Help us reach our Stretch goal of $41,000 to spread our story even further!
Stay tuned for a reward if this goal is met!
Following in the footsteps of a wandering Florida black bear, three friends leave civilization and become immersed in a vast and unexplored wildlife corridor stretching from the Everglades to the Florida-Alabama border. Their rugged thousand-mile journey through Florida’s Forgotten Coast shows us a wilderness that has the potential to change the way we see the natural world. In this magical place, where time seems to stand still, the stuff of legends is real: mermaid-manatees in a crystalline natural spring, dinosaur-like alligator gar lurking in deep waters, and in dark forests, a winged phoenix, the red-cockaded woodpecker, is reclaiming its ancestral home.
But all is not as it seems. Time does not stand still. And with it may go the wild inhabitants of this place, unless we hear their eternal message and translate it into action. On the wind, in the waves, in the trees and under the stars, the return to wild Florida offers us a chance not just to look back in time but to look forward - to a future filled with new hope.
We are using this film as a means of sharing our story - the story of why Florida means something special to each of us and why we feel that it deserves to be protected. Every day, we lose more and more of these wild habitats and more importantly, the corridors that connect each of these areas. We want people to see for themselves how beautiful nature is and why it needs to be protected.
**The film will have its broadcast premiere on Nov 19th via presenting station WUSF-TV in Tampa Bay. It will be available to all PBS stations sometime in 2016. Your help is needed to enhance the distribution of the film (so we can market it to PBS stations and to take it on the road to film festivals) and will allow us to take the film on tour to reach new audiences.**
The Forgotten Coast: Florida Wildlife Corridor Glades to Gulf Expedition will be a 250-page coffee table book showcasing the beauty of wild Florida through our most recent Expedition. The book features the stunning photography of Carlton Ward Jr, and essays from each of the Expedition team members.
Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam contributed the Foreword, and well known Florida journalist and author Carl Hiaasen has recently offered this endorsement: "Carlton Ward’s wonderful photographs remind all of us why we love Florida, and why it's worth fighting for. The team’s journals of their trek though this imperiled paradise are colorful, meticulous, and impassioned. Reading them is the next best thing to being there.”
Our book is another means of reaching out to individuals with our message through the images that were captured and our thoughts that were penned out.
**With your help we will be able to target distribution of the book to retailers large and small (Amazon and Barnes & Noble as well as independent booksellers, visitor center stores, etc). It's our hope to make it available as widely as possible in time for the coming holiday season. Pending funding, we would like to do a book tour with schedule media, bookstore, and festival appearances following publication.**
The film and book are in the final stages of production, but we need your help to spread their message throughout Florida and beyond. The funds raised with Kickstarter will help us share the film and the book with new audiences so that they too will fall in love with Florida and the Corridor idea of "connecting to Keep Florida Wild!"
1. Pledge to our campaign. Any amount will put us that much closer to the goal!
2. Spread the Word. Please tell others about us and be sure to follow us to stay updated on this project! Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for continuous updates. Watch clips from our previous expedition on Youtube. Tag us in your photos of wild florida through Instagram using @fl_wildcorridor or #KeepFLwild, or view images from the Glades to Gulf Expedition by searching #Glades2Gulf.
We aspire to use the film and the book as catalysts to raise the viability of the Florida Wildlife Corridor, and advocate for it's permanent protection. With your support, our team can build on the momentum from the Glades to Gulf Expedition by sharing the story to a growing audience, inspiring others to join in the effort to keep Florida wild.
The Florida Wildlife Corridor, a non-profit campaign, was born in 2010 at a meeting of conservation scientists and practitioners. By integrating Florida’s leading conservation science with compelling fine art images and rich storytelling, we strive to raise awareness about the Corridor and the need to connect and protect it. The centerpiece of our awareness campaign is the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expeditions.
On January 17, 2012 our first expedition, Everglades to Okeefenokee, laid the foundation for this work with a robust media campaign to share the Corridor concept and vision. Bear biologist Joe Guthrie, conservationist Mallory Lykes Dimmitt, photojournalist Carlton Ward Jr., and filmmaker Elam Stoltzfus trekked 1000 miles for 100 days from the Everglades National Park toward Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in southern Georgia. The travelers traversed the wildlife habitats, watersheds, and participating working farms and ranches that comprise the Florida Wildlife Corridor opportunity area.
The team documented the corridor through photography, video, radio reports, daily updates on social media and other digital networks. They also organized a host of activities for reporters, landowners, conservationists, politicians and other guests. Award-winning cinematographer Elam Stoltzfus documented the Expedition to produce a film about the journey and the Florida Wildlife Corridor. The resulting film Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition: Everglades to Okefenokee is available for rent or purchase on Vimeo on Demand.
In 2015 the team continued the journey with another one thousand mile trek, this time, heading north and west across the Florida panhandle to Alabama.
MEET THE TEAM
Mallory Lykes Dimmitt is a seventh generation Floridian whose childhood was partly spent exploring the lands and waters of central Florida. She pursued her passion for the outdoors by receiving her B.S. in Natural Resources from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. She was also awarded a Doris Duke Conservation Fellowship at Duke University’s Nicholas School of Environment where she earned a Master’s of Environmental Management.
Some of Mallory’s projects include protecting river corridors and large landscapes in Colorado and the West with The Nature Conservancy, research in Sri Lanka for the International Water Management Institute and strategic planning and organizational development with Legacy Institute for Nature & Culture (LINC).
Carlton Ward Jr is a conservation photographer from Tampa, Florida. His passion for nature was born from the Florida landscape, where eight generations of family history have grounded his perspective.
Carlton is a founding fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP). He also founded the Legacy Institute for Nature & Culture (LINC), a non-profit organization with the purpose of celebrating and protecting Florida’s natural and cultural heritage through art. While completing a Master’s degree in Ecology, Carlton wrote “Conservation Photography”, the first thesis on the emerging field. His 2009 Book, Florida Cowboys, won a silver medal in the Florida Book Awards, and for that work Popular Photography Magazine featured him as one of three photographers working to save vanishing America.
Carlton’s current focus is the Florida Wildlife Corridor, a public awareness initiative he established in 2009. In 2012, he co-led the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition – a 100-day, 1000-mile trek that explored the last remaining natural path through the length of the Florida peninsula. Carlton’s book about the trek, Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition: Everglades to Okefenokee, won a silver medal in the 2014 Florida book awards.
Joe Guthrie is a wildlife biologist based in Charlottesville, Virginia. He is a graduate of Centre College with a bachelor’s degree in English, as well as a Master’s of Science in Forestry from the University of Kentucky.
Some of Joe’s projects include working for the National Wildlife Refuge Association in collaboration with USFWS Region 4 officials to help the agency partners prioritize the Gulf of Mexico restoration project, data collection and data management for At-Risk Species in the Southeast.
Through Joe’s graduate school research, he worked to put GPS collars on bears in South Central Florida with the University of Kentucky and Archbold Biological station. The data collected from the GPS collars provided justification for the establishment of Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge and ultimately was the inspiration for the 2012 Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition.
As a way of thanking you for your support, here is a sneak peak at some of the rewards coming your way!
DVD: The Forgotten Coast: Return to Wild Florida.
Book: The Forgotten Coast
Softcover edition available starting at the $75 pledge level.
Hardcover, signed edition available starting at the $125 pledge level.
Risks and challenges
The planning and undertaking two Expeditions and the production of a film and book following each has already served to bring together a team of dedicated individuals with a shared mission of protecting wild Florida. Together, we're now focusing our efforts on making sure the stories of the Corridor and the Expeditions are heard by the widest audience possible, as it will take a critical mass of people who care to influence the permanent protection of the Corridor. Your help will assist us in carrying out our post-production and distribution goals, which are an essential first step in the strategy to keep Florida wild.
One of the challenges is publishing the book in time for the November film premieres and the upcoming holiday season, where the opportunity for book sales are high. The printer is working hard to make this possible! We'll then need distribution and fulfillment assistance to get the books to retailers and individual purchasers.
- (37 days)