Tonight, turn on PBS/Lakeshore Public Television at 8pm to watch "Everglades of the North: the Story of the Grand Kankakee Marsh", once one of the largest in the US. I was one of the lucky few to watch the debut last night at Lowell's High School auditorium, and it really is a fascinating story with beautiful images and storytelling. Last night I saw the community that came together to create this project: local families, environmentalists, historians, audio specialists, videographers, narrators, artists, and organizations like ours. Pat Wisniewski was the passion behind the film, responsible for bringing them all together with the other producers.
The documentary tells the tale of how unique and grand the Grand Kankakee Marsh once was. The marsh was visited by thousands to hunt for food and furs including the elite among this country's society, blocks of ice were broken from its waters and sold in the winter, and the trees of the marsh helped rebuild Chicago after the great fire of 1871. It was home to thousands of migrating birds, allowing hunters to leave the marsh with truckloads of birds, some served the very next day at the restaurants of Chicago.
Though the documentary is about a local marsh, it really shares a history that would sound familiar in many areas of the country. It demonstrates how our ancestors discovered these lands, altered them for what they believed would benefit their communities, and how we are discovering the true value of what was lost and now trying to return the land to nature.
Tune in tonight and learn the tale of the beautiful landscape that once was, and the efforts that are going on today to preserve what remains. Below is the trailer of the documentary: