When they hear the name “Everglades,” most people picture the classic “river of grass” found in Everglades National Park at the southwestern tip of Florida. But the headwaters of this system are more than 140 miles north, less than 20 miles from Disney World. There, Shingle Creek begins the gradual southwesterly flow of water that ultimately feeds the entire marsh downstream. In between, the water travels through the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes.

The region’s mixture of wet and dry habitats is hometo some of the nation’s most threatened or endangered animal species, including the Florida panther, Florida black bear, and some thirty others. Just ten years ago, the population of Florida panthers was down to just 65 animals, dangerously close to the point of no return. Although the number of panthers has rebounded to 175, biologists fear that, as the population expands northward, it will not have access to enough habitat to continue this growth trend.

NWRA has launched an aggressive conservation agenda to protect Florida’s last large wild landscape and to restore those endangered species whose survival depends on intact habitat. Phase I includes the creation of the Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge, which will protect 50,000 acres of diverse habitat through acquisition and another 100,000 acres through conservation easements.

“By supporting such a vital and timely conservation effort, we can all help to preserve and restore the habitat necessary to ensure the survival of the Florida panther and other endangered species,” said Orvis CEO Perk Perkins.

Your contribution will leverage that money toward securing $700 million in federal funds for the creation of the new refuge.

You can help. To help save the Northern Everglades, send your check to the National Wildlife Refuge Association, c/o The Orvis Company, 178 Conservation Way, Sunderland, VT 05250.

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