South Florida was once a large series of wetlands that ran from the Kissimme River down to the Biscayne Bay. The numerous ponds, slough, sawgrass marshes, hardwood hammock and forested uplands were the basis of an intricate ecosystem that was home to many unique plants and animals. Unfortunately this amazing wetlands was a nightmare for early settlers that were looking for land to settle, farm, and graze their livestock. As these settles began to drain portions of the wetlands the fragile ecosystem began to suffer. Species at the top of the food chain, like the osprey above, were lead indicators of the damage to the environment.
By 1900 early environmentalists and conservationist became concerned about the impact that people were having on the habitat. Besides draining the wetlands, hunters were also killing millions of the wading birds, like the white ibis above. In 1900 Florida instituted a ban on plume hunting in southern Florida but many people were making a living off slaughtering these birds. The ban lead to tensions that eventually got conservation officers killed. In 1928 Ernest Coe began an effort to create the Everglades National Park and in 1934 congress finally designated the park. It took supports another 13 years to purchase the land and in 1947 the Everglades National Park was dedicated.