Development in Florida continues to boom.
In the late 1940s Congress authorized the Central and South Florida Project. The project forever changed the water flow from the Orlando area to the Everglades in South Florida.
Development also meant building on sawgrass and swamp land.
“Previous generations did everything they could to drain the swamps and cut down the Everglades, and now, the state is going back and saying, ‘Hey, wait a minute,’” said Sam Haught, the co-owner and co-founder of Wild Florida Airboats.
“Finally people are recognizing the Everglades are actually one of the most unique places on planet Earth, and just an incredible natural resource. Now, we’re doing everything we can to restore them to their natural flow,’” Sam said.
Here are a few groups that want to help you explore, restore, and protect Florida’s natural beauty:
Florida Conservation Coalition
FCC is a coalition of over 80 conservation-minded organizations in Florida. Ranging from a garden club in Dade City to state-wide groups, the organization works with the conservation community to build consensus on important environmental issues and organize as a united front.
Founded by former Florida governor & U.S. senator Bob Graham, the group wants to educate the public on environmental policy and turn them into advocates for Florida’s wildlife
Florida Trail Association
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The FTA works to protect and promote the Florida Trail, which extends 1,300 miles from the Big Cypress National Preserve in South Florida to the Gulf Islands National Seashore, just a few miles from Pensacola.
The Florida Trail is only one of 11 National Scenic Trails in the U.S. The other long-distance hiking trails include the Appalachian Trail and the Continental Divide Trail. The idea for a trail in Florida came to avid hiker James Kern as he trekked the Appalachian Trail in the early 1960s.
FTA’s Central Florida chapter is one of 18 chapters in the state and they regularly meet for hikes and volunteer events to help maintain the trail and assisting with projects like stabilizing water crossings.
Audubon Florida advocates for the protection of state’s land, water, and wildlife. It measures ecological health using scientific research and studying the wild birds it cares for.
At their Audubon Center for Birds of Prey in Maitland, the group rescues, rehabilitates, and releases birds like bald eagles, owls, and falcons. And with over 600 bird patients, the center offers many volunteer opportunities.
The Orange County Audubon chapter organizes monthly field trips, birdwatching events, and hosts an annual nature photo contest.