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Three Books That Capture Florida's Wild Spirit

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Featuring mermaids, flower thieves and more, these reads bring the Sunshine State’s spirit to life

Photo by Adam Bass

From impossible to put down quests to save endangered species to page turning magical flora encounters, American writers have penned the Corridor’s gripping tales into bestselling works for generations. They’ve set mysteries, love stories, and crime-scene dramas in the state’s cities, the swampy Everglades, pristine beaches and everywhere in between. 

Whether you’re itching for inspiration for your next trip to the Corridor or looking to fuel your wild side from the sidelines, these Florida classics embody the Live Wildly spirit we know and love.

Best. State. Ever. By Dave Barry

Native Floridian Dave Barry explores everything that makes Florida, Florida with his trademark humor and wit in Best. State. Ever. Over the course of the book, Barry visits the mermaids of Weeki Wachee Springs, hunts for the legendary Skunk Ape in Big Cypress National Preserve and gets his dog’s aura read in Cassadaga, the psychic capital of the world and around the corner from the Corridor’s Blue Spring State Park.

Over the course of the book, Barry visits the mermaids of Weeki Wachee Springs, hunts for the legendary Skunk Ape in Big Cypress National Preserve and gets his dog’s aura read in Cassadaga, the psychic capital of the world and around the corner from the Corridor’s Blue Spring State Park.

What better way to Live Wildly than to visit mermaids, hunt a mystical ape or peer into the future? And all with support from the Corridor, of course.

Hoot by Carl Hiassen

Carl Hiassen might be Florida’s most famous living writer and has set many of his notable works in his home state of Florida. Hoot, published in 2002 and adapted into a movie in 2006, is a humorous mystery for middle grade readers.

Hoot focuses on Rory Eberhardt, a Floridian preteen who becomes involved in a fight to prevent a construction project that will harm the endangered burrowing owl. The owl is a real-life bird that lives in Cape Coral and is considered a “species of special concern,” meaning it's at risk of becoming endangered if its habitat isn’t protected.  

With the Florida Grasshopper Sparrow being the most endangered bird species in America, the need to protect their home in the Corridor from development so they can Live Wildly isn’t all too different than Rory’s desire to save the endangered burrowing owl.

The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean

The Orchid Thief follows the real life story of John Laroche, a horticulturist who grew so obsessed with rare orchids that he poached them from the Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park. 

While investigating the case, Susan Orlean, a veteran journalist, takes readers deep into the state preserve, as she explores it with two machete-wielding guides, and the world of competitive orchid breeding.

While we’re not necessarily encouraging you to Live Wildly by stealing ghost orchids, we do suggest you visit the Fakahatchee to see the magical flowers that drove Laroche’s obsession for yourself. 

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With your help, we can ensure that Floridian flora, fauna, and fun will thrive for many years to come.

Join the movement to save the Florida Wildlife Corridor.


Econfina Creek
Photo by Carlton Ward, Jr.
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