THE FLORIDA EVERGLADES:
WASTELAND OR ESSENTIAL WETLAND?
THE HISTORIC STORY OF SELLING OR SAVING IT IN “AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: THE SWAMP”
to View the Trailer
Arlington, VA – January xx, 2019 – PBS Distribution announces the DVD and digital release of “AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: THE SWAMP” on February 12, 2019. Man has been attempting to conquer the Florida Everglades since the 1800’s. “THE SWAMP,” explores natures’ most mysterious and unique ecosystems told through the eccentric lives of hucksters, politicians, and activists.
The program is based, in part, on the book “The Swamp: The Everglades, Florida and the Politics of Paradise,” by Michael Grunwald. “THE SWAMP,” introduces us to the first person who attempted to drain the Everglades in 1881, Philadelphia industrialist Hamilton Disston. He was one of the first to see the potential of turning the wetland into a profitable enterprise. By the 1920’s, Florida experienced a population and real estate boom as new settlers cleared away native vegetation to plant crops like celery, lettuce, tomatoes and strawberries. But there were some, like naturalist Charles Torrey Simpson, who warned against spoiling the area’s beauty and biodiversity. Torrey-Simpson was right. After altering the Everglades, the area was hit with unintended deadly consequences, from catastrophic floods to brutal droughts. Still, even as the alterations wreaked havoc on the environment, efforts continued to conquer the Everglades.
In 1925, landscape architect Ernest Coe moved to Miami and fell in love with the Everglades and became a champion to preserve it. He created a national park which President Franklin Delano Roosevelt approved by authorizing the creation of Everglades National Park in 1934. One of Coe’s supporters, writer Marjory Stoneman Douglas from the Miami Herald, wrote a book in 1946 that forever redefined the region as essential not only to wildlife but to people.
About AMERICAN EXPERIENCE
For 30 years, American Experience has been television’s most-watched history series. Hailed as “peerless” (The Wall Street Journal), “the most consistently enriching program on television” (Chicago Tribune) and “a beacon of intelligence and purpose” (Houston Chronicle), the series brings to life the incredible characters and epic stories that have shaped America’s past and present. American Experience documentaries have been honored with every major broadcast award, including 30 Emmy Awards, four duPont-Columbia Awards and 17 George Foster Peabody Awards; the series received an Academy Award® nomination for Best Documentary Feature in 2015 for Last Days in Vietnam. American Experience also creates original digital content that uses new forms of storytelling to connect our collective past with the present. Visit pbs.org/americanexperience and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube to learn more.