Photographs Of The Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition Now On Display At The Tampa Bay History Center

By Kathy L. Collins

The Tampa Bay History Center is now featuring “Florida Wildlife Corridor: The Photographs of Carlton Ward Jr.” The exhibit is available now through Sunday, May 5, at the History Center located at 801 Old Water St. in Tampa.

In the Florida Wildlife Corridor, the expedition team consisting of Carlton Ward, Jr. (photojournalist); Mallory Dimmitt (conservationist); and Joe Guthrie (bear biologist) travelled from the Everglades National Park all the way to the Okefenoke Natural Wildlife Refuge in South Georgia. The purpose of the expedition was to increase public awareness and support for the Florida Wildlife Corridor Project.

The exhibit at the History Center allows visitors to take a virtual tour of the 1000 mile, 100 day expedition. The exhibit is complete with maps and photographs which show exactly where in the state the expedition is at any given time. There are also QR Codes with news reports by Steve Newborn, News Director at WUSF radio.

Tampa History Center’s Curator, Rodney Kite-Powell said, “People lose sight of natural Florida. The idea of the Wildlife Corridor is needed, and we want to help foster awareness of the need.” Kite-Powell added, “The team took a journey similar to ones taken over Florida’s history including that of William Bertram who explored the Florida territories in the 1770’s. Only Bertram did not have to cross I-4.”

Just take a moment to watch the short clip about the journey of Bear 34. The two-year-old bear wore a collar. From May 8, 2010 to July 8, 2010, Bear 34 travelled 500 miles all over Central Florida and never encountered a human. But because the bear could not cross I-4, he was forced to stay in a relatively compact area. According to Kite-Powell, “This best exemplifies the need for the Wildlife Corridor.”

For more information, please visit www.tampabayhistorycenter.org or call 228-0097.