Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Exhibit: von Liebig Art Center Naples

Clyde in front of von Liebig Art Center

The von Liebig Art Center made the generous
offer to create a benefit to help earn money
for the interior displays at the new Big
Cypress Swamp Welcome Center.

Clyde exhibited his work on the Big Cypress Swamp
and many of his America The Beautiful images.
Elam Stolzfus previewed his film:
The Big Cypress Swamp: The Western Everglades

Before the film Clyde and Elam gave a power point
on the creation of the film. The story generated many
questions from the audience. After the lecture,
the film was shown to a very appreciative audience.

Clyde, Elam and Executive Director Joel Kessler

Clyde, Jack O'Brien - Curator, and Elam Stoltzfus

Artist, Leroy Osceola and his family
joined us at the event

Leroy Osceola is our neighbor. He
lives about ten miles east of us in
the Big Cypress National Preserve.
Soon he'll be opening his gallery.
It's nice to have another artist in
our community.

Don Finefrock from South Florida National
Park Trust joined in the effort. His organization
has contributed a lot of help and money to
get the Welcome Center at Big Cypress

The film
Big Cypress Swamp: The Western Everglades
was shown to a large audience. Afterwards,
Clyde and Elam had a question & answer
session...always entertaining!

Clyde and Elam signing

The evening was a wonderful success and
getting Elam and Clyde together for a talk
is always informative and entertaining.

The following night von Liebig had a
second benefit to support both the
Welcome Center in Big Cypress and
the von Liebig Art Center.

As is always the case with the von Liebig, they are
warm and generous when it comes to causes
they believe in. The generosity of the people of
Naples in helping to fund both the
Big Cypress Swamp Welcome Center and to support
their own von Liebig Art Center was wonderful.
We enjoyed two wonderful events!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Reviving the Picayune Strand

The journey...and often battle...under way to
restore the Everglades has seen one of its
first victories. This was a historic moment
and we were very proud to be there to see
a positive move forward in the restoration
of the Everglades ecosystem.

Based on the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration
Plan (CERP), the US Army Corp of Engineers and
South Florida Water Management are leading in the
Picayune Strand Restoration Project. The first project
to save the Everglades under the CERP plan that is under

The project area includes 55,000 acres of native Florida
wetlands and uplands that had previously been purchased
for development. Eighty-three miles of canals and 227 miles of
roads were constructed to create a development that coined
the words "swamp land for sale in Florida". The land was
sold during the dry season, but was under water in the wet
season. The cost of correcting that problem was beyond
the developers finances and he went bankrupt, leaving the
environment destroyed.

Restoring the Picayune Strand entails plugging 83 miles
of canals, building and operating pump stations to allow
water managers to direct fresh water to drained wetlands,
as well as to protect land outside the project area. They
will be removing 227 miles of crumbling roads and
take on the destruction of non-native vegetation.
Besides restoring fresh water to wetlands, the Picayune
project will improve estuarine water quality by increasing
groundwater recharge and reducing large and unnatural
freshwater flows.

To live to see this section of the Everglades ecosystem
returned to it's original wilderness gives us hope that
other wilderness areas can also be saved.
Never give up hope...

It was an inspirational day!

While we waiting for the bus to pick us
up and take us to the site, Clyde, Pamela
Mac'Kie and Bill Hammond get into
a discussion. Bill is a fountain of wisdom
regarding Florida's environment!

Bill Hammond, Clyde and
Mike Owen finding a place
to sit in the sun.

It was a cold day...as you can
tell with everyone wearing
heavy jackets!

The Pledge of Allegiance was led by the
children in Calusa Park Elementary School
They also concluded the event with two
wonderful environmental songs.

Colonel Alfred A Pantano, Jr - District
Commander of the US Army Corp
of Engineers began the ceremony.

He is a great speaker...humorous, serious,
and moving. He introduced the VIPs and
then each of them gave a speech.

Senator Bill Nelson said it so well when he
spoke of his time as an astronaut and
seeing the earth..."this tiny speck of blue
brilliance"... suspended in space, then finding
his home, Florida, and realizing how
precious Florida and this planet is.
Others joined in with the same overall
comments...about how important it is
to "re-wild" Picayune...about how
restoration means jobs, as well as
saving the environment...about the history
of this moment and when, not long ago,
Picayune had been drained and paved -
who would have thought we could ever
achieve the will and ability to bring it
back to its native wildness?

They were all wonderful and inspirational

The VIPs shoveling dirt as a symbolic
effort of plugging 83 miles of canals
and removing 227 miles of road

Because this project is for the future
generation, it only seemed natural
that the children of Calusa Park
Elementary School also got to
shovel some dirt as a symbol of their
involvement in this project.

I'm not sure who had more fun throwing
the dirt around...the adult or kids!

Superintendent of Big Cypress National Preserve,
Pedro Ramos, introducing Clyde to the kiddos

Clyde talking with the children from
Calusa Park Elementary School

After it was over, it seemed that every time
we turned around interesting discussions
were taking place...fun fun!

Discussions with
Colonel Alfred A. Pantano, Jr - District Commander
Corp of Engineers Jacksonville
Bill Hammond, Clyde and LTC Michael
K. Kinard - Deputy District Commander


...and then more discussion...

It is always uplifting to see projects that have
been hard won come together. It is inspiring
and gives us courage to continue the battle
to save the Everglades ecosystem.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Another Great Day in the Swamp

Clyde leading
Superintendent of Big Cypress National Preserve,
Pedro Ramos and Jill Willson of
Big Cypress National Preserve,
along with Eric & Linda Buermann,
Chairman of the Board for SFWMD joined
us on a swamp walk.

If it had been any colder, I think we could have
ice skated across the swamp! That water was
the coldest I have ever felt...it was like dipping
our toes into ice water. You really have to
love the swamp to endure two hours of ice cold
feet while tromping through the swamp!

It was a great afternoon...and they did love the
swamp. It's always a positive experience to be
around Pedro. He is a very inspiring person.
Meeting Eric and Linda added a new depth to
our lives. It's good to know that there are folks
at that level in SFWMD who really care about
the environment of our state.

Climbing Astor

Jill explaining periphyton

Jill discussing the environment
with Eric and Clyde

Clyde pointing out the Whisk Fern
up in the tree. The Whisk Fern is
one of the oldest ferns
on the planet

Jill and Linda checking out the
Latin name...I don't have that book,
so someone will have to give it
to me after they've read this blog...

Lichen is amazing...and it comes
in so many different colors and shapes

This feather was dangling under
this tree when we did our New Years
Day swamp walk. I was surprised
that it was still hanging there, just

Clyde pointing to a Cypress "pine cone"

Heading deeper into the swamp

Clyde with:
Jill Willson
Big Cypress National Preserve
Pedro Ramos
Superintendent Big Cypress National Preserve
Linda and Eric Buermann
Chairman of the Board
So. FL. Water Management

An opportunity for a
second group photo!

Clyde discussing the environment
with Eric and Linda

Heading into the swamp deeper and...



and deeper into the swamp

People have the belief that the water
in the swamp is murky. In this image
you can see the grass beneath the
water. The water flowing through the
Everglades is very clear.

A moment of reflection for Pedro

Jill and Pedro admiring the orchid called
Scented Ladies Tresses

Eric and Linda checking out the orchid

Clyde and Eric having another discussion

...and so, we headed out of the swamp....

It was a great day spent with people who not
only love the swamps of Florida, but are doing
things to preserve the beauty here in our state.
A very inspirational day.