I worked with Lisa in Vermont from 2002-2006 before she took the helm of the Four Winds Nature Institute - a community based environmental organization staffed with some of the best educators around. She's just "super" and one of my favorite people. I must admit that guiding her family around the Everglades was a daunting task. Imagine the headlines if I inadvertently drove the entire family into a lake of alligators? It's the exact reason the President of the United States and Vice-President are not aloud to travel together - although I'd be glad to drive those two into said lake. I met the group in Fort Myers and after being chased away from our designated rest area/parking spot by an over zealous rest area/parking spot security guy, we found a better spot, left the caravan and headed south for the Everglades. The Miller family was every bit as energetic and enthusiastic as Lisa. It was almost scary. I'm used to my family gatherings where games of Monopoly are routinely ended by an "earthquake" and angry passengers threaten to leap from moving cars. But I digress as usual.
My biggest worry for the day was selling the airboat as a legitimate part of an "eco-tour". They are noisy, but in the shallow waters of Lake Trafford and the Everglades, there is no other way to explore, lest one wishes to wander through the mucky swamp water of the most densely populated alligator lake in the world. Do they degrade the environment? Do they have a negative impact on the plant and wildlife. I will argue no. I hope I convincingly sold that. You have to experience it to understand it.
The following day I discussed successful restoration projects in the Everglades and looked back to see the reaction of my new guests. They smiled and continued to listen. No spontaneous applause. I won't begrudge them of this reaction. It might be unfair to hold others up to such a high standard - There's really no family quite like the Millers.