Written by Mac Stone, author of Everglades: America’s Wetland

I’m a military brat. My dad, Keith Stone was a colonel in the army so we moved around a lot. My oldest brother was born in Virginia, my middle brother was born in Germany, and I was born in Kentucky. Soon after I was born, we moved to Washington State and then again, finally settling in Florida. I often tell people that my body was born in Kentucky, but my heart was born in Florida.

My dad came from a low income family from southwestern Virginia. It was such a small town and depressed economy where he came from that when he told his boss at the chair factory that he was applying for college, he was immediately fired. He worked extremely hard to get a chance to attend medical school after marrying my mom, but could not afford the high cost of schooling. His dad and my mom’s dad—my two grandfathers—were both in the military, so he signed up and became an OBGYN doctor through the military, doing his residency at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in DC. Some 36 years later my brother Will would go on to follow in his footsteps, becoming an OBGYN resident at Walter Reed through active duty in the military. This hospital is extremely important for our country’s military families—especially mine.

When the Labor and Delivery floor started talking about renovating their wing to give a more modern, bright, and welcoming ambiance, I struck up conversation with their design team and came up with some selections of my work. I am very honored to have a permanent installation there, and the doctors, nurses and patients have all loved the transformation. When I came by to sign and number the prints, I loved hearing about which were the favorites of numerous nurses, doctors, and patients. It was even more enjoyable to tell them the stories behind the images. I love sharing my work, especially when it’s for such a dedicated team of hardworking people and military families, in a place that has served an important role in my family’s life. It’s nice to know that during this incredibly special time, expecting families are able to roam the halls and enjoy the wild side of the U.S.

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Mac Stone’s photography shines a new light on the Everglades—a neglected, ancient, and important wilderness—in an attempt to change public opinion towards our country’s wetlands. When he is not photographing the bottomlands and backwoods of the southeastern US, Stone is a product tester for Columbia Sportswear, a Google Trekker, winner of the Save Our Seas Foundation Marine Conservation Photography Grant, official photographer for Savage Race, a fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers and the Executive Director of Naturaland Trust.

Watch Mac Stone present stunning photos of the endangered Everglades in this TEDx talk.

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