The Florida Wildlife Corridor has been a collaborative effort by the state government, conservation groups and private individuals to preserve public and private lands from the Everglades to Georgia to create a natural swath of land for wildlife to traverse as they migrate in search of food and mates.
According to Florida's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) the state loses about 150,000 acres of rural land each year and the remaining natural lands become criss-crossed by roads. In addition to the loss of crucial habitat, wildlife migrating to other natural areas must traverse dangerous roadways and often fall victim to vehicle collisions. This fragmentation of habitat can be devastating to biodiversity and has been cited as a leading cause of specie extinction throughout the world.
Just as hallways connect the rooms in houses so occupants don't need to go outside to go from room to room, the wildlife corridor project seeks to connect natural protected lands with other nearby natural lands, often passing through existing ranch lands, so wildlife needn't venture into neighborhoods or roadways as they pass from one habitat to another.
The importance of the Florida Wildlife Corridor project was officially recognized by Governor Rick Scott on June 4, 2013 when he and the Florida Cabinet issued a resolution noting the Florida Wildlife Corridor as a visionary project established to connect the remaining natural lands, waters, working farms, forests and ranches from south Florida to across the northern border.
On January 12, 2012, bear biologist Joe Guthrie, conservationist Mallory Lykes Dimmitt and photojournalist Carlton Ward Jr. embarked on a 1,000 mile expedition over 100 days to bring the Florida Wildlife Corridor project to the public's attention and to generate support. The expedition started at the Everglades National Park and ended at Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in southern Georgia. Throughout the expedition the team documented the corridor through photographs, video streams, radio reports, social media updates and hosted activities for guests. Elam Stoltzfus, an award-winning cinematographer, documented the expedition and produced a film highlighting the journey. A book was published with photographs by Carlton Ward Jr. that documents their journey, as well.
Events featuring the members of the exhibition are scheduled throughout the state where the public is invited to meet them and to learn about and discuss the wildlife corridor. For more information about the Florida Wildlife Corridor or to find local events visit their website.