In The Swamp, a documentary about the Everglades that will air on PBS on Tuesday, January 15, environmental studies professor Leslie Poole discusses her research on women’s conservation work in Florida in the early 20th century. Citing women as the first preservationists in the Everglades, Poole explains how the Florida Federation of Women’s Clubs helped create, fund, and run Royal Palm State Park—Florida’s first state park—which would become the nucleus of the Everglades.
The Swamp tells the dramatic story of humanity’s attempts to conquer the Florida Everglades, one of nature’s most mysterious and unique ecosystems. In the 19th century, the idea of draining the Everglades became the goal of many entrepreneurs, politicians, and salesmen who saw great potential in turning the massive wetland into a profitable enterprise. Altering the landscape of the Everglades unleashed a torrent of unintended consequences, from catastrophic floods to brutal droughts. Told through the lives of a handful of colorful and resolute characters, The Swamp explores the repeated efforts to transform what was seen as a vast and useless wasteland into an agricultural and urban paradise, ultimately leading to a passionate campaign to preserve America’s greatest wetland.
As part of the “American Experience” series, The Swamp will air on PBS on January 15 from 9 to 11 p.m. and will be available to stream online for several weeks. Watch the trailer on the PBS website.