Gary Pappas & National Park staff braving mosquitos to remove trashed tires At Chekika
How many readers of this web site believe that a national park is meant to serve as a dump for unwanted trash? Probably no one reading this page, but some folks apparently DO think of national parks in this manner, if you have big things to get rid of, don’t want to pay landfill fees, and think government should pick up your messes. Maybe don’t think at all, thinking requiring a bit of effort.
The Chekika Unit of Everglades National Park, well known and loved by butterfliers, birders, and wildflower enthusiasts, is also beloved by those with automotive tires – yes, tires – to unload. They have done this with aplomb long enough to amass hundreds of dumped tires in Chekika’s fragile wet prairie habitat.
National Park rangers end up trash hauling to remove unsightly and destructive tires from Chekika – but they have an ally. Gary Pappas, Attorney-at-Law and local environmental advocate, is organizing volunteers to help the Park with tire eradication, with help from MBC.
On behalf of the wildlife that has no voice without us, we thank Gary Pappas for taking action, taking his concerns to our Vice-President for Conservation, Dennis Olle, and taking us along with him in his effort! Over 200 tires have already been removed!
If this looks like hard, dirty work, it is! Protecting our national parks, hands-on, by Park Service staff and dedicated volunteers, is all to often behind the scenes and unrecognized. Kudos to the Chekika Tire Team!
MBC members Hank & Mary Anne Poor, who are also VIPs (Volunteers in the Park) conduct regular butterfly counts at Chekika for the Park. Additionally, twice a year, our chapter implements NABA surveys (Chekika is part of the Shark Valley count circle). Thus, we know Chekika to be, on many occasions, a butterfly extravaganza. The annual July count 2011 recorded hundreds of crescents and peacocks nectaring on Fogfruit (Phyla nodiflora), queens on Spanish Needle (Bidens alba) and skippers on the Salt Marsh Mallow (Kosteletzkya virginica, which also occurs in freshwater wetlands).
Chekika is closed to visitation May 1 – November 30, except by permit of Everglades National Park. If you would like to visit in the height of butterfly season, take part in a NABA count – you can email us about your interest at firstname.lastname@example.org.