“It is the singular most important documentary ever made of the plight, the successes and the prospects for solutions to vexing problems on the Everglades’ restoration.”
– Nathaniel Reed Co-Founder of the Everglades Foundation Assistant Secretary of Interior under Nixon and Ford
Flowing southward for hundreds of miles from its headwaters near Kissimmee to the Gulf of Mexico, Florida’s unique “river of grass” is one of the world’s most precious natural resources. “THE EVERGLADES: A Legendary Wilderness,” which aired on PBS TV station WXEL, examines the many aspects of this complex ecosystem, its role in the state’s history and the challenges it faces today. “We want to give viewers a better understanding of the size, scale and importance of the Everglades for our entire planet,” says Charles J. Kropke, who will host the documentary. “When people think the Everglades, some visualize airboats racing over the shallow waters, while others think of a mysterious jungle with odd-looking mangroves and cypress trees. In fact, Florida’s natural wilderness has more than a dozen different ecosystems that interact with each other in surprising ways to create diverse habitats for alligators, crocodiles, wading birds and the elusive Florida panther.” A noted South Florida author and adventurer, Kropke has spent many years exploring and researching the Florida Everglades and interviewing the colorful inhabitants of this vast wetland. The program will introduce viewers to the people whose lives have been shaped by the ‘Glades’ including Native Americans, sportsmen, farmers, growers, conservationists and park rangers. Kropke’s journey begins in the northern stretches of the Everglades above Lake Okeechobee where the fresh water begins its slow flow to the south. Then he travels throughout the remainder of this vast ecosystem, ending up in saltwater Ten Thousand Islands of Florida.