On February 15th, Florida Wildlife Federation, Ancient Islands Sierra, Lake Region Audubon, Bok Tower Gardens and the Polk County Cattlemen’s Association co-sponsored a major event highlighting the epic trek from the Everglades to the Okefenokee by Elam Stoltzfus, Carlton Ward, Joe Guthrie and Mallory Lykes Dimmit – 1,000 Miles in 100 Days. The trek by kayak, horseback and foot sought to illustrate that a major wildlife corridor still exists (due to public land ownership and large cattle ranches), but is in jeopardy and needs to be protected. The event was held to publicize the trek and to raise money for Florida’s Water and Land Legacy Amendment (FWLL) Initiative.
The Legacy Initiative is now in the process of gathering petitions to place an amendment on the 2014 General Election Ballot. The amendment would dedicate for twenty years one-third of the net revenues from the existing excise tax on documents to a Land Acquisition Trust Fund which Florida desperately needs to acquire, improve and manage watersheds to improve water quality and quantity in its springs, rivers and aquifers. Dedicating existing revenues to this goal is prudent and imperative both for our economy and quality of life.
The event sponsors and several individuals donated funds which offset all costs. In addition, thirteen local businesses and individuals donated items, ranging from original works of art to a guided kayak tour, for a silent auction which raised over $2,000 for the FWLL initiative.
Requests to attend this free event reached maximum capacity (225) within a week following its announcement. Unfortunately, more than a hundred late responders had to be told “sorry the event is sold out.” As attendees enjoyed beverages and appetizers provided by Bok Tower, they viewed and bid on items in the silent auction, and networked with people from different organizations and discovered much common ground.
Following welcomes to the event by Bok Tower president, David Price, and FWF director and event organizer, Bob Taylor, Senator Rick Dantzler summarized the need for Florida’s Water and Land Legacy Initiative and told the audience how they could help make it a reality The subsequent presentation by trekkers Stoltzfus and Ward was informative and well received. As the evening drew to a close David Price reflected that bringing these diverse groups together for a common goal proved to be a successful concept and that we should make occasions like this an annual event.
Although a planning committee had spent the last three months organizing this event, everyone agrees that Florida Wildlife Director and Sierra member, Bob Taylor, was the driving force. Congratulations and many thanks to Bob.
Follow this link to find out more about Florida Water and Land Legacy Initiative and how you can help! http://floridawaterlandlegacy.org/index.php