:00 - Everglades Python Hunter - Edward Mercer - Marsh Trail Pavilion
12:00 - Florida Native Wildlife - Busch Wildlife Sanctuary - Stage/Pavilion at Old Admin Bldg Location
12:00 - What Lives In Your Marsh?  Gravel Road between Lee Road & Marsh Trail Parking Lot
  1:00 - Raptor Chapter - Clive Pinnock - Okeeheelee Nature Center - Marsh Trail Pavilion
  1:00 - Florida Native Wildlife - Treasure Coast Wildlife Hospital - Interpretive Area next to Visitor Center
  2:00 - Tools and Weapons of the Seminole Wars - Reinaldo Becerra - Marsh Trail Pavilion
  2:00 - Florida Native Wildlife - Palm Beach Zoo - Stage/Pavilion at Old Admin Bldg Location  
  2:00 - Everglades Python Hunter - Edward Mercer - Interpretive Area next to Visitor Center 
  3:00 - Python Patrol Detection - Jenny Novak - Marsh Trail Pavilion

Presentations - Marsh Trail Pavilion
10:00 - Native Snakes - Marcie Kapsch **Live Animals
11:00 - Everglades Python Hunter - Edward Mercer **Live Animals
12:00 - Wildlife Smuggling - Refuge Law Enforcement

  1:00 - Raptor Chapter - Clive Pinnock - Okeeheelee Nature Center **Live Animals
  2:00 - Tools and Weapons of the Seminole Wars - Reinaldo Becerra **Live Animals
  3:00 - Python Patrol Detection - Jenny Novak  **Live Animals

Presentations - Interpretive Area next to Visitor Center south side

11:00 - The Nuts and Bolts of Everglades Restoration - Melissa Martin
12:00 - Everglades Stories - Caren Neile
  1:00 - Florida Native Wildlife - Treasure Coast Wildlife Hospital **Live Animals
  2:00 - Everglades Python Hunter - Edward Mercer **Live Animals

  3:00 - Challenges of Managing a Restored Everglades System - Rebekah Gibble

Performances and Presentations – Stage/Pavilion at Old Admin Bldg Location
10:00 - Florida Native Wildlife - Busch Wildlife Sanctuary **Live Animals
11:00 - Roadside Revue

12:00 - Florida Native Wildlife - Busch Wildlife Sanctuary **Live Animals
  1:00 - Roadside Revue
  2:00 - Florida Native Wildlife - Palm Beach Zoo ** Live Animals

Canoe Trips - Boat Ramp - SignUp at Canoe Launch/Boat Ramp
 9:00 - 11:30 and 1:00 - 3:30  Every Half Hour   

Fishing Pier/Boat Ramp/L-40 Levee Activities
  9:00 - Kids Fishing Clinic
10:00 - Electro-Shocking - Kelly Gestring and Murray Stanford 
11:00 - Bird Capture Techniques - Dr. Dale Gawlik
11:00 - Kids Fishing Clinic
  1:00 - Kids Fishing Clinic
  2:00 - Kids Fishing Clinic

Swamp Strolls on Cypress Swamp Boardwalk
 9:00 - 3:00  Every Half Hour - Tour Guides Lew Hecker, Paul Kushner, Bruce Rosenberg

LILA Walking Tours - Start at Marsh Trail - Head West on “Great Blue Heron Trail”
  Three 2-Hour Tours of Everglades Restoration Research Projects at LILA:
10:00 - 12:00, 12:00 - 2:00, 2:00 - 4:00

Bird/Nature Walks on Marsh Trail - Head West on “Great Blue Heron Trail”
11:00 - Native vs. Non-Native Apple Snail Walk - Melissa Better
  1:00 - Wildflowers of the Marsh in Historical Perspective - Howard Bernstein

Bird/Butterfly/Nature Walks on Marsh Trail - Head South on “Turtle Trail”
10:00 - Bird Walk - Al Pelligrinelli
11:00 - Nature Walk - Jack McLaughlin
12:00 - Plant Walk - Chris Lockhart
  1:00 - Nature Walk - Barry Mintzer
  2:00 - Impoundment Management Overview Walk - Marcie Kapsch

Fish Collection Demo - Gravel Road between Lee Road & Marsh Trail Parking Lot
12:00 - What Lives In Your Marsh?  Jessica Klassen and Jennifer Chastant ** Live Animals

Kids Archery - Lawn in Front of Stage/Pavilion at Old Admin Bldg Location 

Self-Guided Activities
Animal Olympics Trail - trail runs parallel to western section of Lee Road on south side
Hands-On Nature Table - next to Friends Sales Tent near Initial Bus Arrival Area - Tom Poulson
Exhibit Tent and Children’s Area - near Boat Ramp

Schedule (Grid Layout):

Press Releases:

Reinaldo Becerra - Seminole Nation AH-TAH-THI-KI Museum

Reinaldo (Rey) Becerra, Seminole Nation Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum administrator, will give TWO special programs at Everglades Day.
At 11:00 inside the Visitor Center Theater Rey will speak on the "Cultural History of the Seminole People” and will also show a short video on the Miccosukee Everglades Tribe.
At 2:00 at the Marsh Trail Pavilion, Rey will give a program "Tools and Weapons of the Seminole Wars". During this talk he will be wearing clothing of a Seminole warrior (full warrior dress as a reenactment) and he will be bringing his own horse and some tools and weapons for show.  Prior to the talk, he will have set up a small warrior camp or lean-to, with saddles, tools, and other artifacts used during the wars.
The Seminole Tribe of Florida is a Federally Recognized Indian Tribe and the only tribe in America who never signed a peace treaty: in 1842 President Tyler ordered the end of military actions against the Seminoles and no formal peace treaty was ever signed. The remaining Seminoles returned to their remote homes in the Everglades. Their challenge today is maintaining the unique Seminole culture while operating in the mainstream economy. This program is part of their outreach to the other residents and visitors to South Florida.
Rey Beccerra was born in Pretoria (South African) in 1964. At the age of 3 years old his parents emigrated to Cuba, where he lived for 20 years. He graduated in Biology, and in 1986 he emigrated to the U.S. In 1997 he started working and living with The Seminole Tribe of Florida in Big Cypress reservation, where he works as Wildlife Educator, Videographer for the Seminole Broadcasting Production (SMP),and now holds the position of Community Outreach Specialist in The AH-TAH-THI-KI Museum.

Catherine Smith - Belle Glade Museum - “Florida’s Giant Venice” - 12:00 noon in Visitor Center Theater
The accounts of early settlers to South Florida depict the region as a harsh, uninhabitable swampland. As a result, many assume that few people could live in the area prior to drainage - yet nothing is further from the truth. Craftsmanship, extensive trade, and some of the largest earthen monuments in the world reveal a large prehistoric population with a complex culture - yes, here in Palm Beach County. Florida’s Giant Venice illustrates the way in which water seeped into every aspect of early South Floridian lives including diet, artistry, architecture, transportation, and more. These people did not just adapt to their environment, they mastered it - taking full advantage of the rich resources wetlands provide. Come learn about this impressive culture which utilized a vast network of waterways significantly larger than that of Venice, Italy. If your interest is piqued, further explore various aspects of this same culture in the “We Were Here” exhibit currently on display in the Visitor Center Theater.
Catherine Smith is the interim curator for the Lawrence E. Will Museum: A Museum of the Glades, a museum focused on the preservation and presentation of the long history and culture of the Everglades. As an intern for Palm Beach County, a field/lab tech for the Archaeological and Historical Conservancy, intern for Florida Public Archaeology Network, and now curator of the Lawrence E. Will Museum, she has worked on sites and collections from all over South Florida. As a graduate student at Florida Atlantic University specializing in bioarchaeology, she conducts research on the Belle Glade Prehistoric People of central and south Florida by investigating South Florida skeletal collections including those housed at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History. This research, including future dissertation research incorporating ancient DNA findings, promises to reveal more chapters in the life-story of those enigmatic people of which so little is known.
Butch Wilson - Clewiston Museum - “Lake Okeechobee: Past & Present” - 1:00 in Visitor Center Theater
Butch Wilson will present a historical review of Lake Okeechobee that includes: (1) the Lake’s geology and the prehistoric animals that once lived there, (2) early inhabitants - The Mayaimis Indians, (3) Seminole Wars, (4) drainage and development, and (5) hurricanes of 1926 &1928, which includes the construction of the Herbert Hoover Dike. Fossil artifacts and Indian artifacts will be displayed during the program.
Butch Wilson is a sixth generation Floridian who grew up on Lake Okeechobee. As a young boy, Butch enjoyed listening to stories of Old Florida, told to him by his great grandmother and other Glades pioneers. This early heritage fascinated Butch and gave him an early appreciation for Glades History that would forever influence his life. He retired from U.S. Sugar Corporation after 32 years and is currently employed as the Director of the Clewiston Museum. Butch presents programs on Florida History (with emphasis on the Glades) to schools, colleges and other organizations. He also conducts Eco-Tours and Historical Tours in Hendry County. His tall tales regarding the Glades are both educational and entertaining.
James Currie - Birding Adventures TV - "Birding Around the World" - 2:00 in Visitor Center Theater
                   Video journeys of some of the world's most unusual and sought-after birds.

James Currie, the passionate creator of the reality TV adventure series, BIRDING ADVENTURES, is now starring in a Wednesday morning 8am series on Discovery’s “DESTINATION AMERICA” network. After each airing, you can view this and other James Currie shows on-line by subscribing to the BIRDING ADVENTURES channel on YouTube.
Currie is the host and producer of the TV series, the first birding TV program that focuses on destination and adventure birdwatching, making birds contemporary, interesting and exciting. He recently immigrated to the United States and lives with his family in West Palm Beach. A lifelong birder and native of South Africa, James Currie has 15 years’ experience leading wildlife and birding tours. His passion for birding and remote cultures has taken him to Central and South America, Fiji, Australia, North America, Africa, Europe, Madagascar and Iceland. He has contributed to several publications, including the acclaimed Southern African Birdfinder. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in African Languages and is also an expert in the field of sustainable development, holding a Master’s degree in Sustainable Environmental Management. From 2004 - 2007 James was the Managing Director of Africa Foundation, a non-profit organization that uplifts communities surrounding wildlife areas in Africa.
An exciting speaker, Currie offers a unique blend of information and adventure, making bird-watching refreshing, contemporary, interesting and exciting. His programs have a strong conservation emphasis and highlight the importance and urgency of preserving the planet’s incredible birdlife. Whether trawling the pine flat-woods of South Florida for the rare Red-cockaded Woodpecker or creeping through the undergrowth of moist, primary rain forest in Madagascar in search of bizarre Ground-rollers, hold on for the birding ride of your life. Put this on your Not-to-miss list, for sure!
Currie will have DVD’s available for sale and autographing. You can like him on Facebook: Birding Adventures TV and follow him on twitter @birdingTV

Ed Mercer - “Burmese Pythons, Invasive Snakes in the Everglades” - 11:00 at Marsh Trail Pavilion
Ed Mercer will discuss the origin of the Burmese Python problem and a few of the programs put in place by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to help the removal of these pythons from the Everglades. He will demonstrate the growth rate of the python by comparing a juvenile python caught in the Everglades this past October and a full grown python. Mercer will also be talking about and exhibiting two other exotic snakes that are occasionally found in the Everglades and rural areas.
Edward Mercer is a licensed Burmese Python pet owner and volunteer Python Hunter for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. “I'm not a biologist, or a herpetologist and I don't work for any government agency. I'm just a regular guy that is passionate about big snakes; I have owned and handled Burmese Pythons for the last 15 years and my pets are a big part of my family. (In 2008, the state of Florida passed a law that Burmese Pythons can no longer be bought, sold, or bred and that current owners are permitted to keep their pythons until they expire but can no longer acquire any more.) When python sightings began to hit the news, I jumped at the chance to use my experience handling large constrictors and volunteered to help remove them from the Everglades. In June of 2010, my Python Hunter license was approved and I began my search. After a steep learning curve and walking many, many miles I have been able to successfully remove 45 pythons from the Everglades. I have appeared in documentaries airing on the Travel Channel, Univision, Dan Rather Reports, Fox News and several international channels along with interviews from several major news agencies.”
Jenny Novak - “Python Patrol Detector Training” - 3:00 at Marsh Trail Pavilion
The Python Patrol Detector Training program will teach people how to recognize and look for Burmese pythons and other exotic snakes. This workshop is for those who want to learn how to identify native and nonnative snakes and how to correctly report sightings to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, but aren’t prepared to capture these invasive snakes themselves.
Jenny Novak is the Python Patrol Coordinator for the FWC and has worked as a biologist for the agency for the past 15 years, 8 of which have been spent working with exotic species. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Biology and a master’s degree in Wildlife Science. At FWC, she has worked as a conservation education specialist, field biologist, and special projects leader. While at the Tallahassee headquarters, she also was an adjunct professor at Tallahassee Community College. She recently relocated to south Florida to take on the role of Python Patrol Coordinator. Before joining FWC, she spent several years as an adjunct instructor at Auburn University and Columbus State University.
Novak’s passion for education and background in wildlife science make for a lively and interesting program. Come and learn about the pythons that now call the Everglades home, and discover how you can help stop the spread of destructive exotic species in Florida. For more information about Florida’s exotic fish and wildlife, visit