The third post in the Photo of the Month series is from the Shark Valley Loop Road in the Florida Everglades. Each month, I select one photo from the ClipPix ETC website and suggest discussion questions and connections to other FCIT resources.

Nate Wolkenhauer took this photo in March of 2012. It’s one of over 130 photos of Shark Valley and over 1400 photos of the Everglades on the ClipPix ETC website. Visiting Shark Valley is one of the easiest ways of experiencing the Everglades. Tran tours and rental bikes are available to tour the 15-mile loop road. You won’t encounter any sharks in “Shark Valley,” but you will encounter countless alligators sunning themselves beside the trail or sometimes even across the trail. Watch your step!


  • From the photo, Shark “Valley” doesn’t look like much of a valley. In fact, it’s actually a slough. Can you find out what a slough is? What is the other major slough in the Everglades?
  • The Everglades is often called a “River of Grass.” There appear to be islands in the photo. Can you find out what these islands are called? (HINT: It’s the same word that we use for a type of hanging bed.) What kinds of plants and animals live on these “islands”?

Exploring Everglades Maps

This search of the Maps ETC website will return over 150 maps of the Everglades region from 1839 through 2009.

  • How has our understanding of the Everglades changed over the past two centuries?
  • How has the size of the Everglades changed during this time?

All Things Water Podcasts

Learn about wetlands and the water cycle from the podcast series FCIT created for the Southwest Florida Water Management District. View on the SWFWMD website or on iTunes. There is also a collection of related photos on the ClipPix ETC website.

  • Why are wetlands such as the Everglades, important to people, plants, and animals?
  • What can be done to restore lost wetlands?


Sawgrass isn’t actually a type of grass at all. It’s a member of the sedge family and “sedges have edges”! The edges of sawgrass are like little saws. It’s easy to get cut by them. View over 50 photos of sawgrass on the ClipPix ETC website.

  • What advantage do the sharp edges give the sawgrass plant?
  • What are the important ways sawgrass contributes to the ecosystem of the Everglades?

Roy Winkelman is a 40+ year veteran teacher of students from every level kindergarten through graduate school. As the former Director of FCIT, he began the Center's focus on providing students with rich content collections from which to build their understanding. When not glued to his keyboard, Dr. Winkelman can usually be found puttering around his tomato garden in Pittsburgh. Questions about this post or suggestions for a future topic? Email me at To ensure that your email is not blocked, please do not change the subject line. Thank you!

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