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Writing Portfolio

Helen Anne Travis covered breaking news for five years at the Pulitzer Prize-winning Tampa Bay Times. Her work has since appeared in CNN, Globe and Mail and The Guardian, among other publications.

Top Ways To Experience Florida’s Everglades For CNN

Before the theme parks and the towering beachside condos, before the headlines about zombie cats and jokes about retirement homes, Florida was a wild (literally) place.

Foremost among its feral stretches was the area now known as Everglades National Park, which covers 1.5 million acres of marshes, lakes and sawgrass prairie.

Here crocodiles, alligators and manatees still swim in miles of rivers and streams, and more than 300 species of birds make their nests among the largest mangrove ecosystem in the Western Hemisphere.

The Everglades was the first U.S. national park set aside for its biodiversity.

Nine ecosystems, ranging from coral-lined bays to oak tree islands, support a network of plants and animals that can’t be found anywhere else on Earth.

The park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, right up there with the Grand Canyon and Stonehenge.

Here are the best ways to explore Florida’s proverbial “river of grass.”

Read more on CNN »

Malta Beyond The Games Of Thrones, The Globe And Mail

For thronies, as the show’s rabid fanbase is sometimes called, a Mdina visit is equivalent to a Twilight reader’s pilgrimage to Forks, Wash., or a Seinfeld fan’s photo op in front of Tom’s Restaurant in New York. The walled city is also a popular stop for day-trippers ticking off their Malta must-see list while their cruise is in port for the afternoon.

But on this November evening the film crews and cruise passengers are long gone. This Mdina visit is not about a TV show, or part of a harried group tour. I am here to see why the former capital of this tiny island country is nicknamed the Silent City.

Read more on The Globe And Mail »

How Not To Be A Jerk When You Swim With Manatees, Yahoo Travel

Citrus County, Fla., is the only place in North America where you can legally swim with manatees in their natural habitat. Hundreds of these endangered marine mammals, which look like an adorable cross between a seal and a potato, gather in the area’s rivers to wait out the winter in the 72-degree spring water. More than 100,000 travelers from around the world come to swim with the 1,300-pound vegetarians.

But things could change. Concerned about the safety of the animals, some groups would like to limit swimmers’ access to the manatees’ annual winter party.

To ensure the safety of the animals and keep the springs open to future visitors, follow these six tips to avoid acting like a jerk when you swim with manatees.

Keep reading on Yahoo Travel »