By Michael Lanza
Under a hot February sun and cloudless sky, we launch our kayaks from a tiny spot of sandy beach into the perfectly still, dark-chocolate waters of the East River in South Florida’s Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park. Within minutes, flocks of snowy egrets fly in close formation overhead. White ibises, black anhingas, tri-colored herons, and brown pelicans flap above the wide river and the green walls of forest on both sides. Great blue herons lift off effortlessly and glide on wings whose span equals an average human’s height.