Environment

Steve Newborn

KISSIMMEE - The Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition has emerged from the wilderness and is now skirting around Orlando's suburban sprawl. The group recently stopped at the Disney Wilderness Preserve on horseback, and they received an unexpected gift - from President Obama.

After trudging an untold number of miles under the weight of a 60 pound backpack...

SOUND: horse snorting.

...there's nothing like strutting into your next stop atop a horse.

Steve Newborn

KISSIMMEE - The Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition neared civilization today. The group stopped at a wilderness preserve on the edge of Orlando’s sprawl, where they received an unexpected gift - from President Obama.

The gift was a copy of both the expedition’s route map through Florida and a photograph by group member Carlton Ward Jr. – both signed by the president. The items were brought to the White House by members of the Northern Everglades Alliance, which is trying to protect the headwaters of the Kissimmee River.

Steve Newborn

LAKE PLACID - The Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition is nearing the halfway mark of their trip up the length of Florida - 1,000 miles in 100 days. Their mission is to publicize the need to connect the state's disjointed wild areas into a continuous wildlife corridor. WUSF's Steve Newborn recently caught up with the group for an update.

Deadly US 27 Crash Caused by Smoke and Fog

Mar 6, 2012
Bay News 9

There's been a deadly vehicle pile up on US Highway 27, in Polk County around the Lake Wales area.

Police say one person is dead, and several are injured in the 9-vehicle crash.

Around 5 this morning, a truck  traveling southbound crossed the median and hit an SUV. Then, motorcyclist Frederick Wood of Frostproof crashed into them and was killed.

AVON PARK - There are more than just birds and alligators being encountered by the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition as they make their way up the middle of Florida. Try bombs. And jets. And attack helicopters. Members of the Expedition camped for a couple of days at the Avon Park Bombing Range, where they witnessed how F-16's making practice strafing runs coexist with some of the rarest creatures in Florida.

WUSF's Carson Cooper talks about their latest stop with expedition member and filmmaker Elam Stoltzfus.

Remember earlier this year when we reported on the fiery end to the "Senator", a 3500-year-old cypress tree in Seminole County? It was the centerpiece of Big Tree Park near Longwood, and was a tourist attraction long before the states' theme parks.

Now authorities have charged a 26-year-old meth addict with setting the fire.  Beth Kassab, a columnist for the Orlando Sentinel, says it's a sad but unsurprising outcome to a long history of neglect:

P.L. Bartow Steam Power Plant Demolished

Feb 28, 2012
Bay News 9

If you've come across the Gandy Bridge from Tampa to St. Petersburg, you've seen them -- the three smokestacks of the P. L. Bartow Steam Power plant.

Now, they're gone.  At exactly 10 this morning, those smokestacks came tumbling down.

The explosives go off first, followed by the rumbling of a power plant and its three smokestacks falling down like trees being cut down in a forest.

The power plant has not been used since 2009 when Progress Energy replaced it. The new plant makes more electricity and reduced emissions by 80%, according to the company.

AP

Scientists breed dangerous animals in a wild, semi-tropical locale. They promise that they'll NEVER get out.

Sounds like the start of "Jurassic Park," right?

Actually, it's a plan by several Florida zoos, including Lowry Park in Tampa, to breed rhinos, elephants, giraffes and other hooved animals on land owned by the state of Florida.

St. Petersburg Times

They've been part of the Tampa Bay landscape for more than 50 years.  The three large smokestacks at the old P. L. Bartow Steam Power Plant will be imploded today.  Demolition crews plant to bring them down at 10:00 am.  They expect it to take all of ten seconds.

The plant is located on Weedon Island in St. Petersburg.  The old steam plant was closed in June 2009 and replaced with a natural gas-fired plant.

The original plant was dedicated in September 1958.  

Steve Newborn

LAKE PLACID - It all starts with the man who designed the Brooklyn Bridge. His grandson - John Roebling II - inherited more than 1,000 acres in Highlands County, and gave it to Richard Archbold, an aviator and explorer of exotic places such as Madagascar and New Guinea. It's now Archbold Biological Station.

The Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition has just come out of one of the wildest places in Florida - if not the entire country - the Fakahatchee strand. We also speak with Mallory Lykes Dimmitt on how the Babcock Ranch Preserve is faring as a publically-run ranch.

 

CALOOSAHATCHEE RIVER - The Florida Panther is fighting its way back from the brink of extinction, and members of the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition are seeing signs of the panther in their travels.

But the panther faces many dangers, as photojournalist and expedition member Carlton Ward Jr. tells WUSF.

A new study has some shocking news about wildlife in the Everglades. Raccoon and opossum sightings are down by 99 percent. Marsh rabbits and brown bunnies can’t be found at all. Sightings of bobcats, foxes and deer are also way down.

The culprit? Invasive species, like the Burmese Python. We discuss the impacts of invasive species with wildlife biologist Joe Guthrie as he hikes through the deepest, wildest parts of the Everglades.

You can see videos and photos of the expedition by clicking HERE.

Photo courtesy Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition

A group of wildlife conservationists are currently traversing the length of Florida by kayak, bicycle - and on foot. It's one thousand miles in one hundred days, and WUSF is keeping up with the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition. They're calling attention to the need to connect the state's disjointed wild areas into a contiguous wildlife corridor.

They began two weeks ago at the tip of the Everglades, and they've paddled through some of the remotest swamps in Florida. But still, they say even places people seldom visit have been affected by the hand of man.

Steve Newborn

One thousand miles in 100 days. That's the goal of a wildlife expedition that's calling attention to the need to connect the state's disjointed wild areas into a contiguous wildlife corridor. Today, the group is paddling through some of the most remote swamps in the Everglades.

Steve Newborn/WUSF

 Four wildlife conservationists are paddling, hiking and biking through the wild heart of Florida. Their mission: to call attention to the need to connect the state's disjointed wildlife preserves into a corridor stretching from the Everglades to the Okeefenokee Swamp.

 A group of wildlife conservationists are camped at the southern tip of the Everglades, ready to take the first step in a thousand-mile journey up the central spine of Florida. Their mission: publicizing the need to connect the state's disjointed natural areas into a continuous wildlife corridor.

Florida House of Representatives

Shortly before the Deepwater Horizon exploded in the Gulf, the Florida House spent $200,000 for a study of oil drilling off Florida's coast which said any spills would be rare, small and easily contained.

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