Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
We inform. You decide.
Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Author and divers speak out about treatment of springs

Margaret Ross Tolbert says Florida’s springs are in deep trouble.

The internationally recognized artist and author said she used to think the springs would be timeless, unlike buildings and monuments, but was shocked by how quickly the springs are being destroyed.

So she wrote a book about the springs and the beauty of Florida’s natural waters, “AQUIFERious.”

The book was sold Tuesday as about 175 people listened to cave divers tell their diving stories at the Thomas Center. Tolbert’s book was the motivation behind the exhibit of her artwork, which will run until Jan. 6, and hosting the cave divers.

Todd Kincaid was one of the divers who talked about his personal experiences, why he decided to get a job studying caves and his concerns with the springs.

“When I did my PhD in 1994, the springs were beautiful,” Kincaid said. “When I came back in the 2000s, they were full of algae.”

Kincaid later encouraged the audience to get involved, share pictures and videos to spread the word and encourage politicians to do something to help the water contamination problem.

Similarly, Eric Hutcheson, a speaker at the event, talked about his concern regarding the springs.

Hutcheson said one of the biggest problems in regards to the contamination of the springs is the population increase in Florida.

He gave an example of people growing cattle near springs. He said they consume millions of gallons of water to grow the grass and feed the cattle and then return the water filled with fertilizer and cattle manure.

“They take all the good water out and put all the polluted water in,” Hutcheson said.

All the speakers agreed Florida is facing serious problems and it will take years for Florida’s springs to return to the state they should be in.

Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Alligator delivered to your inbox

This was the kind of discussion Russell Etling, the cultural affairs manager at the Thomas Center, was hoping to create by hosting the discussion and Tolbert’s book.

“The Parks Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department has many goals, one of which is to celebrate arts and culture in our community as well as our natural environment,” Etling said. “This exhibition is the perfect blend of those two things.”

They spent nine months planning events for the exhibition.  

“We have done several exhibits about water and our natural environment,” Etling said. “But this is the first exhibition solely dedicated to the springs and the aquifer.”

Tolbert said she hopes people left the event with a better understanding of the situation in the springs.

“We want people to leave and tell others about the importance of the spring,” she said. “The springs are a gift.

Editor's Note: This story is updated to reflect a correction. The first diver identified who shared his personal experience is Todd Kincaid. We originally reported otherwise.

Support your local paper
Donate Today
The Independent Florida Alligator has been independent of the university since 1971, your donation today could help #SaveStudentNewsrooms. Please consider giving today.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2024 The Independent Florida Alligator and Campus Communications, Inc.