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Holton Creek Panoramic by John Moran

Suwannee Under the Stars

Dear <<First Name>>,

 

It is with great pleasure that I share my reflections from an inspiring weekend on the Suwannee River. The Florida Wildlife Corridor joined a young Floridian – Oscar Psychas – on a portion of his 300 mile “Walk for Wild Florida” from Gainesville to Tallahassee to bring attention to the need for more funding for state land protection programs like Florida Forever. We will feature Oscar’s story in our April newsletter with an exciting 360 Virtual Reality video so that you can walk (and paddle) alongside us.

Our journey took us to a stretch of the Suwannee River near Live Oak in northern Florida. This areas is one of 10 Critical Linkages in the Corridor that we are highlighting as most in need of urgent protection. If privately owned lands and waters here are not protected, the connectivity along this essential east-west connector will be lost forever. The Suwannee River – which is born in the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia - is a blackwater river, with color like strong sweet tea. It is fed by underground springs and surrounded by sinkholes and swallows. Drifting down the river in a canoe brings you past white, sandy inlets, through towering wooded bluffs and past karst features that appear like skulls in a grotto. The reflection of the rocky bluffs is both spooky and surreal, causing pause to ponder the dynamic geological processes that continue to shape this river.  

Following an intense day of travel and video shoots, I left the campfire and walked down to the river for a moment of quiet reflection. As I looked up, I was literally breathless. Devoid of all artificial light and with a new moon, the sky was completely illuminated by stars. Without hesitating, I dove into the black water, flipped onto my back and floated weightlessly - taking in the vastness and beauty. It affected me in a profound and incredibly personal way and reinforced why our mission – to connect and protect wild places – is not only my career but my life’s greatest passion.

As I shivered slightly in the chilly water, I thought about nature’s ability to heal, restore and inspire. In the book “Blue Mind,” author and marine biologist Wallace Nichols describes the neurological, psychological and emotional changes our brains experience when we are close to water. He makes the case that we seek out water because we instinctively know it makes us happier, more peaceful, emotionally healthy, and more successful in life and love. I felt that deep connection and restoration along the river, and you likely have experienced it, too, in your own special place.

Nature is worth preserving because it is vital not only for wildlife, but because it renews our senses, spirit and soul. And, with your help, we will continue to connect and protect these wild and wonderful water (and land) scapes for generations to come!
 
Yours in Conservation, 


Lindsay Cross
Executive Director

              
            Lindsay Cross, Executive Director, on the Suwannee River.
Past Events


Watch Florida Wildlife Corridor team up with Let's Move! Outside-Tampa and
FYCCN on the
 Morning Blend!




Upcoming Events



April 21st

THE FORGOTTEN COAST will be available on PBS nationwide starting on April 21st. Contact your local PBS affiliate to request the broadcast in your area! 





May 2nd

Give where you
live for the annual
Give Day Tampa Bay!
Tampa Bay area,
FL

 

Partner Progress

                      






The Florida Wildlife Corridor teamed up with the Florida Youth Conservation Centers Network (FYCCN) and the Let's Move! Outside- Tampa initiative to help underserved youth from the greater Tampa Bay area [watch the video here]. Over two different weekends, in an experience of a lifetime, they went kayaking, swimming, and snorkeling with manatees at Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge. This is the first of three field trips to help remove some of the barriers for these kids to learn to enjoy their Florida and visit areas supported by the Corridor.

Florida youth often don’t get the opportunity to explore parts of Florida that are closer than they might think. The participants viewed the Forgotten Coast film to learn more about Florida’s wild places and how conservationists are working to protect them. They were then able to visit the Crystal Springs area featured in the journey- just over an hour away from them. In the colder months the manatees are present in the springs since the water is a constant 72 degrees, which means they had the opportunity to experience these wonderful animals up close.

Providing a safe place for these kids to kayak, snorkel, and enjoy the springs - many for the first time ever - can instill a lifelong love of the outdoors. These opportunities help ensure that the next generation will treasure and protect these wild spaces. In this collaborative effort, we encouraged youth to learn new skills, engage with others, and develop confidence on the water. Partnerships, like these between Florida Wildlife Corridor, FYCCN and Let's Move Outside, can help us all accomplish more by sharing resources and engaging broader sections of our community in programs that combine conservation, education and recreation.


A big thanks to Florida Eco-Adventures, Wendy's of Crystal River, Brother’s pizza, USF- St. Pete Rec Center’s Kaitlyn Mollo, and Friends, staff, and volunteers of Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge. Our success stems from your dedication!

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Florida Wildlife Corridor
PO Box 1802
Tampa, FL 36601

Interested in becoming a volunteer or an intern for the Florida Wildlife Corridor? Please email us at floridawildlifecorridor@gmail.com for more information.

The Florida Wildlife Corridor is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law. Copyright © 2016. All rights reserved.

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