Reported by Jaclynn Crelin & Angela Lugo
“The Forgotten Coast: Return to Wild Florida” was a beautiful exploration of Florida and some of its breathtaking sights. This astounding film follows three individuals on a 1,000-mile journey in the course of 70 days. The film has won official selection awards in 2016 for both the Environmental Film Festival and the International Wildlife Film Festival.
Their trek, filmed and produced by Grizzly Creek Films, begins in the Everglades, following the coast to the Florida-Alabama state line and using transportation like bikes or kayaks that would cause no harm to the environment.
Each of the three individuals brings something important to the journey. Mallory Lykes Dimmitt, the president of Florida Wildlife Corridor, planned the trip and kept it on track. Carlton Ward Jr., a conservationist photographer, used his abilities to capture every moment of their trip as they came across beautiful scenery and rare animal encounters. Joe Guthrie, wildlife biologist and bear enthusiast, navigated animal territory and lightened the mood by adding comedic value.
Throughout the film there was a recurring phrase, “fear of the unknown.”
As their journey began, they came into bear territory, which Guthrie was able to observe. He provided more information to the audience as to why bears act the way they do. As they kept moving, the amazing sights and places they visited kept the audience engaged and showed the sides of Florida most people don’t even know exist.
They arrived at a house on the water that Dimmitt had been going to her whole life. The owners of the house showed pictures of the land and the water surrounding it. These pictures showed how much people have affected the greenery and the sea level. This was heartbreaking for the explorers.
Once they traveled further, they were able to conduct a controlled fire. There’s a common misconception that forest fires are bad for the environment. As explained in the film, forest fires cause new plants to form. Because of the fire, the land can be cleansed and new life can flourish there.
As the film neared its end, the incredible views faded, but attachment to these strangers stays with the watcher. After watching this, it’s almost like the “fear of the unknown” is just another issue that needs to be conquered.
These three individuals took 70 days to get up close and personal with the unknown. Overall, this stunning film sparks an excitement to protect the environment.
The Florida Wildlife Corridor looks to share “The Forgotten Coast” with as many people as possible. The DVD is featured on WUSF Public Media’s website www.wusf.usf.edu as well as The Florida Wildlife Corridor’s shop on floridawildlifecorridor.org/shop.
To find out more information about plans for the next expedition, you can sign up for The Florida Wildlife Corridor’s newsletter on their website.