Cypress Swamp Dome, thin as itis. Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg
Outside the AhTahThiKi Museum on the Seminole Reservation in Florida is a mile-long boardwalk through a Cypress Swamp Dome. Prior to engineered draining of the Everglades in the 1930s this land was wet enough to canoe the wet prairie land, swamp. Seminoles canoed for hunting. This means of provision is no longer available, cattle farming is now the main product of the land. The floor is wet seven to ten months of the year, which is then the growing season for the Cypress trees. The Dome appears sparse allowing enough sunlight to sustain its lush fern ground cover.
Fern rich floor. Copyright 2018 Pamela Bretberg
Looking to the heavens. Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg
Images copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg
The overal scene looks so much like an untouched prairie; greens are flourishing and going on for miles and miles. The sky is never ending. A vulture scans for lunch. This prairie is wild; no telephone lines or roads interupt it’s untamed beauty.
But on closer inspection, or if you remember you’re on “Aligator Alley”, a part of I75, you see evidence that this isn’t even a wetland prairie swam or bog. It’s much wetter and is infact part of the Florida Everglades. Take the closer look into this profound region.
“Prairie” grasses with wide open skies; NOT. Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg
Hint: Great Egrets are not found in prairies. Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg
Alligators are definitely not a part of a prairie habitat. They do bask in the sun next to water while they await their next meal. Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg
The Snowy Egret takes off to continue it’s hunt for food in Florida’s Everglades. Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg
Looking back to the more colorful days of late summer, early autumn.
Hardy, perennial prairie plants gradually go dormant, resting until next springs longer, warmer days. Copyright 2017, Pamela Breitberg
Purple prairie clover (Dalea purpurea) amongst prairie diversity. Copyright 2017 Pamela Breitberg
Purple Aster, a dependable sign of the end of Summer. Copyright 2017, Pamela Breitberg
Restored Midwestern prairie land of wild grasses and Rudbeckia and many other wondrous natives. Copyright 2017 Pamela Breitberg
Black eyed Susans, aka Rudbeckia , indicates that summer is well under way in the U.S. heartland, the prairie. Illinois is the “prairie state” yet less than 10% of virgin prairie lands remain. This piece of prairie is part of a restoration project, West Ridge Nature Preserve on Chicago’s north-east side. In Chicago one does not have to travel far to pretend they are a part of a time long ago; the stuff of good summertime daydreams.