This research project examines the ways that people come to understand themselves to be part of larger communities in the context of the world's largest ecological restoration project. The study focuses on a rural 20- by 40-mile region of the Everglades and the responses to the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan. It uses research methods that include long-term participant observation, interviews, and case studies of two major restoration projects. The researcher investigates two questions: 1) How do residents of an ecologically and culturally diverse area of the Everglades value water and land, especially in their everyday practices?; and 2) How do these everyday practices enact belonging in the context of restoration?
This research project will offer social scientific findings related to the four components for measuring the effectiveness of Everglades restoration as outlined in the 2000 Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan. In addition, the findings will be shared with local communities in the Everglades area and the larger academic community.