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The Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition team has trekked through scrub, swamp and forest from one end of the state to the other. They have documented their journeys in film, books and photography exhibitions with a goal demonstrating the urgent need for an unbroken spine of wilderness running the length of Florida to give wildlife a chance for survival.The third expedition kicked off April 15 and once again, WUSF News reporters are along for the adventure. This time around the explorers want to highlight an area of wilderness in Central Florida that is threatened on all sides by urban development and transportation infrastructure including Interstate 4.WUSF Public Media is a sponsor of the Florida Wildlife Corridor. Follow along on with our reporters on our website and social media accounts on Facebook and on Twitter, using the hashtag #Heartland2Headwaters.

Florida Wildlife Corridor Documentary Premiere Held

Almost 600 people braved the coldest day of the year to watch how four explorers traversed the natural heart of Florida to show a wildlife corridor could still be done in the 21st century.

Credit Steve Newborn / WUSF
Several hundred people watch the documentary premiere on a big screen set up outside the Tampa Bay History Center

Several hundred people attended a premiere showing inside the Tampa Bay History Center that was hosted in part by WUSF Public Media. They were treated to appearances by the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition team - Carlton Ward Jr., a nature photographer from Tampa; filmmaker Elam Stoltzfus of Blountstown, in Florida's Panhandle; bear biologist Joe Guthrie of the University of Kentucky; and Tampa's Mallory Lykes Dimmitt, who now works with the Nature Conservancy's Colorado Plateau Initiative in Telluride, Colo.

Outside - during what organizers had hoped would be one of Florida's picture-perfect spring days - about 400 people donned very un-Florida-like wool hats and thick coats to watch the one-hour documentary on a big screen outside the history center.

Credit Steve Newborn / WUSF
The scene inside the Tampa Bay History Center, as the documentary makes its premiere showing

The group's mission resonated with a lot of these people - save Florida's remaining natural areas in a corridor so that wildlife can migrate between what has become "islands" surrounded by the state's fast-growing population.

The documentary will premiere on broadcast television March 28 on WUSF Public Television, Channel 16. It will then be distributed for showings on public television stations around Florida, and around the country.

You can visit WUSF's complete archive of our stories on the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition by clicking HERE.

To visit the Expedition's web site, click HERE.

Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.
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