In 1914, three famous friends -- Thomas Edison, the “Wizard” of electricity; Henry Ford, the pioneer auto-maker; and John Burroughs, best-selling nature writer -- trekked into the wilds for a camping adventure in the Everglades. Their campfire camaraderie inspired a series of camping trips throughout the next decade. Joined by another famous friend, tire manufacturer Harvey Firestone, the “Four Vagabonds” explored a changing America, finding rest -- and inspiration -- in the nation’s great outdoors.
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.
An intriguing examination of the creation and development of four unique spiritual communities in Florida: the Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp in Central Florida; the Koreshan Unity in Estero; Kashi Ashram in Sebastian; and Ave Maria in eastern Collier County. Funded by a grant from the Florida Humanities Council, this documentary examines the role and importance of spiritual ideas and motivations in the creation of successful and sustainable communities.
In 1974, a new park was added to the National Park system -- the Big Cypress National Preserve. Unlike national parks, the country's first national preserve allowed traditional uses of the land, including hunting, air boats, swamp buggies -- even oil drilling. It was a landmark conservation compromise that allowed unprecedented resource usage, while protecting the vast swamp from development.
The J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge complex represents promises kept: a promise to nature and the earth to preserve and protect its habitat and its inhabitants, and a promise to the American people to make this 8,000-acre sanctuary available for their enjoyment, reflection and education. It is a fragile, carefully orchestrated balancing act. But the result is a true partnership between man and nature that bears the name and the stamp – literally and figuratively -- of an unassuming political cartoonist from Iowa who led the initial charge to save Sanibel Island from unbridled development and exploitation.