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December 2, 2023 @ 11:00 am - 12:30 pm
A Morning with Betty Osceola
With Festival, Books & Books, and Coral Gables Congregational United Church of Christ presents…
KEYNOTE: RECLAIMING OUR STORIES WITH BETTY OSCEOLA
Saturday, December 2nd at 11 AM
Coral Gables Congregational United Church of Christ | 3010 De Soto Boulevard Coral Gables, FL 33134
A member of the Miccosukee Tribe of Florida from the Panther clan, Osceola is a Native American Everglades educator, conservationist, anti-fracking and clean water advocate. Born and raised in the Everglades, where at the turn of the 20th century the Miccosukee were still traveling coast-to-coast across subtropical wetlands by canoe, Osceola now captains and operates the Buffalo Tiger Airboat Tours on Tamiami Trail, near Miami. Born 20 years before her birthplace and family home were named America’s first national preserve, Osceola quips, “I live in the Big Cypress National Preserve, but I was here before it. I consider myself fortunate to have grown up so connected to nature when we still had clean water, plenty of wading birds and we could still live off the land, growing crops on the tree islands. Today the waters are too polluted to do that.”
Everglades National Park was intended for preserving a sliver of what was once a pristine Everglades ecosystem. With the layout of a complex system of Army Corps of Engineer-built canals that drained the land to make way for sugar cane production and subdivisions, phosphorous-laden runoff now flows into Miccosukee territory, which much of sits adjacent to the protected national park. Nutrient-rich runoff encourages the growth of weeds and invasive species in the tribe’s waters and regularly floods land that has become uninhabitable. These issues, along with Florida’s population growth (more than 1,000 people daily) and aggressive development, as well as resisting the Burnett Oil Company acquiring state permits to drill for oil in Big Cypress, are why Osceola spends time educating people and using her fleet of airboats to help the tribe conduct a twice-yearly water quality survey, used at times to fight persistent government efforts to cut corners on water restoration efforts.
Courtesy: Excerpted from: https://www.swflnaturalawakenings.com/
This keynote is made possible by a partnership with the Coral Gables Congregational Church.