All six episodes are currently available for free via the Discover Florida Channel app on Roku, AppleTV, AmazonFire, Xbox, Samsung, or LG or at www. discoverfloridachannel.com.
The host of the show is Chad Crawford, a third generation Floridian who has made a life and career out of teaching others how to live to the max in this state. He produced and hosted 13 seasons of “How to Do Florida” (also available on the Discover Florida Channel) where viewers can tag along with him on Florida-based adventures like shrimping, surfing, and scuba diving. He also created and hosted “The Outsiders Club,” a show about teaching kids how to enjoy the Florida outdoors, and “My Florida Yard,” where his team “flips” a yard to Florida-friendly in eight hours, educating homeowners along the way.
“Protect Our Paradise” is the natural culmination of that trajectory, Chad explains: “A way to wrap all this together into a much sharper spear and point it at much bigger environmental issues, talking to people on the front lines and trying to address and educate people in our state about what we’re up against.”
There was no shortage of adventure in the two years it took to create the series, but Chad has had some stand-out moments. “Carlton Ward had us meet him in the middle of nowhere. Getting to him was insane,” Chad says, referring to the National Geographic Society photographer and co-founder of the Florida Wildlife Corridor project. (You can see Chad drive his truck across an honest-to- goodness creek in the “Our Corridor” episode). Then there’s the episode “Our Wildlife,” where he and FWC biologist Mike Orlando trap a black bear. “The thing lunges at you with this bluff charge—it freaked me out,” Chad recalls with a chuckle.
Creating the show was fun but also emotionally draining at times, such as in the “Our Coast” episode when Mike Goldberg, founder of I.Care (Islamorada Conservation and Restoration Education), explained that over 95% of the coral in the Keys is gone. Literally. Five-hundred-year old coral formations Goldberg dove in his youth are now dead.