27 February 2012 Taking a Hike: Joining the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition Posted by: Laurie Macdonald | Leave a comment | Share: I relish the opportunity to get out and experience firsthand the places—and wildlife—that we at Defenders work so hard to protect. To spend a day exploring the habitat of panthers and bears, butterflies and salamanders, pines, palms and orchids, is truly a delight, and I know that not everyone is so lucky to have a job that combines their passion and their profession. This month my work allowed me to join environmental photojournalist Carlton Ward Jr, bear biologist Joe Guthrie, filmmaker Elam Stoltzfuz, and refuge complex superintendent Kevin Godsea for a hike through the uplands and swamps of the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge. The 11 miles we trekked were just a small part of the 100-day, 1000-mile journey the men are taking through some of the state’s most wild places on what they call the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition. The expedition is an effort to increase public awareness and generate support for establishing a Florida wildlife corridor that would protect and restore connected landscapes throughout the Florida Peninsula in order to create a viable link from the Everglades to Georgia. Such a corridor is critical for Florida wildlife like black bears and panthers, which need lots of room to roam. Unfortunately, that amount of land is no short order in an ever-developing Sunshine State, and the challenges involved are many. The good news is that many landowners are interested in maintaining their ranches in ways that also provide valuable wildlife habitat; the expedition hopes to increase awareness and support of ways to do so. The expedition began on January 17 in Everglades National Park, and will take the travelers north through the state of Florida, ending in Georgia, just across the Florida border, at the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. Defenders supports this bold adventure as it inspires citizens and visitors to join all of us who are working to save the state’s native wildlife and the network of habitat they and we depend upon. Check out my footage from my incredible day on the trail and learn more about how you can follow the crew along their journey! Learn more: Visit the expedition website to learn more and follow the crew throughout their journey. In March, Laurie and the rest Defenders’ Florida staff will welcome the crew of the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition to the annual Florida Black Bear Festival in Umatilla. Stay tuned for details about the festival and the opportunity to hear from the trekkers themselves! Post Your Comment Click here to cancel reply. Name (required) Mail (required) (will not be published) You May also be interested in California prepares to welcome wolves home, but delays on providing state protections Now, as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes to remove Endangered Species Act protection for wolves throughout most of the rest of the country, gray wolves are once again at risk. Delisting would short-circuit wolf recovery in the Pacific West and would effectively mean giving up on one of our country’s most important and iconic species. Fortunately, California has an opportunity to play a meaningful role in helping the gray wolf continue to recover in the coming months and years. I Was There It was a bitterly cold winter morning when the convoy departed down the remote Forest Service road near Salmon, Idaho. Decades after scientists first called for the restoration of wolves in the region, the first four wolves arrived in Idaho on January 14, 1995, thanks to the Endangered Species Act… Victory for Wild Bison in Montana! In a decision that the uninitiated would argue is a painful exercise in stating the obvious, a Montana court last week determined that the wild bison of Yellowstone, an animal that has roamed the continent for millennia, are indeed wild animals.