A Retreat to the Everglades
Shark Valley | Everglades National Park
For our annual work retreat we set out to take a moment to revel in the positive impacts we have accomplished in our 6th year of business and re-evaluate ways to be most efficient and impactful for ourselves, our team, and our clients. We take this time to revitalize as a team, outside of the office, so we may continue to evolve as designers as well as community leaders. While our retreat location changes each year, they all have at least one thing in common — the outdoors.
“I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.”
Our 2016 excursion lead us to a nearby refuge so we could once again immerse and absorb the natural beauty of Florida, unknown by most of the world. As little as 30 minutes north, west, and south of our home in Fort Lauderdale, are over 11,000 square miles of pure, subtropical wetlands. The Everglades National Park, established in 1947, it’s the largest national park east of the Mississippi, and the third largest in the continental United States.
“There are no other Everglades in the world. They are, they have always been, one of the unique regions of the earth, remote, never wholly known. Nothing anywhere else is like them…”
Marjory Stoneman Douglas
We packed up our bikes and headed south to Shark Valley, the eastern portion of Everglades National Park. The 15-mile loop of Shark Valley tells a story with its natural soundtrack of whispering sawgrass and the melodic songs from the area’s expansive bird population. As we take in the peaceful views, we intermittently ride by the resident sleeping alligators (39 alligators to be exact!). Spending life outdoors are words we live by and when we have a chance to visit untouched environments, such as the Everglades, we are reminded how urban our lives really have become. We head back with clear heads and the gentle reminder why we chose the profession of Landscape Architecture. We are stewards of the land. We understand how important our work is – blending nature into our urban lifestyle with the hopes of improving quality of life and sustaining our well-being.