At the turn of 20th century, Southwest Florida was still considered very much of a frontier. MAKERS: Women who Made Southwest Florida explores the hardy female pioneers who came to this region, determined to carve a community out of the wilds. Some – like Mina Edison – emerged from the shadows of more famous husbands to leave an indelible mark. Others – like Deaconess Harriet Bedell, Bernice Russell and Mother Perry – bridged racial divides. Discover how such strong, capable – and often overlooked – women laid the groundwork for the Southwest Florida of today.

Producer: Janina Birtolo

Connect features ways to explore the diverse and interesting region of Southwest Florida. As a guide to community engagement, it spotlights segments on living green, wellness, the arts, regional getaways, volunteering and grassroots activism. Hosted by Jim McLaughlin, the program aired on WGCU TV from 2007 to 2010. Individual segments are available for viewing and commenting on our YouTube channel.

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The sunshine state has a rich and colorful history. For hundreds of years the state has attracted dreamers, opportunists, inventors and fortune-seekers. Native Americans, the Spanish, and American settlers all have left their mark on Southwest Florida. Yet, unlike world or national history, local history is a fragile thing that is easily lost. WGCU’s Untold Stories aims to preserve the history of Southwest Florida communities. The series explores the legacy of the many cultures that have left their imprint on the region and tells the stories of the people who call this part of Florida their home. 
Click "Watch" for a full listing of the 43 episodes produced from 2004 to present.