Thursday, March 29, 2012

Florida Wildlife Corridor

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Imagine a contiguous chain of properties – public and private – that together form a corridor reaching from the Everglades in South Florida to the Okeefenokee National Wildlife Refuge  in South Georgia.  Now imagine this land to be forever protected for wildlife to be able to move freely along the entire corridor.  That was the vision of photojournalist Carlton Ward Jr who began acting on it several  years ago.  After making connections and promoting the idea (at least for consideration) to many private landholders and ranchers, the corridor began to move from dream to reality.  
Today, Carlton -- along with  conservationist Mallory Dimmitt, bear biologist, Joe Guthrie, and videographer, Elam Stoltzfus -- is two-thirds of the way through an ambitious expedition – walking, paddling, and bicycling 1000 miles in 100 days, -- following what will hopefully become  the Florida Forever Wildlife Corridor. Learn more at the link
I am one of a cadre of photographers participating in the project by documenting parts of the journey and photographing key properties along the way.  My assigned property is the Kissimmee St Johns River Connector  a bit north of Lake Okeechobee where I spent 3 days shooting earlier this month.  Here are a few images from my mini-expedition (including photos above).
Later that week, using coordinates forwarded to me by Carlton, I drove further north in search of the expedition team.  My phone gps led me onto a working cattle ranch west of Melbourne, along a maze of private dirt roads, and through four gates before it declared that I had arrived.  Hmmm… I was still in a cow pasture.  I switched to compass and chose additional (and deteriorating) roads that moved me closer to Lake Winder where the group was supposed to be camping that night.  Passing through one last primitive barbed-wire gate and down a narrow lane bordering a wetland, I was thrilled (astonished really) to see kayaks, tents, and trekkers under a big live oak near the lake right in front of me.  Here are some photos I made while visiting with the expedition that afternoon and the next morning.


Florida Wildlife Corridor Pathfinders: may your journey succeed in every way!


Lou Kellenberger's Nature Diary said...

Great pictures and update on the Florida Wildlife Corridor expedition David. Thanks for showing us their progress through your eyes... Lou

Rick said...

I caught up with them today- what wonderful folks. Your images make it easy to understand why their work is so important...

Anonymous said...

I'm sure your pictures will help to convince people that this is something that is important and necessary to Florida.


Sharon Sherman said...

Your photos are amazing!!!! Saw your cover photo on 1000 Friends and continued through the magazine. Passed on the web site to my friends.Thank you for the beauty.

david moynahan said...

Thanks to all. I haven't seen the 1000 Friends magazine yet. Hot off the press.
The Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition finished their amazing journey right on time for Earth Day!