Young Friends intern looks to the Everglades as an educator

What can we learn from life in the Everglades? By Autumn N. Bryan 2023 Karen Mashburn Environmental Scholar Upon accepting my internship with Friends of the Everglades, I began to consider the prospect of the Everglades as an educator. I have so much to learn from the people here, and even more to unearth from the beautiful River of Grass that connects us.  Marjory Stoneman Douglas knew, though academically-educated, that school is not the only place you can find a teacher. All around you are opportunities for priceless lessons. For those that can recognize the beauty of the swamp, the Everglades are the perfect educator. Life in the Everglades provides countless instructions on how to coexist, adapt, and connect. [...]

People, literature and environmentalism motivate our first Karen Mashburn Environmental Scholar

Autumn Bryan, Karen Mashburn Environmental Scholar In August, Autumn Bryan became the first recipient of the Karen Mashburn Environmental Scholars Internship and Scholarship, awarding $10,000 to her academic efforts. Autumn, a graduate student in Library and Information Science at the University of South Florida, and Geoscience at Florida Atlantic University, plans to pursue a doctorate in Environmental Literature. She has published articles about climate change, wildlife conservation, and environment endangerment. She volunteers as a digital archivist, serves on a wildlife conservation organization's board of education, and has founded a Teen Environmental Alliance club at her local library. Autumn plans to continue to encourage awareness around youth services, wildlife conservation, and environmental education through her work in libraries, research labs, [...]

2023-09-18T11:36:05-04:00September 18th, 2023|All Posts|

Everglades Illustrated: piecing together the Toxic Puzzle

Documentary reveals potential solution to toxic algae exposure Every rainy season in Florida brings the threat of toxic slime in our waterways. At its worst earlier this year, Lake Okeechobee was covered in 400+ square miles of harmful blue-green algae blooms. Thankfully, Floridians have been largely spared in 2023 from large blooms entering the waterways to the east and the west of the lake, but the threat of damaging discharges isn’t over yet. Those of us living near the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers and their canals, Lake O, and other waters previously tainted with algae know all too well the environmental and economic harm these discharges can bring. Green water clumped like guacamole, with dead fish at the [...]

Your Everglades moment of zen: The peace of poetry

Our hearts are with those impacted by Hurricane Idalia. We hope this dose of Everglades zen brings comfort to those seeking refuge in the beauty of nature. The poetry of nature is a balm for stormy times Did you know Marjory Stoneman Douglas was a poet? During her stint as a columnist at the Miami Herald in the early 1920s, she wrote poetry that topped her columns in the newspaper. This marked the beginning of her explorations of Florida’s landscape and geography.  Her poetic musings about the Greater Everglades became a foundation for her better-known nonfiction writing and environmental advocacy through Friends of the Everglades. For this month’s moment of Everglades zen, our Multimedia Producer Leah Voss explored the mile-long [...]

2023-08-30T11:13:15-04:00September 5th, 2023|All Posts, Everglades Zen|

Here are 3 ways to help us achieve Sugar Reform Now

https://youtu.be/k_OeECca6wI SUGAR REFORM NOW Our mission to save the only Everglades in the world can only be realized if we stop allowing the sugar industry to profit from poisoning this treasured ecosystem. You can help us achieve that. The sugar program in the U.S. Farm Bill is an outdated, overly generous system of price supports and import quotas that enrich billionaire backed sugar companies — namely Florida Crystals and U.S. Sugar. The Farm Bill is set to expire this year, and we need a loud chorus of voices speaking up for reform.  Here are three things you can do to help us achieve Sugar Reform Now: Watch the video: Our 30-second video visually illustrates the negative impact of the [...]

2023-08-28T17:15:03-04:00August 29th, 2023|Action Alerts, All Posts, Big Sugar, Farm Bill|

A virtual conversation with environmental experts in honor of Maggy Hurchalla

Maggy Hurchalla Opportunity Fund virtual event Maggy Hurchalla was a force of nature, and a force for nature. She rallied so many of us around a vision that was intertwined with the way she led her life. It was rooted in her deeply held belief in protecting our wetlands and waterways and safeguarding Florida’s last remaining green spaces. It’s a vision we are committed to at Friends of the Everglades, and we’re incredibly grateful to you for contributing to our work in Maggy’s memory. This is a critical time to sustain the momentum Maggy created. In May, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in the Sackett case that gutted protections for wetlands under the Clean Water Act. Earlier in the spring, the Florida Legislature advanced damaging legislation [...]

2023-08-25T13:44:01-04:00August 25th, 2023|All Posts, Maggy Hurchalla Opportunity Fund|

WATCH NOW — A late-summer update on Lake Okeechobee algae

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nj3n2wLXXho From the desk of our Executive Director, Eve Samples, your Voice of the Everglades update: This is it — the most intense month of "algae season" is upon us. Weather patterns and water-management decisions in the coming weeks will determine whether or not the northern estuaries get a toxic deluge from Lake Okeechobee, where a giant algae bloom persists.   Lake Okeechobee stands at 15.3 feet, well above average for this time of year. If the lake climbs to 16.5 feet before rainy season winds down, the Army Corps of Engineers is likely to discharge massive volumes of polluted lake water to the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers and the Lake Worth Lagoon. So far, we've been spared that fate [...]

Friends of the Everglades summer intern looks to the future as a young environmentalist

  Growing up in Stuart, Florida, naturally led me to be immersed in the local water issues impacting my community. Water quality in the Indian River Lagoon and St. Lucie River has fluctuated over the years, often for the worse, prompting me to become an environmental activist and a leading member of a nonprofit organization called River Kidz at the young age of 8. I’ve observed toxic blue-green algae blooms coating the surface of the St. Lucie River and have stayed up to date on new bills passed that affect the Greater Everglades ecosystem. With other River Kidz, I’ve traveled to Washington, D.C., to bring awareness to the crisis plaguing these waterways on Florida’s east coast, as well as organized [...]

2023-08-10T16:02:43-04:00August 14th, 2023|All Posts|

The case for sugar reform is resonating on Capitol Hill

In late July, we took our fight for sugar reform to Washington, D.C., where we met with members of Congress and their staff to educate them on the damaging impacts of the sugar industry that are supported via the U.S. Farm Bill.  We traveled across the U.S. Capitol grounds to meet with Democratic and Republican members of Congress from around the country who heard our plea for a change in the 2023 Farm Bill. Our case was made stronger by you and thousands of others who have signed the Sugar Reform Now petition. The leaders we met with were struck by the water and air pollution linked to the sugar industry in Florida. They listened to how the [...]

TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress to end damaging sugar protections in the Farm Bill

For the better part of a century, the U.S. Farm Bill has protected billionaire-backed sugar companies at the expense of clean air and water in Florida. We have an opportunity to change that now — with your help. Join the movement demanding an end to sugar handouts in the Farm Bill by signing the Sugar Reform Now petition!  How does the sugar program negatively impact us?  Through price supports and strict import limits on sugar, consumers and taxpayers pay more — while sugar barons get richer. Windfall profits generated by the sugarcane industry, led by Florida Crystals and U.S. Sugar, are then used to buy influence over lawmakers. This protects the status quo that forces South Florida taxpayers to [...]