Two New Exhibits are MUST-SEES at the Museum of Florida History in Tallahassee

By Claudia Farren, Communications Consultant

Do you live in Tallahassee or are you coming for a visit this spring or summer? The Museum of Florida History has two new exhibits, the Springs Eternal exhibit and The Lure of Florida Fishing that you won’t want to miss. Florida’s springs are suffering from pollution and loss of flow. John Moran’s exhibit, Springs Eternal, hopes to influence citizen behavior and public policy through his photographs of both pristine habitats and those that are not so pristine anymore. The Lure of Florida Fishing exhibit is a fun walk-through of sport fishing history in our state. Sport fishing has enticed fishermen and tourists to the Sunshine State since the nineteenth century. In 1885, tarpon were traditionally taken by harpoons. When an angler caught one on a rod and reel, the first “Florida fishing craze” was born.

 

The Springs Eternal exhibit is currently showing at the Musem of Florida History at the R. A. Gray Building, 500 S. Bronough Street in Tallahassee.

Florida outdoor photographer, John Moran, has been photographing his favorite Florida springs for 30 years. Through his photographs presented at the R. A. Gray Building near the State Capitol, he has documented the progression of too many of our Florida springs as they have turned from pristine jewels to ones polluted by algae and mats of weeds. This process has been fed in large part by nitrogen, phosphorous and other nutrients contained in the run-off from storm drains, fertilized lawns and septic tanks. Some springs even suffer from a loss of flow due to overpumping from the underground water supply, made worse by a running drought in Southeast. Levy Blue Spring was closed to the public for Spring Break in 2012 due to low water levels. Convict Springs on the Suwannee River and Poe Springs on the Santa Fe also had record low flows in 2012. Moran says on one of his display boards, “This project is a visual celebration of the springs we were given, a meditation on the springs we could lose, and an invitation to the people of Florida to fall in love with our springs all over again, mindful that the choices we make today foretell the Florida of tomorrow.”

 

Algal bloom at Devil’s Eye Spring, 2012, Ichetucknee Springs State Park. Algae tints the water green and weeds cover most of the white sandy bottom.

 

Then….

 Now…

 

“Here in Florida, we need a new way of thinking and doing for the next 500 years – a mindset of environmental patriotism that defines wellbeing in terms larger than dollars.” – John Moran

 

With his photos John Moran hopes to bring an understanding of why our springs are in decline and inspire all Floridians to find effective, timely solutions. Mr. Moran has partnered with Lesley Gamble and Rick Kilby to bring together scientists, hydrogeologists, cave divers, business owners, artists and advocates through the Springs Eternal Project to restore our springs and aquifer.

The Problem:

Pollution, groundwater over pumping and regulatory neglect are ruining our springs.

Some Solutions:

  1.      Use less water in your daily life.
  2.      Grow native and use less chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
  3.       Visit a spring.
  4.       Volunteer or donate.
  5.       Contact your elected officials. Tell them you want clean water. Not green water. Ask for tighter controls on groundwater pumping, more effective curbs on nutrient pollution, and greater protection for  sensitive land nearby.

   6.      Stay informed.

 

To see more of Mr. Moran’s photos of Florida’s beautiful springs and how you can become part of the solution explore SpringsEternalProject.org. The “Springs Eternal” exhibit was previously on display at the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville. All photos are from the exhibit.

 

The Springs Eternal photographic exhibit is showing at the Museum of Florida History in the R. A. Gray Building, 500 S. Bronough Street, Tallahassee, FL. 850-245-6400. It runs through May 30, 2014.

LINKS:

Florida Wildlife Federation Clean Water Initiatives  Florida Wildlife Federation’s Clean Water Policy and links to Clean Water related articles.

Floridians’ Clean Water Declaration Campaign  The Floridians’ Clean Water Declaration is a positive vision to inspire people to work together to create a new water ethic, find solutions to Florida’s water quality and quantity problems and send a clear message to our water managers that the people of Florida demand clean water.

 Florida’s Water and Land Legacy The campaign to protect Florida’s most cherished waters and natural areas. The Amendment gives Florida voters a direct opportunity to keep drinking water clean, protect our rivers, springs and beaches and restore natural treasures like the Everglades—without any increase in taxes.

Proposed Rule Would Close Gap in FL Water Protection  March 27, 2014

The Obama administration has proposed a new rule to clarify which types of water have Clean Water Act protection.

Silver Springs No Longer the World’s Biggest First Magnitude Spring

 

Also showing at the Museum of Florida History . . .

The Lure of Fishing exhibit spotlights the history of sport fishing in the Sunshine State from the late nineteenth century to the present with artwork, historic photographs and over 100 artifacts. One wall has twenty-two paintings by William Aiken detailing individual species of fish from the early twentieth century. You will see fish mounts, deep sea fishing rods, reels including a Hendryx casting reel circa 1900-1919, vintage tackle and coveted trophies from the West Palm Beach Fishing Club and the Metropolitan Miami Fishing Tournament. There are even photos and stories of some of Florida’s most famous fishermen – baseball great Ted Williams, author Zane Grey and of course, Ernest Hemingway.

 

The mighty tarpon was the first game fish to attract large numbers of tourists to Florida.

Florida has a long history of lure making. Some lure makers formed large companies; others set up working space in their homes and made lures for their friends. Frank and Linda Carter of Tallahassee loaned their lure collection to the museum. It spans from 1908 thru the 1940s.

 

Back in the good ol’ days, fishing line was made of cotton, silk or linen and had to be dried between fishing trips. If the line was used in saltwater it had to be rinsed with fresh water before drying. The line was wrapped around a line dryer to dry.

 

 

Be sure and play the Wii game that helps you learn the proper technique to reel in a fish. Or, use the touch screens in the next booth to learn how long it takes trash in Florida’s lakes and shorelines to decompose.

Throughout the spring and summer the Museum of History will host educational programs to accompany the fishing exhibit. The Joe Budd Aquatic Center will host a hands-on presentation, “Where Fishes Live: Habitat and Anatomy. Tom Knowles will lecture on the Long Key Fishing Camp that opened in 1908 and touted some of the “best fishing in the world.” Also scheduled is a cooking demonstration by Chef Justin Timinieri, of the Florida Department of Agriculture. Other speakers are renowned Florida fishing and outdoor writers Doug Kelly, Terry Tomalin, and Mark Sosin. Schedule of Events.

Come visit Tallahassee’s Museum of Florida History and learn why Florida is named the “Fishing Capital of the World.” The Lure of Fishing exhibit will be on display until August 26, 2014.

About the Museum of Florida History: The Museum of Florida History is part of the Florida Department of State’s Division of Cultural Affairs and is located in the R. A. Gray Building at 500 S Bronough Street, Tallahassee, FL. Hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Sunday and holidays, noon to 4:30 p.m.  Website.  Phone: 850-245-6400. Free parking is available in the garage next to the R. A. Gray building.

 

 

Wildlife Corridor Expedition Event at Bok Tower Was a Huge Success

On February 15th, Florida Wildlife Federation, Ancient Islands Sierra, Lake Region Audubon, Bok Tower Gardens and the Polk County Cattlemen’s Association co-sponsored a major event highlighting the epic trek from the Everglades to the Okefenokee by Elam Stoltzfus, Carlton Ward, Joe Guthrie and Mallory Lykes Dimmit – 1,000 Miles in 100 Days. The trek by kayak, horseback and foot sought to illustrate that a major wildlife corridor still exists (due to public land ownership and large cattle ranches), but is in jeopardy and needs to be protected. The event was held to publicize the trek and to raise money for Florida’s Water and Land Legacy Amendment (FWLL) Initiative.

The Legacy Initiative is now in the process of gathering petitions to place an amendment on the 2014 General Election Ballot. The amendment would dedicate for twenty years one-third of the net revenues from the existing excise tax on documents to a Land Acquisition Trust Fund which Florida desperately needs to acquire, improve and manage watersheds to improve water quality and quantity in its springs, rivers and aquifers. Dedicating existing revenues to this goal is prudent and imperative both for our economy and quality of life.

The event sponsors and several individuals donated funds which offset all costs.  In addition, thirteen local businesses and individuals donated items, ranging from original works of art to a guided kayak tour, for a silent auction which raised over $2,000 for the FWLL initiative.

Requests to attend this free event reached maximum capacity (225) within a week following its announcement.  Unfortunately, more than a hundred late responders had to be told “sorry the event is sold out.”  As attendees enjoyed beverages and appetizers provided by Bok Tower, they viewed and bid on items in the silent auction, and networked with people from different organizations and discovered much common ground.

Following welcomes to the event by Bok Tower president, David Price, and FWF director and event organizer, Bob Taylor, Senator Rick Dantzler summarized the need for Florida’s Water and Land Legacy Initiative and told the audience how they could help make it a reality  The subsequent presentation by trekkers Stoltzfus and Ward was informative and well received. As the evening drew to a close David Price reflected that bringing these diverse groups together for a common goal proved to be a successful concept and that we should make occasions like this an annual event.

Although a planning committee had spent the last three months organizing this event, everyone agrees that Florida Wildlife Director and Sierra member, Bob Taylor, was the driving force. Congratulations and many thanks to Bob.

Frances Howell-Coleman

Follow this link to find out more about Florida Water and Land Legacy Initiative and how you can help! http://floridawaterlandlegacy.org/index.php

Bob Taylor

Elam Stoltzfus and Carlton Ward

Bok Tower Gardens President, David Price

Senator Rick Dantzler

Tallahassee Native Daniel Alvarez Paddles 4,000 Miles

By Danny Gwynn-Shapiro

With 3,000 miles under his belt, Daniel Alvarez stopped in his home town of Tallahassee for a brief respite, before setting off to continue another 1,000 miles along the Gulf Coast to Key West and the southernmost point in continental United States. What was his starting point? The Boundary Waters in Minnesota at the Canadian border, the northernmost point in the continental United States. His journey has taken him portaging and paddling, guided by an old fur trading rout not used for 200 years, down into Lake Superior, along its borders to the Mississippi, down the Mississippi to the Gulf and along the Gulf to the Florida panhandle.

As part of his Tallahassee stop, Daniel gave a talk to family, friends, supporters and interested community members on January 21st. He provided insight into his trip so far, flushed-out stories from his excellent blog (http://predictablylost.com/), answered questions and showed off his kayak.

Beyond the thrill of adventure and the challenge of testing himself, Daniel discussed his goals of raising awareness about public spaces and the vastness still able to be explored and enjoyed. He remarked on the unique perspective that comes with seeing the landscape change by paddling, something that is often lost when we fly or drive. With his trip, Daniel has aimed to “highlight the victories, losses and ongoing battles” being fought to protect these invaluable areas.

Daniel has put his money where his mouth is, donating funds he won from a contest by Outdoor Magazine to four conservation organizations (Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness, American Rivers, Gulf Restoration Network and the Florida Wildlife Federation) that work to protect stretches of his paddle. We are hugely appreciative of his gift.

Daniel’s parting words where that “everyone should take a moment to think about an adventure they want to do, then go do it. Don’t wait around for it to happen, just go!” We can only hope people follow in his lead, for then our wild spaces would be truly appreciated by all. 

 

Daniel Alvarez on January 21, in Tallahassee

Daniel Alvarez on January 21, in Tallahassee

 

Daniel’s kayak was donated by Necky Kayaks

Daniel’s kayak was donated by Necky Kayaks