The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted our lives, but it has not diminished our spirit of advocacy. 

During the past month, our staff has been working remotely to deliver two new programs that will help empower environmental advocacy in the era of COVID-19.

The first is the new Young Friends of the Everglades, a virtual learning hub for students that’s designed to inspire action among the youngest environmentalists. Students can sign a petition to protect the Key deer and learn about Everglades ecology through this free virtual program.

The second is a virtual outreach initiative to ensure Lake Okeechobee is managed in the interest of human health, not polluters. It’s essential that we raise our collective voices on the federal government’s Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual in order to prevent toxic algae blooms similar to those that plagued our waters in 2018. Friends of the Everglades will host a series of “Clean Water Conversations” starting this month to keep the spotlight on this important issue.

You can support both of these programs through #GivingTuesdayNow — a global day of giving and unity that will take place May 5 as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19.

The ripple effects of this pandemic will be far-reaching. We’re committed to staying the course as we work to preserve, protect and restore the greater Everglades ecosystem — from Florida Bay to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries.

Because of your support, the Everglades scored a victory a few weeks ago, when a judge struck down Miami-Dade County’s proposed extension of State Road 836 into the outer reaches of the Everglades. Friends of the Everglades is working to ensure Gov. Ron DeSantis and the rest of the Florida Cabinet uphold that order.

Environmental protection can’t stop — especially not now. We know the polluters and profiteers will spring into action when they think the rest of us are distracted. We’re reminded of the words of our founder, Marjory Stoneman Douglas: “Never give up.”

As we have for 51 years, we will continue to push back through grassroots advocacy during this challenging period of history. We are able to do this because of your support.

Please consider giving what you can on May 5 during #GivingTuesdayNow.

Thank you.