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Find Your Flock Birds of a feather flock together! Here are a few locations where you can interact with Florida’s famous flamingos. Flamingo Gardens Flamingo Gardens is a 60-acre botanical garden and Everglades Wildlife Sanctuary, with more than 3,000 species of rare and exotic, tropical, subtropical, and native plants and trees. It’s home to the largest collection of native Florida wildlife including alligators, bobcats, eagles, otters, panthers, peacocks and flamingos! One of the biggest highlights at Flamingo Gardens is the Flamingo Pond where children can feed Caribbean flamingos as they relax in their lush natural environment full of tropical vegetation and sparkling waterfalls. 3750 S. Flamingo Road Davie, FL 33330 (954) 473-2955 Hialeah Park Racing & Casino In 1934, Joseph Widener imported the first flock of flamingos from Cuba to inhabit the infield lake at Hialeah Park. Since then, these colorful birds have become a widely recognized trademark of Hialeah Park and South Florida. The flamingo colony was hatched and raised all at the race track. In fact, Hialeah Park is the only place the species has been successfully reproduced outside its wild state. On racing days, the flamingos take to the air in a breathtaking spectacle known as “The Flight of the Flamingos.” It’s truly a sight you don’t want to miss! 2200 E. 4th Avenue Hialeah, FL 33013 (305) 885-8000

life captured

Melissa Groo

Capturing the Marvels of the Natural World

Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory Walk through a magical environment filled with some of the most vibrant creatures in nature. With more than 50 butterfly species from around the world and 20+ exotic bird species, the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory is sure to amaze. Interact with exotic pink flamingos, Rhett and Scarlett, every Friday as they play with your hair, react to your voice and spread their wings. 1316 Duval Street Key West, FL 33040 (305) 296-2988


elissa Groo is a wildlife photographer, writer and conservationist with a passion for educating people about the marvels of the natural world. She believes that photography can be both fine art and a powerful vehicle for storytelling, and considers herself a “wildlife biographer” as much as a wildlife photographer. It is her mission to raise awareness and change minds about not only the extrinsic beauty of animals, but also their intrinsic worth. Melissa is an associate fellow with the International League of Conservation Photographers. She writes a bimonthly column on wildlife photography for Outdoor Photographer magazine, and is a contributing editor to Audubon magazine. Her work is represented by National Geographic Image Collection. She is passionate about ethics in wildlife photography. She advises the National Audubon Society on photography content and ethics, and created their Guide to Ethical Bird Photography with Kenn Kaufman. She has also advised National Wildlife Magazine and North American Nature Photography Association on guidelines for ethical wildlife photography, and she served as Chair of NANPA’s Ethics Committee from 2014-18. She remains on the Ethics Committee as a member, and also serves on NANPA’s Conservation Committee. In 2017, Melissa was awarded the Katie O’Brien Lifetime Achievement Award by Audubon Connecticut for demonstrating exceptional leadership and commitment to the conservation of birds, other wildlife and their habitats. She also received NANPA’s Vision Award, given to a photographer every two years in recognition of early career excellence, vision and inspiration to others in nature photography, conservation and education. Melissa worked for years at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology on elephant communication in the Bioacoustics Research Program. She was a research assistant for scientist Katy Payne on The Elephant Listening Project, and spent field seasons in the rainforest of central Africa studying forest elephants in the wild, where she learned to listen deeply and watch closely. She’s now back at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, working closely with the Lab’s “Bird Academy” throughout 2019 to create their first online bird photography course, for which she is the instructor. The course is slated for release in spring 2020. Her photographs and articles have been published in numerous magazines including Smithsonian, Audubon, Outdoor Photographer, National Wildlife and Natural History. In 2017, the Melissa Groo Gallery was installed at Audubon Greenwich in Greenwich, Connecticut. Melissa lives in Ithaca, New York.

Sarasota Jungle Gardens Sarasota Jungle Gardens is home to more than 200 native and exotic animals including birds of prey, parrots and macaws, primates, small mammals, snakes, lizards, iguanas, alligators, crocodiles and other reptiles. Sarasota Jungle Gardens is also home to a large number of American flamingos and is one of the few zoos in the United States that allows their flock to roam freely around the park. These long-legged birds are not shy and often greet guests personally. 3701 Bay Shore Road Sarasota, FL 34234 (941) 355-1112 Sunken Gardens Sunken Gardens is a botanical paradise in the middle of a bustling city. This 100-year-old garden is home to 20 Chilean flamingos, lush with exotic plants, waterfalls and flowers. 1825 4th Street N. St. Petersburg, FL 33704 (727) 551-3102

To learn more, visit Follow her on @melissagroo.

Written KELLY BRUCE Photography by MELISSA GROO


September-October 2019

September-October 2019


Profile for Vero Beach Portfolio Magazine

September/October 2019  

Gather your flock! This issue is dedicated to the beautiful islands of the Bahamas. Stunning photography by Melissa Groo of the West Indian...

September/October 2019  

Gather your flock! This issue is dedicated to the beautiful islands of the Bahamas. Stunning photography by Melissa Groo of the West Indian...