Many of us are disconnected from the beauty of swamps and the vital role they play in filtering water, fostering life, and buffering storms. Today, coastal development, pollution, and sea-level rise are threatening these invaluable landscapes. One of the biggest threats to swamps is a human disconnect from the environment and a lack of understanding of the role that swamps play in human survival. In a time of accelerated change and unpredictable weather, it has never been more important to look, listen, and learn from the swamps around us.


This is especially true for South Florida, home to the Everglades, one of largest swamps in the world. Up until 1900, all of South Florida was one big swamp. To make way for development, the city drained the swamp and diverted the natural water flow, changing its essential water filtering and supply system forever. A rapid expansion of urbanization and agricultural growth has led to a host of environmental problems, making the Everglades a skeleton of what it once was. We can’t turn back the clock, but we can learn to co-exist with our disappearing swamps and find ways to negotiate a fast-changing future.


Through passionate local guides, immersive landscapes, and an interactive Swamp Symphony, this documentary project leads users into the depths of Florida’s swamps and to the people who care about them. This website is a companion to our VR project.

WEB PRODUCTION


The SwampScapes website was developed by documentary and interactive design students from the University of Miami.


PROFESSORS/ PRODUCERS
Elizabeth Miller & Kim Grinfeder with Juan Carlos Zaldivar


SCRIPT COACH
Elizabeth Miller


CINEMATOGRAPHY
Grant E Bemis, Elizabeth Miller, Deborah Vanslet


UNDERWATER CINEMATOGRAPHY
Evan Karge


VIDEO EDITING
Yaxu Hu, Elizabeth Miller, Deborah VanSlet


STILL PHOTOGRAPHY
Grant E Bemis


WEB DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT
Mike Davis – Lead Developer
Melissa Gutierrez – SwampSymphony Design
Chelsea Haina
Xing Liu
Long Qian
Siyuan Tong


SWAMP SYMPHONY SOUND
Adrian Gonzalez


MAP & GUIDE DESIGN
Savannah Geary


360 VIDEO EDIT AND SOUND
Lorenzo Ponce de Leon


EDUCATIONAL GUIDE
Laura Martinez, Elizabeth Miller, Savannah Geary


DRONE FOOTAGE
Lorenzo Ponce de Leon


ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT
Greta West


LOGISTICS SUPPORT
Aaron Nunez Zaller


PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBIT
Grant E. Bemis


VIRTUAL REALITY FILM AND INTERACTIVE


PRODUCED & DIRECTED BY
Elizabeth Miller, Juan Carlos Zaldivar, Kim Grinfeder


SCRIPT
Elizabeth Miller


INTERACTIVE DIRECTOR, VR CINEMATOGRAPHER
Kim Grinfeder


PICTURE EDIT
Juan Carlos Zaldivar


LEAD DEVELOPER
Zhiming Sun


SOUND RECORDING
Juan Carlos Zaldivar, Liz Miller, Candace Barbot


SOUND MIX
Adrian Morales-Demori


INTERFACE DESIGN
Qian Zhuang


COLOR CORRECTION
tba


FEATURED
Larry Brant
Reverend Houston R. Cypress
Cheryl Dykstra
Win Everham
Donna Molfetto
Betty Osceola
Mike Owen
Larry Pace


THANKS TO


Dale Andree
David Abel
Rita and Eric Bauer
Katherine Bergerson
Brenda Brooks
John Cassani
Isabelle Carbonell
Deja Darbonne
David Green
Keene Haywood
Cassandra Keith
Mike Knight
Kontaxis Konstantia
S.Topiary Landberg
Dee Leonard
Leah Miller
Susan Morgan
Alison Naturale
Aaron Nunez Zaller
Rebecca Pelham
Heather Scaza Acosta
Julia Schostak
Sonny Shiu
Kathleen Smith
Brenda Thomas
Deborah VanSlet
Bertha Vasquez
Conservancy of Southwest Florida
CREW Land & Water Trust
Florida Gulf Coast University
Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park


We thank all those involved who are tireless advocates for the Everglades.


CREATED WITH SUPPORT FROM


University of Miami School of Communication
John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Center for Communication, Culture & Change

FURTHER READING AND RESOURCES


Affective Ecologies: Empathy Emotion and Environmental Narratives by Alexa Weik von Mossner


Mirage by Cynthia Barnett


Swamplandia by Karen Russell


Tomorrow’s Biodiversity, Vandana Shiva


The Everglades River of Grass, by Marjory Stoneman Douglas


The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert


The Swamp: The Everglades, Florida and the Politics of Paradise by Michael Grunwald


The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities and the Remaking of the Civilized World by Jeff Goodell.


Film:


Gladesmen: The Last of the Sawgrass Cowboys, http://www.gladesmenfilm.com


Download our Guide:


Our goal for this multi-platform documentary project is to promote "swamp literacy" by fostering awareness of the Everglades and the role that swamps play in human survival. SwampScapes incorporates four unique and connected media platforms.



  • Website: This site features short video portraits, 360 landscapes, and an interactive Swamp Symphony where users can listen to swamp sounds and create their own swamp compositions.

  • VR Linear Film: A guided journey to the Everglades, one of the most diverse swamps in the world. From the tree tops of urban swamps to the remote sloughs of the Fakahatchee swamp, users will immerse themselves in stunning landscapes and discover some of the passionate protectors of Florida’s swamps. Meet Betty, a Miccosukee water activist who runs her own airboat business and Donna, a raptor biologist who monitors hawk nests to prevent extinction. Follow Larry, an algae expert, who calls attention to the frightening long-term impacts of polluted water or Win, a disturbance ecologist speaking to human caused disturbances. SwampScapes involves seven unique sites.

  • Interactive VR documentary: An interactive experience of our seven unique scapes permitting viewers to choose their own path.

  • Photo installation: Our photo exhibit accompanies the VR project and challenges viewers to consider their own mediated relationship to the swamp.


Check out the Exhibit Photos.