Gathered at the edge of a cypress dome, we learn the glop is called periphyton. It's an algae at the lowest level of the food chain that feeds the snails and other critters, regrettably even the mosquito larvae. It is an essential element in the park's ecosystem.
Next, we shuffle inside the cypress dome. We're dozens of miles from the coast so I'm surprised to see a couple of red mangroves growing beside the cypress trees.
Apparently they're reminders of Hurricane Donna in the 1960s, which blew mangrove seeds this far inland.
Birds don't seem to appreciate our intrusion into the small,
isolated forest; we don't hear any bird songs or bird calls. Alligators and none of the area's 27 types of snakes, 4 of them poisonous, are not present, either. Thankfully.