The Last Green Thread: New documentary focuses on vanishing green space in Florida

A documentary film about a greenway corridor between the Tampa and Orlando areas will screen for free at Tampa Theatre on Thursday, April 25, followed by a panel discussion among local thought leaders.

The Last Green Thread tells the story of the April 2018 Heartlands to Headwater expedition three friends made along the thin green band along the Interstate 4 corridor that connects two of the state’s largest wetlands systems-  the Everglades’ headwaters just south of Orlando and the Green Swamp just northeast of Tampa.

A description of the documentary on the Tampa Theatre website describes the film as a journey “into the most rapidly developing landscape in Central Florida, traveling the narrowest and most imperiled wildlife corridor in the state.”

The expedition is a project of The Florida Wildlife Corridor, a nonprofit organization working to build support to “connect, protect and restore” the “statewide network of lands and waters that supports wildlife and people.”
 
The 18-minute film is intended to educate the public on the need to protect the remaining corridor of undeveloped land between two of the state’s largest metropolitan areas.
 
“Every day, 1,000 new residents move to Florida and 20 acres an hour are lost to development,” the Florida Wildlife Corridor says on its website. “The roads we build, like Interstate 4, block wildlife and water. The remaining wild areas between Tampa and Orlando are quickly becoming isolated. Only three natural connection points remain linking the Everglades Headwaters south of I-4 and the Green Swamp north of I-4.”

The free screening and panel discussion at the Tampa Theatre is an interfaith community event sponsored by Palma Ceia Presbyterian Church in conjunction with Hyde Park United Methodist Church, Bayshore Baptist Church, Congregation Schaarai Zedek, and the 34th Street Church of God.

“We were familiar with the Florida Wildlife Corridor and support their mission and like their platform,'' says Will Wellman, the director of adult faith formation at Palma Ceia Presbyterian. "We saw this event as an opportunity to draw in different partners from different faith communities, not just Christian. It is an interfaith event. We thought this was a really good opportunity for different faith communities to have a conversation about these important environmental issues and, more importantly, start a conversation about what we can be doing. As people of faith, we think there is a continual call throughout our scriptures to not only care for the earth but steward the gifts of the earth.”
 
The panel discussion after the screening will include U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, the Florida Wildlife Corridor President Mallory Lykes Dimmit, Florida Wildlife corridor founder and National Geographic Explorer conservation photographer Carlton Ward, Tampa Estuary Program Executive Director Ed Sherwood and Wellman.

On April 25, doors will open at 6:30 p.m., with the documentary starting at 7:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. No tickets are required. More information can be found at the Tampa Theatre website.

Read more articles by Christopher Curry.

Chris Curry is a freelance writer living in Clearwater. Chris spent more than 15 years as a newspaper reporter, primarily in Ocala and Gainesville, before moving back home to the Tampa Bay Area. He enjoys our local music scene, great weather and the wealth of outdoor festivals.
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