In partnership with WGCU Public Media, the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge will host a free Monday, Jan. 7, sneak preview airing of The Swamp, a new national PBS documentary. The “Ding” Darling showing starts at 5 p.m. in the Sanibel Community Center at 2173 Periwinkle Way.

The documentary later will debut as part of AMERICAN EXPERIENCE programming on WGCU HD at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019. Based in part on the book The Swamp: The Everglades, Florida, and the Politics of Paradise by Michael Grunwald, the documentary tells the dramatic story of humanity’s attempts to conquer the Florida Everglades, one of nature’s most mysterious and unique ecosystems.

Explored through the lives of colorful and resolute characters -- from hucksters to politicians to unlikely activists -- The Swamp chronicles the repeated efforts to transform what was once identified as a vast and useless wasteland into an agricultural and urban paradise, ultimately leading to a passionate campaign to preserve America’s greatest wetland.

As Florida copes today with the disastrous aftermath of man’s abuse of the Everglades, The Swamp is a timely documentary of the perils of changing the course of nature for profit.

“The Swamp tells an epic tale of man’s never-ending attempt to control nature,” says AMERICAN EXPERIENCE executive producer Mark Samels. “The story of the repeated efforts to tame the Everglades -- and the often deadly results of those attempts – is a particularly cautionary tale in these days of increasingly violent natural disasters.”

Following a 30-minute preview of the two-hour documentary, attendees will have the opportunity to hear comments from Florida Gulf Coast University aquatic ecologist Serge Thomas, Ph.D.

“We are happy to partner with WGCU on a project that reinforces the importance of preservation and water quality in our part of Florida,” said DDWS executive director Birgie Miller. “Part of our mission is to support the conservation efforts at the Refuge including land acquisition on Sanibel Island, which will benefit overall water quality by stemming more development of the type that once threatened the Everglades.”

Snacks and beverages will be available by donation. Seating for the free showing is limited to 200 people on a first-come, first-seated basis.

For more information, call 239-472-1100 ext. 4.

WGCU is Southwest Florida’s source for PBS and NPR programming. As a member-supported service of Florida Gulf Coast University, WGCU’s mission is to provide educational programming that inspires, informs and engages our community. Serving seven counties, representing one-fifth of the state of Florida, with five distinct digital TV channels, two FM radio channels and two HD radio channels and multiple websites, WGCU delivers national and international programming and develops, produces and delivers relevant, informative and educational local programs to the Southwest Florida community. More information about WGCU is available online at WGCU | Your Southwest Florida Source for Public Broadcasting and by following us on Facebook.