Naples Daily News Features Watkins '12 Op-ed
By Vige Barrie
June 23, 2011
In an opinion piece in the Naples Daily News titled "Land Bought By the Gallon? Today Not So Much," rising senior Glenn Watkins wrote about the environmental crisis unfolding in Florida and specifically the Everglades. A volunteer for the Everglades Foundation in Miami, Watkins described how “the restoration of the Everglades is not just about restoring an ecosystem, but it’s also an economic development and economic security project. South Florida’s ability to foster economic growth and create jobs hinges on the success or failure of protecting and enhancing our water supply.”
Describing the diversion of water to supply growing populations and agriculture, she explained that, “We have been bleeding the Glades dry by disrupting the slow flow of water that begins at Kissimmee River, progresses to Lake Okeechobee, and spills over nearly two million acres of saw grass, cypress hammocks, farmland, and highways, and ultimately drains into the ocean though the Everglades National Park.” Watkins, who is an environmental studies major at Hamilton, wrote that, “We must create a better way for the Glades to retain water, namely by restoring the slow sheet-flow which reduces the amount of water flushed into the ocean via man-made systems, leaving more for Florida.”
In closing, she warned, “When we began draining the Everglades in the early 19th century, it prompted vast wildfires …. For the sake of Florida, let’s not make this same mistake again.”
Watkins is a 2008 graduate of Naples High School.