The Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition has launched its second effort to publicize the need for continued support for Florida’s wildlife and environmentally sensitive areas. A three-member expedition team, comprised of conservation photographer Carlton Ward, wildlife biologist Joe Guthrie and conservationist Mallory Lykes Dimmitt, will be trekking, paddling and biking for 70 days from Central Florida to the Alabama state line. The public is invited to join the team along the way at various trail mixers and paddling events [See schedule below].
The team left Creek Ranch on Lake Hatchineha in Polk County on January 10 after a launch event hosted by ranch owner and environmental supporter Dameron Black.
“This effort can help protect and preserve Florida’s remaining open lands and wildlife, as well as provide the opportunity for locals and travelers to experience and support Florida’s wildlife,” said Black, who along with his family, has been a long-time supporter of Florida’s wildlife, open land policies, and eco-tourism “We believe this ultimately will create jobs for outfitters and outdoor tour operators as well.”
Sen. Bill Nelson with 2015 expedition team. Photo by Gil Williams.
Ward, a renowned Florida and National Geographic wildlife photographer, led the first Florida Wildlife Corridor expedition in 2012, when a team trekked 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, which comprise the Florida Wildlife Corridor opportunity area. Award-winning cinematographer Elam Stoltzfus documented the expedition to produce a film about the journey and the Florida Wildlife Corridor.
At the recent 2015 launch, U.S. Senator Bill Nelson gave his support to the wildlife effort. “We all need to partner together to protect and preserve Florida’s wildlife and special places for the next generation,” he said to the crowd, which included members of The Nature Conservancy and the media.
The current 1,000 mile expedition runs from January to March and is open to the public. To learn more about experiencing the expedition for yourself or to make a donation, please visit: Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition.
Be a part of the expedition at these Florida Wildlife Corridor trail mixer events:
January 24, 9 a.m. – noon, Rainbow River Paddle
Meeting Location (Put In): Rainbow Springs State Park at the Hickory Pavilion
January 31, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Steinhatchee River Paddle
Meeting Location: Good Times Marina, 7022 SW 358 HWY Steinhatchee, FL 32359
February 7, 9 a.m. – Noon, St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge Hike
Meeting Location: Wakulla Trailhead, Giles-Thompson House
February 21, 9 a.m. – Noon, Owl Creek Paddle
Meeting Location: Hickory Landing at Owl Creek, Apalachicola National Forest,
March 14, 9:30 a.m. – 2 p.m., Blackwater River Paddle
Meeting Location: Blackwater River State Park, 7720 Deaton Bridge Rd., Holt, FL 32564
Please check the Florida Wildlife Corridor website for specific information and to register for events. Space is limited at each event.