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Published on: Conservation Story

Free the Ocklawaha!

published on: May 13, 2021

By Cary Evans

When I moved to Florida, the first thing I wanted to do was get to know the area better. As I began to explore the state, I realized how unique Florida is and also how little of wild Florida is left. The stories you hear about over-development and urban sprawl really take hold when you see it in real life and you start to wonder how did it get to this point.

Freeing the Ocklawaha River is not just about restoring Florida waterways, it is also about restoring a way of life that Florida once knew. A life that lived connected to the land and an understanding that these ecological connections sustain all life, including humans. While I am not a born-and-raised Floridian, my connection to this place runs incredibly deep and I hope that others who live or visit here can one day find that connection that inspires conservation and protection of our waterways and wildlife.

This journey through wild Florida inspired me to pursue a master’s in Environmental Policy so that one day I can also aid in protecting wild areas in Florida and beyond. Policy is a major factor in environmental protection and is still considered a new form of policymaking, so to be able to advocate for this form of policy that focuses on public and environmental health has been so beneficial.

I encourage everyone to find ways to get involved in their local and state government because change comes from us and we need to tell them what we want.

Free the Ocklawaha!