Well, the whole of Florida is a bit of a Zoo, that is for sure.
Even for conference people that didn’t have the time to go out all day, like us, there was plenty of wildlife to discover.
I always have that impression with North America, that it has plenty of wildlife, living close enough to humans to be spotted (and maybe even being less afraid than their European counterparts, but that’s only a wild hypothesis).
Luckily, it also seems that the United States have a very well organised system of National Parks, as well, there to protect the nature and wildlife. I saw lots of talks at the ESA ecology conference from American park scientists and what they are doing, and that was an impressive set of presentations.
That is the merits of being in applied ecology, you see the immediate impact of what you are working on, in contrast with the theoretical work that is the biggest part of what I focus on. I am very happy with my role, though – doing what I do best – but it was surely enlightening to see the other side of the ecological spectrum once again up close.