I am currently in the final stages of editing a manuscript on the creation of Everglades National Park. This book examines the environmental and political history of the park’s creation. The Everglades is a transitional landscape which exists between land and water. It is a wetland, and wetlands are messy and muddy landscapes that defy categorization. These wetland qualities resist human efforts to control and domesticate these landscapes.
Just as the Everglades was a transitional landscape, the fight for the park was a transitional campaign that straddled the divide between Progressive Era conservation and modern environmentalism. The park’s creation was marked by many of the most important ecological and biocentric ideas that would later become central to modern environmentalism. At the same time, it was connected to the anthropocentric traditions of the park service and it was seen by Florida’s business and political communities as an economic asset.
Other articles I’ve published on this topic examine: conservative opposition to the park’s creation, the concept of wilderness as it applied to the region, and opposition to Everglades drainage during the Progressive Era. I am currently working on a digital history mapping project on the past human habitation of the Everglades.
Selected Publications and Presentations on the Everglades:
From Swamp to Wetland:The Creation of Everglades National Park (Forthcoming book – under contract with University of Georgia Press)
“Mapping Past Human Habitation in Everglades National Park.” In preparation.
“Poaching in the Park: Marjory Stoneman Douglas’s Alligator Crossing and the Social Dimensions of Preservation.” Submitted to The Journal of Ecocriticism.
“Conservatives in the Everglades: Sun Belt Environmentalism and the Creation of Everglades National Park,” Journal of Southern History, 82 (November 2016) 759-788. (Link)
“For the Birds: Challenging Wilderness in the Everglades,” Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, 3 (June 2013) 153-166. (Link)
“Pragmatism, Seminoles, and Science: Opposition to Progressive Everglades Drainage,” Florida Historical Quarterly, 90 (Spring 2012) 426-452. (Link)
“Transnational Tropicality in Everglades National Park,” Southern Historical Association Annual Meeting, November 2016.
My next research project is a work of marine environmental history. History is often a story about human action on the land. This project examines how marine ecosystems and humans interacted to make history. Florida’s waters and coastal regions have been central to the state’s economy and identity throughout its history. Beginning as early as the 1900s, the state began protecting these waters. By the 1960s, the state had amassed the most impressive record of marine preservation in the United States, if not in the world. This project examines the history of marine preservation in Florida, and seeks to draw transnational comparisons with other examples of marine preservation. I’m particularly interested in the protection of coral reefs and mangrove forests, two ecosystems Florida led the way in protecting.
Selected Publications and Presentations on Marine Preservation:
“An Outstanding Conservationist with Great Ability: Bill Mellor and the Fight to Protect Florida’s Bays.” In preparation.
“Seagrass-Roots Environmentalism: The Lee County Conservation Association and Marine Preservation in Florida,” Georgia Association of Historians Annual Meeting, February 2019.
“Florida’s Aquatic Preserves:The Internal Improvement Fund and the Interagency Commission,” Florida Historical Society Annual Meeting, May 2018.