Filmmakers Produce NWI’s Epic: ‘Everglades of the North: The Story of the Grand Kankakee Marsh!’

Everglades of the North

Described both as a “eulogy” for lost species and a message of “hope” for rebirth of a natural habitat, the filmmakers of “Everglades of the North” captured for the first time in film the historic saga of the Grand Kankakee Marsh. The documentary aired on 37 Public TV stations in 22 states seen by over 1 million viewers. Given “Four stars” by Mark Bouman of The Field Museum, where it was screened in February, 2013, he said, “With great skill, the film draws the veil off a landscape as seemingly mysterious as south Florida’s, though only an hour’s drive from Chicago.”  Actually, the film made its premiere to 500 people in Lowell the previous November. Those in attendance helped make the film.  The idea came from writer Jeff Manes, who grew up near the river and wanted to it share the marsh’s legacy. “When I went to school in LakeVillage, we weren’t told this story.”  So he reached out to Patricia Wisniewski, For Goodness Sake Productions, Valparaiso.  She assembled a production team that also included veteran filmmakers Brian Kallies, formerly of CedarLake and now Los Angeles, and Tom Desch of Chicago. Four years in the making, this team “aggregated” material from archives and hundreds of hours of filming of this resilient habitat.  The project includes an educator’s guide by Jennifer Davies and Chris Kustusch. The story of the river is always transforming, Pat said.  “Now people are learning how to bring this natural wonder back.”  For information and sponsors, go to

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