Sawgrass Prairie 360

Ever wonder how the Everglades came to be known as the “river of grass?” Explore the amazing world of the sawgrass prairie with us and you’ll get it.

Watch the video, use the field guide (click the button below) and take the quiz to identify three things you might encounter in an Everglades sawgrass prairie. Good luck!

Tag # 1 – Identify the plant, animal or feature:

Tag #2: Identify the plant, animal or feature

Tag #3: Identify the plant, animal or feature

The Seminole Indians gave a name to the Everglades: Pa-hay-okee. This name translates to “grassy waters.” Later, the writer Marjorie Stoneman Douglass borrowed the Seminole’s description in her famous book The Everglades: River of Grass. In many ways, the vast sawgrass prairies define the Everglades.

This marshy habitat is more than just water and sawgrass. It’s actually a diverse and very dynamic place. During the summer rainy season, these habitats are filled with shallow, slow-flowing fresh water and they teem with fish, snails, crustaceans…all kinds of aquatic animals. During the winter dry season, however, these prairies can dry down completely. This causes the aquatic animals that live there to concentrate into deeper pools of remaining water…making them easy picking for wading birds and other predators!

The sawgrass, or marl prairie is where the Everglades gets its nickname: the River of Grass. These vast “prairies” are really shallow marshes filled with slow-flowing water for most of the year. During the dry season, however, they can dry out completely.

During the wet season, small fish, snails and other small aquatic animals, have lots of space to feed and reproduce. This is important for predators like wading birds that need a reliable source of food.

We’re going to explore the sawgrass prairie and you’re going to be on the look-out for three specific things you might find here. Listen for this sound, and look for a symbol that looks like this. Use your field guide found on this page on Odyssey to identify each of those things. Let’s go!