National Geographic Grantee and photographer Carlton Ward is two weeks into a 100-day, 1,000-mile-long trek through the Florida Wildlife Corridor. He’s joined by bear biologist Joe Guthrie, conservationist Mallory Lykes Dimmitt, and filmmaker Elam Stoltzfus as they traverse dense forests, sacred lands, rivers, lakes, and swamps crowded with tropical mangroves, all to bring awareness to the beauty and natural wonder of the Florida Everglades.
The Florida Wildlife Corridor project, funded partially by the National Geographic Society, is a collaborative effort to reconnect lands, waters, and working farms that have been separated by encroaching urban development extending from the bottom of Florida’s Everglades to Georgia. In order to mend the gap between local people and wildlife inhabiting the corridor, Carlton and his team hope to show Floridians firsthand through videos, photos, and daily updates how breathtaking the biodiversity in their own backyard really is. Just by watching Carlton’s interviews and reading the expedition team’s daily updates on their blog and Twitter account, you truly get a sense of the project’s sincere objectives, not to mention the glowing pride they have for their home state.
The group began their journey in Florida Bay, at the very tip of the Everglades National Park. Kayaking, biking and hiking- the team of four has made their way through some of Florida’s wildest regions, covering between 10 to 30 miles per day.
Both Carlton Ward and Joe Guthrie regularly update the website’s blog where in one entry Joe describes their passage through the Everglades Tree Islands in visceral detail: “The black surface of the water and the big cumulus clouds caught the slant of the sun, and the green grasses shone in the afternoon light. The beauty of the surrounding marsh was nearly enough to distract us from the real importance to conservation and restoration of the Everglades that the tree island itself represents.”
Carlton and his team will surely encounter many other wondrous and beautiful sights on their adventure. Their passionate enterprise to increase public awareness for the Corridor idea through a broad-reaching media campaign will undoubtedly continue to build momentum in the weeks to follow. Look forward to more posts on their progress!
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