Elam Stoltzfus

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Elam Stoltzfus
Stoltzfus Elam.jpg
Stoltzfus in 2012
Elam Stevie Stoltzfus

May 18, 1957
Alma materFlorida State University
Years active1990-present
Spouse(s)Esther Stoltzfus (1985-present)

Elam S. Stoltzfus (born 1957) is an American environmental documentary filmmaker who concentrates on documenting special places and people of Florida.

Early life[edit]

Stoltzfus was born in 1957 into an Amish family of nine in Pennsylvania. During his late teens Elam left the Amish community and he purchased an automobile and a camera. He first attended Chipola College and then earned his B.S. in Media and Communication from the College of Communication and Information at Florida State University.


Stoltzfus is devoted to working on nature documentaries in Florida and has traveled throughout the state documenting stories of Florida’s varied environment. He has made seven hour-long nature documentaries. The genesis for his work began with the half-hour, Visions of Florida: the Photographic Art of Clyde Butcher, that was produced in 1990. He first met Clyde Butcher as the cinematographer for the project, Visions of Florida. This was his first award-winning project; he received a Louis Wolfson award for "Best in Artistic Expression". This film was also his first to be released nationwide through Public Television.[1] After a six-year stint as a media designer for the state of Florida, in 2000, he began work on Living Waters: Aquatic Preserves of Florida, featuring 12 aquatic preserves located around the state.[2] His next project was Apalachicola River: An American Treasure, about the iconic waterway of the Florida panhandle.[3] After that he completed Big Cypress: The Western Everglades, featuring Clyde Butcher’s backyard.[4] Following that was Kissimmee Basin: The Northern Everglades.[5]

As a way to tie all of these Everglades projects together, he became a member of the four-team expedition group, the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition.[6] The group traveled 1,000 miles in 100 days from the Everglades to the Okefenokee Swamp.[7] The journey was documented in his film of the same name and garnered Stoltzfus a Suncoast Regional Emmy in the documentary category.[8]

Walton Outdoors, a touring company, states that the documentary, Coastal Dune Lakes: Jewels of Florida's Emerald Coast,[9] is “bringing awareness to [the] lakes is key to helping preserve our environment… we are fortunate now to have an educational documentary in the works.”[10] The film was featured during the PBS Public Television Earth Day Weekend in 2015.

In 2016, Elam Stoltzfus and his group documented the Great Florida Cattle Drive. From this journey a PBS documentary, Great Florida Cattle Drive: Unbroken Circles, was produced along with a 132-page coffee table book written by Elam's son, Nic Stoltzfus.

Personal life[edit]

Elam Stoltzfus married his wife, Esther Yoder Stoltzfus, in 1985. They have two children, Nicholas and Lars. They currently reside in Blountstown, Florida.

Awards and honors[edit]

In 2010, Stoltzfus was recognized by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for documenting wildlife in the state of Florida.

In May 2013, Stoltzfus was invited to speak at Florida State University's Spring Commencement Ceremony.[11] That year, governor Rick Scott recognized Elam and the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition group for their efforts to aid in conservation.

In 2014, Stoltzfus won a Suncoast Emmy in the category of best documentary for the Florida Wildlife Corridor film.[12] He received both the 2014 Conservation of the Year award by the Florida Wildlife Federation at the Annual Awards Banquet in Naples, Florida,[13] and the 2014 Sierra Club of Florida Cypress Award for Conservation Education.[14]


  • Great Florida Cattle Drive: Unbroken Circles (2017)
  • Apalachicola River and Bay: A Connected Ecosystem (2016)
  • Coastal Dune Lakes: Jewels of Florida's Emerald Coast (2015)
  • Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition: Everglades to Okefenokee (2013)
  • Kissimmee Basin: the Northern Everglades (2012)
  • Photoshop Made Simple by Clyde Butcher (2010)
  • Big Cypress Swamp: Western Everglades (2009)
  • Will McLean: Songs about Florida (2007)
  • Our Legacy: Florida Communities Trust (2006)
  • Apalachicola River: an American Treasure (2006)
  • Our Signature: the Wild and Scenic Loxahatchee River (2005)
  • Living Waters: Aquatic Preserves of Florida (2004)
  • Visions of Florida: Photographic Art of Clyde Butcher (1990)