Great blue herons are one of 16 wading bird species that live in the Everglades, the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States.

“Saving the Everglades is a test.
If we pass, we may get to keep the planet.”

These words, spoken by a former Friends of the Everglades executive director, convey what’s at stake as we work to restore the largest subtropical wilderness in the country.

Beginning north of Orlando and stretching to the southern reaches of Florida Bay, the interconnected web of wetlands, rivers and lakes that make up the Greater Everglades is a watery wilderness as diverse as it is beautiful.

The Everglades are home to critical habitats for a wide variety of species. This unique biodiversity, including enormous populations of wading birds, has captivated visitors from all over the world — a global audience that’s watching how the story of the Everglades will play out. A national treasure and a World Heritage site, the Everglades have been degraded by pollution, alterations in hydrology, and development pressure that has diminished the great River of Grass to half of its original size over the course of many decades. 

Now, the challenge of sea-level rise brings even more urgency to the work we do at Friends of the Everglades to preserve this one-of-a-kind ecosystem for future generations. Everglades restoration is the largest ecosystem-restoration project in the world. It’s a proving ground for conservation endeavors everywhere. The world is watching, and success requires the combined vision, dedication and watchdog efforts of many.

This Earth Day, we invite you to celebrate the untamed beauty and wild perseverance of the Everglades by investing in our grassroots movement to save it.