I had intended to spend a week or two in Miami, and the time eventually became one week to spend with the Pediatric Anesthesiologists and with the staff involved with Picis. To make a long story short - there was very little interest, and the time allocated to spend with me was two hours with a staff anesthesiologist while he was supervising a list, and no other opportunities. I was disappointed, to say the least, as a major focus for me this year was to learn about and expand the possibilities for using Picis for evaluation of quality. There seems to be plenty of potential here for collaboration, but very little interest.
The Everglades were a beautiful surprise. I now had some time to visit this unique environment. Thanks to the work of the Everglades' foremost supporter, Ernest F. Coe, Congress passed a park bill in 1934. Alarmed at the loss of rare birds through poaching and the removal of rare or unusual orchids from their natural habitat, Coe feared that many animals would face extinction if something wasn't done. Dubbed by opponents the "alligator and snake swamp bill," the legislation stalled during the Great Depression and World War II. Finally, on December 6, 1947, President Harry S Truman dedicated the Everglades National Park.
In that same year, Marjory Stoneman Douglas first published The Everglades: River of Grass. She understood its importance as the major watershed for South Florida and as a unique ecosystem (the only everglades in the world).
Wesaw more wildlife here in its natural environment than we have seen anywhere else. It is accessible for anyone, including people in wheelchairs, and there are no bars or moats to separate the people from the animals. We rented a canoe and went for a paddle on 9 mile pond, on the east side - surrounded by alligators. In this environment there are both alligators and saltwater crocodiles. Although we had been assured by many that these animals are largely shy, and that they do not eat adult humans here, it was a somewhat uncomfortable situation to be in the middle of a pond with a 1000 pound alligator watching us from shore. On the positive side, I felt safer here than I do when I walk into a certain hospitals in Calgary - so I will continue paddling of my own canoe.
At this time of year, the freshwater areas are shrinking, due to drought, and much of hte wildlife was concentrated in the areas on the east side. When we rented a kayak to paddle in the mangroves on the west side, there was little wildleife, as it had moved upriver. We went ona trip with the Academy group, and the Airboat ride was a lot of fun -- fast, through a beautiful enviornment, and interesting.