Sunday, March 18, 2012

Arthur Marshall Foundation: It's My Everglades

Two months ago I was invited to join a canoe expedition sponsored by the Arthur R. Marshall Foundation. It was my job to document their third consecutive year of traveling the historic River of Grass. The leg of the trip that I joined was from Sawgrass Recreation Park down to the Tamiami Trail, about 76 miles.

Two years ago the expedition started at the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee Wildlife Refuge and planned to follow the water all the way down to Florida Bay, in order to raise awareness of South Florida's need for clean, free-flowing water. Today the expedition has become a massive effort to involve the public, especially children, with Everglades restoration. Embracing the new technologies, we would set up live from-the-field video classrooms using iPads with elementary schools all over south Florida and describe to the students what we saw and experienced while on the water.

I love multi-day expeditions and I jumped at the offer. I made sure to pack as light as possible, even though my camera gear alone weighed 60 pounds. In order to compensate I left all articles of what I deemed "unnecessary" at home only to learn that I would be the only one without a pillow, sleeping pad, or camp chair. Bummer. Fortunately though, I had no problem sleeping after the gourmet meals, provided by the phenomenal cook Gisa Wagner. I'm pretty confident this was the only time I've had lamb stew and fresh broccolini marinara pasta, of course with grated parmesan cheese. This is my style of camping!

On the last night we wanted a group camp photo, so we lit up the tents during a 30 second exposure while people 
walked around the campsite with headlamps ablaze. 

On the last day of our trip we pulled into the Tamiami Trail boat ramp. Only a few hours later, the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition team, Carlton Ward Jr, Joe Gutherie, and Elam Stolzfus rolled in exhausted from the last grueling 5 days of their journey from Florida Bay. When I saw their faces, I felt horribly guilty of those delicious calories I had marinating in my stomach. Well, sort of.

  Carlton Ward Jr portages his kayak over Tamiami Trail

I hope you enjoyed the video. I must say thank you to the Arthur Marshall Foundation and the talented and brilliant paddlers I met while on the trip. I can't wait until next year.  Also a special thank you to Susan Sylvester, who is entirely to credit for any footage I got while on the water. I promise I'll try to rig up a system where I can shoot and paddle at the same time for our next trip!  


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Great pictures and talking about the expedition...enjoyed the making of the night picture with us all walking around with lights. Looking forward to next year! Tomas

  3. Mac, the video turned out great. Really nice summary of the trip and the purpose! A super trip, with super people in a most special place! Susan