"I have enough knowledge about the technical side of planning, but that's not my forte," she says. "My absolute strength is the people side, and working with people's behavior and attitude toward money." After she understands a person's financial goals and feelings regarding money, she'll often team up with one of the firm's technical staff to construct an appropriate portfolio of mutual funds.

Siegel imparts the personal approach to planning when she teaches the CFP curriculum at the University of Miami. "To be a good planner you must get into somebody's heart," she says. "I know that's not for everybody, particularly for advisors who are more into the science of investment portfolios. But I think it's important to get that point across."

Back in the 1970s, Siegel and her then-boyfriend went on a bird watching tour in the Everglades just for kicks. "We were laughing at these little old ladies in tennis shoes who were making lists and happily chirping away at the birds they saw in the trees," she recalls. "By day's end we thought it was a lot of fun. We got it."

And she hasn't let go since. Bird watching and trips into the Everglades became Siegel's hobbies, and she went on many overnight camping jaunts sponsored by the national park. One day, she ran across a guy in khaki (as opposed to the park staff's gray and green duds), with a patch on his arm signifying his volunteer status. Years before, Siegel created a junior high environmental curriculum for the first Earth Day, and she thought volunteer work for the park service would mesh with her interest in nature.

She applied and was accepted because of her educational background. That was seven years ago, and her private tours have slowly gained traction since thanks to word-of-mouth advertising and a little self-promotion.

"This year I finally hit critical mass because people heard what I do," says Siegel. Her Everglades expeditions include Girl Scout troops, Jewish groups, and dads and daughters. After she made a hydrology presentation at a Rotary Club of Miami meeting, the club decided that a romp in the Everglades would make a great family outing. Every year, Siegel organizes an Everglades Appreciation Day, sending out flyers to everyone she knows and getting her boss at The Enrichment Group to send out flyers to all of the firm's clients.

Her appreciation day is a multi-part affair that includes "dry and safe" hikes to view both flora and fauna, a slog through the ankle-deep marshy water that courses through the Everglades, and a sunset boat ride on Florida Bay off the mainland's southern tip.

Still, winning converts to the Everglades isn't easy. "Most people have a good time and enjoy the learning experience, but most people don't come back," says Siegel. "The Everglades are a tough sell," she continues, laughing while making a sweeping arm motion over the landscape. "Look at it!"

Depending on one's viewpoint, the Everglades can be either monotonous or fascinating. The terrain is essentially a flat, marshy prairie of sawgrass, shallow water and tree-covered islands called hammocks. Nonetheless, the Everglades are subtly spectacular in a way that can't be fully grasped solely from behind a windshield.

On this winter day during the half-year dry season, when bugs and humidity aren't a big problem, Siegel, her boyfriend, Jeff, and a guest went by airboat into the bush to the hunting lodge of one of her clients. Birds circled over the tawny prairie as the boat smoothly skimmed across the shallow water. It passed a few alligators along the way, and in the distance some deer splashed through the swampy grass. The scene vaguely resembled something from Africa's Serengeti Plain.