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The Everglades

Life Science - Middle School

 
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The Everglades In southern Florida, a four-million-acre sheet of water flows slowly across a grassy plain. This is the Everglades, also called the “river of grass.” The Everglades is home to many water birds like common egrets (1), great blue herons (2), eared grebes (3), moorhens (4) and roseate spoonbills (5). There are birds of prey, like the bald eagle (6), osprey (7) and many hawks and woodpeckers like the sizable pileated woodpecker (8). Water animals, like the Florida manatee (9), American alligator (10) and river otter (11) do well in the wet habitat, as do scavengers like raccoons (12) and opossums (13). The water teems with fish like brown bullhead (14), largemouth bass (15), bluegill (16), sheepshead (17) and spotted sunfish (18), providing food for hungry predators like gar (19) and snapping turtles (20). This wet habitat is also perfect for insects and mosquitoes (21) are plentiful, feeding the many green tree frogs (22), green anoles (23) and other lizards. Even the tiny cotton mouse (24) finds plenty to eat in this rich, diverse habitat. This rich habitat was once thought to be wasted land. Developers began draining it in the 1800s, pulling up mangroves and replacing them with agricultural crops and citrus groves. They built roads, towns and then giant cities, like Miami, all where this massive wetland once flowed. The Everglades dwindled to half its original size. Sewage and other wastes were freely released from developed areas into what was left of the Everglades. Then scientists began to realize that the Everglades was actually filtering and absorbing pollutants from urban areas, like a natural sewage treatment plant. They also noticed that the Everglades absorbed storm surges during hurricanes, decreasing dangerous flooding. People were coming from all over the world to see this unusual habitat and its vast array of wildlife. Awareness of the importance of wetlands specifically the Everglades finally brought an effort to protect what remained of the river of grass. Native plants have been replanted on thousands of acres to form a man-made treatment marsh between the cities and the Everglades. These act to naturally clean harmful nutrients from water flowing into the Everglades and protect them for future generations. 4 1 3 5 8 9 6 7 10 11 12 19 18 17 16 15 13 21 22 24 14 20 2 23 Amsel Amsel
94-4065 4 1 3 5 8 9 6 7 10 11 12 19 18 17 16 15 13 21 22 24 14 20 2 23 Amsel In southern Florida, a four-million-acre sheet of water flows slowly across a grassy plain. This is the Everglades, also called the ____________________ of grass.” The Everglades is home to many __________________ birds like common ____________________ (1), _________________ _________________ _________________ (2), _________________ _________________ (3), ______________________ (4) and _________________ _________________ (5). There are birds of ______________________, like the _________________ _________________ (6), _________________ (7) and many hawks and woodpeckers like the sizable ___________________ ______________________ (8). Water animals, like the ___________________ _________________ (9), ___________________ ___________________ (10) and _________________ _________________ (11) do well in the wet habitat, as do scavengers like ___________________ (12) and ___________________ (13). The water teems with ____________________ like ______________________ _____________________ (14), _________________ _________________ (15), ___________________ (16), _______________________ (17) and ___________________ ___________________ (18), providing food for hungry predators like ___________ (19) and _______________________ _______________________ (20). This wet habitat is also perfect for insects and _______________________ (21) are plentiful, feeding the many ___________________ _____________________ (22), ___________________ ______________________ (23) and other lizards. Even the tiny ______________________ ______________________ (24) finds plenty to eat in this rich, diverse habitat. The Everglades
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