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Everglades Ecological Rally Invites Big-Name Floridians


This year's Everglades Action Day is all about clean water conservation. The annual ecological awareness event was kicked off by a special guest singer who flew in all the way from Margaritaville.

Even though the crowd was energized about Everglades conservation, it was clear by the vast amount of tropical shirts, straw hats and shoulder-mounted parrots that many in the crowd weren’t just attracted by saving the environment. Florida-based author Carl Hiaasen, whose work has become as quintessentially Floridian as the Everglades themselves, introduced another Florida icon to the steps of the Old Capitol.

“And I’m also happy to say that the time is now to hear from my very good friend, and a wonderful friend of our everglades for so many years, a member of the Florida artists’ hall of fame… Jimmy Buffett.” Hiaasen said.

Buffett is no stranger to eco-activism, and Parrotheads cheered as he and his band stood on the steps.

“Hello, Florida! Good to be back in Tallahassee, raisin’ a little hell, for the right reasons.” Buffett said.

The message wasn’t lost on the swaying fans as Buffett strummed and sang some of his old classics. The good vibes were a contrast to concerns that legislative plans to divide revenues from the voter-approved conservation funding plan, will put the ecology at risk.

“For over two decades, scientists and policy makers at the federal and state level have known that we need the land south of Lake Okeechobee to store the polluted water, so it can be purified into clean drinking water for all Floridians, and the remaining water sent south to the Everglades,” Hiaasen explained.

Hiaasen is talking about a deal that has taken a long time to materialize. He and other activists went on to explain that although voters were in overwhelming favor of setting aside funds to purchase that land south of Lake Okeechobee, the U.S. sugar company selling it is having second thoughts.

But if the urgent tones perked audience’s ears, the mellow tropical tunes from Buffett’s music brought people back down.

Matthew Seeger began his work in radio in 2012, during an internship he took with WUSF in Tampa. He went on to volunteer at 89.7 FM “The Voice” for several years as a news anchor and production assistant. He began working with the WFSU news team in January of 2015. In addition to reporting the news, Matt is a voice actor, having recorded and produced several creative audio pieces, as well as his own series for V89’s Vox Populi program called “Tales from Hell Creek,”-- a series of slice-of-life vignettes about dinosaurs.