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Board Member Spotlight: Carol Waxler

The Board of Directors of Friends of the Everglades are deeply committed to preserving, protecting and restoring the unique Everglades ecosystem. With diverse backgrounds and a shared passion for environmental stewardship, they bring valuable expertise to the organization, driving impactful work to safeguard this irreplaceable natural treasure for future generations. https://youtu.be/v_XTB3WxU1E?si=-uHucPTC0UG6v2Qt Meet Carol Waxler Name: Carol Waxler Location: Stuart, Florida Member since: April 2024 When you’re lucky enough to grow up thinking of the St. Lucie River as your personal playground, you’re compelled to advocate for its preservation as an adult. For Carol Waxler, who was born and raised in Stuart, this deep sense of personal connection is what led her to the Board of Directors at Friends of [...]

2024-07-09T14:38:51-04:00July 11th, 2024|Who We Are|

WATCH NOW — The impact of the sugarcane burning season

https://youtu.be/aEbGypOzy1U?si=_7uP-mCsS0moJ5n7 From the desk of our Executive Director, Eve Samples, your Voice of the Everglades update: Q: What’s 20 times the size of Manhattan and poses a yearly threat to the people and ecosystems of the Everglades? A: Big Sugar’s massive cane-burning season, which wrapped up last month, after another eight-month stretch of sullying our air with smoke and ash. The numbers reveal the scope of the problem: During the burn season that ran from October 2023 to May 2024, more than 6,700 sugarcane fires were authorized by the Florida Forest Service, spanning more than 331,000 acres. That’s about 518 square miles of sugarcane fires in a single season. Most of Big Sugar’s fires blaze south of Lake Okeechobee, [...]

2024-06-18T10:59:45-04:00June 18th, 2024|Sugarcane Burning, Voice of the Everglades|

Everglades Illustrated: These maps explain Florida’s water woes

. View interactive Everglades Historic Flow map View interactive Everglades Altered Flow map From Natural Flow to Managed SystemsTake a look at the maps above.Side-by-side, these renderings of the historic and altered flow of water through the Greater Everglades ecosystem illustrate the fundamental reason we face so many water challenges today.On the left, historic sheet flow envelops the southern half of Florida, from Lake Okeechobee to Florida Bay. No man-made connections from Lake O to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries. There was no Everglades Agricultural Area, now dominated by hundreds of thousands of acres of sugarcane. And the historic system was devoid of development — of throngs of people who have made a home out [...]

2024-06-06T13:12:23-04:00June 11th, 2024|All Posts|

Anderson Design Group Interviews Friends of the Everglades

Artists from the Anderson Design Group — an independent, family-owned design and illustration studio based in Nashville, TN — have created more than 300 original poster designs dedicated to American National Parks, including several designs based on the Everglades like the ones seen here. In a recent collaborative blog post, Friends of the Everglades Communication Director Allie Hartmann shared Friends' storied history and continuing impact with the Anderson Design Group, outlining the work we do every day in an effort to reconnect the River of Grass. To view more of the original artwork featuring iconic Everglades scenery, and to learn more about Friends' work to preserve, protect and restore the only Everglades in the world — use the button [...]

2024-06-07T13:20:47-04:00June 7th, 2024|All Posts|

Your Moment of Everglades Zen: We biked 15 miles in Shark Valley

In the heart of the Everglades, the sawgrass sways for endless miles. Water from the north slowly winds through Shark Valley Slough, where it eventually drains into Florida Bay. Visitors from all around the world convene to catch a glimpse of the Everglades’ most famous keystone species: the American alligator. At Shark Valley, one of five visitor centers in Everglades National Park, there are two fun ways to travel along a 15-mile loop: by bike or tram. Friends of the Everglades Multimedia Producer Leah Voss recently chose the more challenging option — a bicycle ride that brought her up close and personal with different habitats [...]

2024-06-03T16:46:44-04:00June 4th, 2024|All Posts, Everglades Zen, Marjory's Circle|

Young Friends Update: Miami Beach 4th Graders Discover the Magic of the Everglades!

When did you fall in love with the Everglades? For more than 50 fourth-grade students from Miami Beach, that moment occurred recently at the Royal Palm area of  Everglades National Park. With cameras, ID sheets and a tool bag of resources, students and leaders embarked on the first-ever Young Friends of the Everglades-led field trip to Anhinga and Gumbo Limbo Trails. “Why does that alligator have its mouth open?” “What makes the water so clear?” “What kind of fish is that? Is it native or invasive?” “Why does the Everglades need more water?”  Eager questions like these empowered South Pointe Elementary teachers to build on essential classroom [...]

Federal toxic-algae standards would protect human health

Friends of the Everglades joined the Center for Biological Diversity and other allies in a formal request filed May 30, 2024 with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that seeks new, enforceable standards for cyanotoxins under the Clean Water Act. Cyanotoxins in blue-green algae blooms pose an acute threat to public health, with scientific research linking them to liver disease and neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS and Alzheimer’s. Despite the known and unknown dangers, the state of Florida’s approach to monitoring harmful algal blooms and issuing public alerts has been inadequate, characterized by fragmented and reactive measures. With this petition, we’re asking the EPA to use its authority under the Clean Water Act to do what the state of Florida has [...]

WATCH NOW: Urgent call for EPA action on toxic algae

https://youtu.be/JFQTG90-kgI?si=gdSg5v8cx4kcMKbR From the desk of our Executive Director, Eve Samples, your Voice of the Everglades update: This month’s record temperatures across Florida were more than uncomfortable. Triple-digit heat indexes during the normally temperate month of May raise significant environmental concerns — from coral bleaching in the Keys to wildfires on the mainland. And then there’s the threat of toxic algae. Higher air and water temperatures can impact the timing and intensity of blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria. Toxins in these algae blooms pose an acute threat to public health, with scientific research linking them to liver disease and neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS and Alzheimer’s.   Yet the state of Florida has failed to take adequate action to protect [...]

2024-05-30T11:42:02-04:00May 23rd, 2024|All Posts|

VoteWater Deep Dive: Sugar’s sweet STA deal is getting sweeter

Our friends at VoteWater took a deeper look at the unfair breakdown in cost of STA maintenance, even as Big Sugar reaps most of the benefits. Read their latest Deep Dive below: In our last “Deep Dive,” we noted how the stormwater treatment areas (STAs) — 62,000-acres of man-made wetlands south of Lake Okeechobee designed to clean water headed to the Everglades — could be used to help mitigate harmful Lake O discharges to the St. Lucie River and Caloosahatchee River estuaries. Instead, the STAs — built with $1.2 billion of taxpayer money — are used almost exclusively to clean water coming off the farmland (mostly sugarcane fields) of the Everglades Agricultural Area to keep it [...]

2024-05-30T11:42:02-04:00May 22nd, 2024|All Posts, Stormwater Treatment Areas|

Hot off the presses — Friends of the Everglades 2023 Annual Report

Your Impact Unveiled "Produce something lasting, something that people will be able to hold in their hands a hundred years from now." — Marjory Stoneman Douglas Each year, thousands of hours of advocacy, research and education by our team at Friends of the Everglades are reflected in our annual report. It's a testament to what YOU helped us accomplish. In 2023, we championed science-led solutions to protect water quality, spotlighted injustice and introduced more young minds than ever to the magic of the Everglades. Our annual report — hot off the presses — is a snapshot of the dedication and passion of our staff, board of directors and volunteers, as well as a signal of the potential [...]