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Intensive ESL Program
Kendall Campus - MDC

Shark Valley:  Florida Everglades

Professors Bradford Stocker and Roy Schwab

Student Reactions to Shark Valley Field Trip

(Professor Stocker)

Click the photos to see the larger versions.

Fabiana Miranda

 Visiting the Everglades National Park showed me the importance of Nature. Last Friday when I went to the Photography by Brad StockerEverglades Park with my English classmates, I was delighted with the quietness of the place. For example, when we had the quiet time, I could hear Nature’s voice in the soft wind. While I was looking at the saw grass, a huge alligator that moved slowly on the ground suddenly jumped into the water. His movements were very precise and only his tail made him swim. In the water he looked comfortable, and he looked like the king of the lake. In addition, I saw that animals are connected to each other, and they have an ambience full of harmony. Another thing that called my attention was the birds. I saw a diversity of birds living together. Among this diversity, I saw tremendous birds with large legs that have a specific function for them. When I was at the tower, I saw a nest with a bird over its eggs. The nest was perfectly constructed by the bird. When it went to drink water, its legs caught a small fish that was eaten by the bird. That scene showed me the perfection of Nature, and humans have to respect their life and not destroy this perfection. 



The trip was something unbelievable; when I got Photography by Brad Stockerthere I was so excited, I wanted to see everything, especially the alligators. First, we started our tour riding bicycles on the everglades road. I had never been in this park before, and I knew that there were huge alligators and snakes, which are dangerous. The experience was very incredible, and everybody was very tired and happy about the long trip. One of the things that I enjoyed was to exercise on the bike during the trip, which made me felt relaxed during the tour. Now I realize that the alligators are peaceful, silent, and nonviolent animals, if people don’t bother them. In other words, they don’t get angry if you don’t cross the limits. When I was alone listening to the animals and nature sounds, I felt myself very calm; and I think that animals feel this thing too, but when humans get in their land, they feel uncomfortable and get irritated, and that is why these animals have a bad reputation.



The trip to the Shark Valley Park in the Everglades was wonderful. There were many natural species that I have never thought I was going to have them as Photography by Bradford Stockerclose as I did. It was my first time I rode a bicycle like doing exercise and enjoying the nature. I learned the way I joined to the species to see the real damage that we, humans are causing to the ecology. I learned that this is the only way how we realize the damage and think about the future.  The time we sat down on the ground and stayed quiet for a moment was very important to hear the sounds of the earth. I heard the painful voice of the different species, trying to tell the world that they are here too, that they live with us, and they need space. It was kind of a relaxing moment, but I could not do it with this crying voice. This makes me feel that I need to do something for it.



The trip to the Everglades National Park was really amazing. I had not been there before, so I was very Photography by Bradford Stockerimpressed with the beautiful nature that the place has. It was unbelievable to me when I saw the diversity of animals and plants there. When I was riding my bike, I felt a sensation of freedom because of the beautiful nature. I have always loved animals and being close to them. The fact that I saw those alligators in front of me gave a big impression because I had never seen one in front of me before. That was a beautiful experience, which I will never forget. I remember when I sat down on the bridge on the trail and I closed my eyes; I started to hear the sounds of the wind; I felt if I had an immense peace inside me. Everything sounded marvelous; it was like a dream. I also found the natural environment extremely beautiful. When I was in the tower and I looked all around me it was as if the nature herself had built it. It was the most perfect natural thing that I had ever seen. Then when we were coming back, my professor Brad had a flat tired, so Delia and me walked with him. It was kind of fun because while we were walking we talked about many things, especially about the nature of the place, I also was surprised by the birds; they were really beautiful, and many of them were on top of the alligators, I could not believe it. After all I left my professor and Delia by themselves and I left because I had to pay my bike, and they do not. It was a different kind of experience, and to me it meant a lot. I really enjoyed my trip



            This new trip was a good experience for me.  I had never been there and now I think that it is an amazing place.  I learned a lot about American Photography by Bradford Stockerdiversity.  There, I could see many animals.  There are a lot of different kinds of birds that I had never seen before.  Another thing that it was incredible for me was that I could be just right next to the alligators.  This is a new country for me and I want to learn more about it.  In places like that I can really interact with American people and their culture.  In addition, I could learn and exercise mind and body and myself at the same time.  That kind of activity is that I need to do more often. I like this and I wonder about the quiet time.



The Everglades Trip 

In my opinion, the everglades trip was an amazing experience. It was something new for me. I had never seen something like that. It was really marvelous. I Photography by Bradford Stockerheard the sound of the nature. There was a sweet sound through my ears. I saw different kinds of animals such as alligators, snakes, turtles, crocodiles, and variety species of birds. I also saw a variety beautiful vegetation. All of those things were near to me, and I could touch them, but I did not. I was scared because those animals could attack if I did not stay quiet. I had to maintain calm down during the trip. I also exercised a lot because I rode 16 miles on bicycle. It was a peaceful place where I could think and breathe its clear air. I felt a lot of peace inside me because that place could relax to everyone. It does matter if you are stressful. I could feel how important is to keep our nature. I think that we should help to maintain it. We cannot destroy or damage our nature because if we do that, we also destroy our lives. As you can see, visiting everglades was a pleasant experience. 



 It was such a great opportunity for us to experience the beautiful Photography by Brad Stockernature of Wetlands in Shark Valley.  While I was riding a bike with group of classmates on the smooth road of the park, I saw a lot of alligators along the roadside next to the canal. The Baby alligators looked so cute lying on top of their mommy's back.  The family scene gave me such a warm feeling.  One of the best experiences was the ten minutes I spent by myself feeling the closeness of Mother Nature around me.  I just stood there looking out at the fields of sawgrass and let my imagination fly.  There were a lot of tall trees far away from where I was standing.  The strong wind blew the trees making them look like they were waving at me, welcoming me to the gorgeous ocean of sawgrass between them and me.  The wind caused beautiful waves in the sawgrass ocean which beating in rhythm with the movement of the trees.  I also enjoyed the strong wind that made me feel like I was being held, touched and gently kissed.  I closed my eyes enjoying the quiet natural sounds electrifying me from all directions.  I was so relaxing and I felt free from all my cares and worries. What a wonderful experience it was.



My Reactions from the Everglades

The Everglades, a fascinating place, encouraged me to react in several sensitive ways. This unique place has the power to attract my mind to where I always want to be.  For instance, I Photography by Bradford Stockerfound there a new way to create a fantastic life without time, pressure and inconveniences.  Another sensitiveness that I discovered is the possibility to share with nature.  Hearing and feeling the wild life of many species, for example, drives me to a magnificent paradise where everything is relaxing and comfortable.  Looking at the diversity of animals, also, is another way to enjoy this paradise where I can find peculiar birds with their colorful plumes and strange forms, or I can stand for hours looking carefully to an alligator and its habit.  The most sensitive reaction that I have was when I free myself and became part of the ambience.  At the beginning I did not noticed, but then I realized that I was caught in the place.  This amazing environment invited me to stay there forever.  It showed me how beautiful is life out there, from where everything is just peace and natural.  All in all, my reaction would serve as an example for those who have not tried to find their sensitiveness with nature.   




 The thing that excited me the most about the trip to Shark Photography by Bradford StockerValley in the Everglades was seeing the alligators.  The day was a beautiful and almost perfect because I was able to ride my bicycle comfortably and enjoy the mild weather. When I was in Shark Valley, just two minutes from the main entrance, I was amazed to see my first big female alligator with thousands of babies around her. Let me tell you that my first reaction was incredibly marvelous. I really loved the scenery. While I was continuing on my way, I could not stop as often as I would have liked to because the alligators everywhere excited me, especially the crowded meeting place of small ones. Another interesting experience was to watch the biodiversity of birds. They were in different sizes and colors. In fact, my professor Dr. Stocker told me the names of many of the birds. I especially recall one, the swallow, which reminds me of the story of the Red Pony. In addition, I spend a great moment in the middle of Everglades, with my classmates eating and talking about how tired we were. There also was a tower, a place where I could go up and see the dimension of the valley and feel the generosity of nature. Finally, I was happy because I had I lot of exercise riding my bike for over fourteen miles. Of course I could not say the same for my professor whose bike had a flat tire.



Going to Shark Valley park was a notable experience that I Photography by Bradford Stockerlearned from. As a student I figured out that nature is a powerful influence on the human beings. I had not gone to a park like this before. It was my first time and I really enjoyed interacting with the nature.  I found out that life has special moments that I have to get pleasure from them. I think this trip helped me to improve my English and socialize with other people. This kind of trip opens  a door to the real world and shows what nature is like. I discovered that I  am part of it and I have to appreciate it.  



Delia Mayor

Every time that I go to the Everglades I breath deeply and I Photography by Bradford Stockerlook around thanking the earth for the gift she is giving me. We never realize how precious nature is, on the contrary we just exploit it for our own benefit. I can’t avoid thinking about it when I am in places like the Everglades. There are already a lot of extinct species due to men’s action. With the establishment of Miami and other cities we have blocked the natural course of water, affecting negatively the Everglade’s ecosystem. But nature can not speak our language, it can not claim for its rights. That’s why I think we should take care of it. As always, the relation with my classmates was excellent. I had a very good time with all of them. I always learn from them and I hope that they learn from me. It was very interesting the conversation on the way back. I always like to learn things about different cultures and different points of views. I enjoyed the visit very much. 


 Hello Brad let me tell you that it  was very interesting to visit Shark Valley. Like my father said: “we will never finish Photography by Bradford Stockervisiting all the unknown places in Miami”. I didn’t know about this place, I have never heard about all these parks that exist here.  The variety of birds that live in this park was awesome; also how the alligators, like wilds animals that are, can live there surrounding of other kinds of animals. I realized how American people enjoy being surrounded by nature and; also, share that with their animals, doing exercises, eating together, but always including animals and plants like their own family. I think that is an important point in this society that shouldn’t be lost.  The type of vegetation is similar at my country’s vegetation, except for the climate; we have similar plants in my country. When I was riding on my way back, suddenly, I felt as if I was in my country, in a moment I felt at home.



Going  to the Shark Valley gave me a different and relaxing Photography by Bradford Stockerexperience. It  took me out of my routine life and made me forget about my daily problems.  Riding  the bicycle, which I have not  ridden for several years,  provides  me a lot of fun. The most  exciting moment  was  when  I stood apart from  the other people and I found myself with nature. I could hear how nature can  express itself  through  different symbols and with a specific language. I  am still remember how the wind gave me this sensation  of  freedom and  involved me as well as it did with  the saw grass and  the other vegetation  around me. In some way I got caught in  a peaceful melody. Besides, a bunch of  birds sang at different levels and with a different rhythm, which made feel  like if they were trying to communicate how happy they were living  in  such as comfortable natural reservation. Even though Shark valley is not a  place full of a variety and colorful flora, it is still very nice and  interesting place. I hope  that other people could visit  and enjoy   this  natural resource  in the same way that we did it last time.





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Last modified: 11/19/2003by jgarcia@MDC.edu