Back in 2012, four explorers spent 100 days walking and kayaking 1,000 miles up the length of Florida, from the tip of the Everglades to the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia. The mission – to publicize the need to connect the state’s remaining wild areas.
This year, the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition is back.
Three of the members have reunited. Beginning Saturday they’ll meet up at the Creek Ranch in Polk County and begin a 70-day, 925-mile journey once again through the wild heart of the state. This time, they’ll go west, traveling through the Green Swamp, the Big Bend area and crossing Florida’s Panhandle, all the way to the Alabama state line.
The members - conservationist Mallory Lykes Dimmitt, Tampa nature photographer Carlton Ward Jr. and bear biologist Joe Guthrie - met up Thursday night at the Florida Aquarium to hold a bon voyage ceremony. Tampa native Dimmitt is the expedition's organizer.
"The time is now for protecting corridors statewide for the future," she said during the event. "It could not be more important than right now, and luckily, through the passage of Amendment 1, there is funding in place to fund this. So we're going to do our part and get it done."
WUSF plans to check in with them every week of the journey – and their quest to unite a patchwork of natural areas for wildlife to roam – before it’s too late.
They recently were in the WUSF studios for a taping of Florida Matters. You can listen to it here.
And you can revisit our coverage of the original 2012 expedition in our archives.