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Wildlife in Our Backyard, the First Film by the Florida Wildlife Federation, Premieres on Save the Florida Panther Day

Official Poster Wildlife in Our Backyard

The documentary captures the essence of Florida wildlife in six minutes: from needs for wildlife connectivity and land conservation in a story of coexistence.

Since 1936, the Florida Wildlife Federation has been a leader in protecting Florida wildlife and advance coexistence, but it's the first time that we have launched a project like this.”
— Meredith Budd, Regional Policy Director
NAPLES, FLORIDA, UNITED STATES, February 7, 2022 / -- Last year the Florida Wildlife Federation, in partnership with the fStop Foundation, set up cameras in neighborhoods throughout Florida that have been recording wildlife footage for the past 12 months. With a combination of video and still photography captured by these backyard cameras, as well as footage recorded by drones and provided by state agencies, the Federation produced its first original film, "Wildlife in Our Backyard."

The documentary was created as part of the "Share the Landscape" project, a Florida Wildlife Federation initiative to help educate the public about potential solutions to the conflict between development and conservation, spearheaded by Meredith Budd, Regional Policy Director.

"Since 1936, the Florida Wildlife Federation has been a leader in advocating for policies that protect Florida wildlife and habitats, and advance coexistence, but it's the first time in 85 years that we have launched a project like this," said Budd. "It's important for us to inform younger generations as well as our long-time supporters about the realities facing wildlife in our ever-changing state," she added.

Land development in Florida erodes and fragments wildlife habitats and disrupts migration corridors. This leads to population collapse and genetic isolation. With this initiative, the Federation intends to raise public awareness, educate Florida residents on the benefits of coexistence, as well as provide guidance on land development, land sharing, and land uses.

Vehicle collisions are the leading cause of reported deaths for the Florida panther. "Wildlife in Our Backyard" shows how roads bisecting panther habitats pose a significant risk to the endangered species and how humans can help these panthers thrive among growing development.

"In terms of rare species, Florida is the hot spot within the eastern United States, and that diversity makes our state unique," said Preston Robertson, President and CEO of the Florida Wildlife Federation. "We are suffering the highest rate of habitat loss because we have the highest rate of human population growth within the region. Failing to recognize the importance of coexistence compromises wildlife's future, and I would argue our future as well."

"Wildlife in Our Backyard" has been selected for viewing at multiple film festivals across the US and Canada. It is part of the Official Selection of Nature Without Borders International Film Festival 2021, Wildlife Conservation Film Festival 2021, Dunedin International Film Festival 2022, Central Florida CineFest 2021, Oregon Documentary Film Festival Winter 2022, Toronto Documentary Feature & Short Film Festival 2021, Colorado Environmental Film Festival 2022, Florida Environmental Film Festival 2021, and Cinema Verde Environmental Film & Arts Festival 2022. The film also received an Honorable Mention at the American Golden Picture International Film Festival 2021, won the "Best Sustainable Cities Film Award" at the Sustainable Stories Film Fest 2021, as well as the "Exceptional Merit Award" at the Nature Without Borders Film Festival 2021.

The short film is just one of many by "Share the Landscape." Starting at the beginning of February, a social media campaign will kickstart the project, culminating with the online premiere of "Wildlife in Our Backyard" on Save the Florida Panther Day, the 19th of March, 2022, at 11 am. Follow #sharethelandscape on Instagram at @FlWildFed and join the premiere on YouTube.

Meredith Budd
Florida Wildlife Federation
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Wildlife in Our Backyard