The North Florida Springs Environmental Center played host Friday, May 14, to a crowd assembled to help the Florida Springs Institute recognize its 11th anniversary. The building was reopened to the public after a long COVID hiatus and guests were greeted by a real live mermaid – Miss Mermaid Florida 2021, Mermaid Nikki. Guests munched on hot and cold hors d’oeuvres and had a variety of wines to choose from as they perused the many exhibits that the center has to offer and watched a streaming documentary about Silver Springs.
At an informal presentation in the gardens behind the Environmental Center Dr. Bob Knight took some time to recount the history of the Florida Springs Institute from its roots as a branch of Florida’s Eden through its independence and acquisition of leased properties, growth and funding, to a look into the future including a brief discussion of the proposed Silver Springs facility. In typical Dr. Knight fashion, his discourse routed briefly through the decline of the springs and the issues they are currently facing, including a nod to the Institute’s recently published “Blueprint for Restoring Springs on the Santa Fe River” and, also typically, ended on a note of optimism and hope.
He introduced and discussed his newest book, “Silver Springs: The Liquid Heart of Florida. Its Past, Its Present, and Its Future”, co-authored with Marian Rizzo. He then went off to sign copies of the book purchased by guests to help raise funds for the Institute while guests enjoyed listening to The Baldwins, an old-time southern string band featuring violinist Lloyd Baldwin, a springs lover and long time FSI supporter.
Kudos to staffers Zoe Hammis, Zoey Hendrickson and Haley Moody who created and managed this very smooth running and enjoyable event. We look forward to many more years of the excellent work of the Florida Springs Institute, and Our Santa Fe River is honored to have Dr. Knight on our Advisory Board.