- ABOUT US
- Rights of Springs
Fall is upon us. Experienced Floridians can feel the subtle changes in evening temperatures and humidity levels. Living in the northern hemisphere, we see the darkness emerging, bringing with it unique gifts of hibernation and inward growth.
Yet in Florida, this is a time for outward growth and flowering as well. It is a time that invites many of us into our natural communities, as we delight in being outside. Tourism increases during fall and winter in Florida. Our pristine inland lakes, rivers, springs, wetlands, and marshes fill with the sights and sounds of flowers, insects, birds, and manatees, and our state parks, national forests, famous beaches, and other outdoor places overflow with humans enjoying the natural beauty surrounding them. We are grateful that so many people find a way to enter into the beauty and richness of Florida’s natural systems.
One of the challenges of so many people wanting to experience Florida’s natural beauty is the impact of our ecological footprint. This is especially true of Florida’s extraordinary freshwater springs that Marjorie Stoneman Douglas dubbed “liquid bowls of light.” These extraordinary springs are under extreme duress due to mounting levels of nitrate pollution, excessive groundwater overpumping, and lack of sufficient rainfall.
The protection of the springs’ right to be healthy is CEJ’s priority work. This means sponsoring inspiring programs such as John Moran’s extraordinary photos of Florida springs, as well as writing detailed comment letters to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the St. Johns River Water Management District, urging the implementation of springshed recovery plans and reduced consumptive use permits. We are pleased to join the Friends of the Wekiva River and other organizations and to commit to protecting the integrity and flow of the springs and their springsheds.
As a part of our work we are also providing opportunities for students to visit some of the springs, springsheds, and spring-fed rivers, as nothing is more transformative than seeing the majesty of the springs themselves! In the words of one of our students, Heather Culp, who recently visited Rock Springs,
We viewed the cool bluish-green waters of one of Florida’s most beautiful bodies of water. The rock formations were stunningly beautiful and absolutely timeless. You could . . . see [their] different layers, marked by streaks that darkened as one’s eyes descended to the cavernous openings below. . . . After moving mechanically from desk to desk, classroom to classroom every day . . . it was wonderful to get lost in nature’s beauty and wonder, to be a part of the land that contains an indescribable form of magic.
Please join us in our healthy springs initiative by participating in the various activities we are hosting. Also check out the work of the Florida Conservation Coalition and its members, or join the Friends of the Wekiva River, or the St. Johns Riverkeeper or other waterkeeper organizations. Of course, financially supporting the work of CEJ as we develop a rights of springs initiative in Florida is always appreciated.
Finally, spend time in your ecosystem and the springshed nearest you. There is nothing as healing as spending time in nature!
Sr. Pat Siemen on Rights of Nature at TEDxJacksonville 2013View video full screen on YouTube.
Florida’s Water and Land LegacyCongratulations to all who worked so diligently and passionately to collect the signatures required to place dedicated funding for conservation land acquisition on the ballot in 2014. More than 960,000 voters signed in support of this measure! Learn more about this initiative at Florida's Water and Land Legacy.org.
CEJ Events & PresentationsMore coming soon!
Other EventsWater Blues/Green Solutions
St. Johns Riverkeeper & partners
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Locally premiering a new documentary film about communities working with nature to solve their water problems, followed by a panel discussion.
Learn more at StJohnsRiverkeeper.org.
Marion County Springs Festival
Florida Springs Institute & partners
Saturday, April 26, 2014
10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Silver Springs State Park
Silver Springs, FL
Exhibits, vendors, music, food, kids programs and more, surrounded by Florida’s first attraction, the historic and magical Silver Springs.
Contact: (352) 236-7148
More info at FloridaSpringsInstitute.org.
Growing Native Annual Conference
Florida Native Plant Society
May 15-18, 2014
Florida Gulf Coast University
Ft. Myers, FL
Field trips, speakers, education, socials, and a plant sale, all featuring the intriguing world of native plants.
Find out more at FNPS.org.
River City EcoFest
River City Eco Foundation
Saturday, May 17, 2014
10 a.m.–10 p.m.
Outdoor Music/Eco Festival & River Race with workshops, clinics, outdoor recreation expo, a film festival, food, trucks and music.
Contact: (904) 502-7733
Get more info at RiverCityChallenge.org.
Finding the Fountains of Youth: Exploring the Myth of Florida’s Magical Waters
Ongoing through April 27, 2014
Rincon Gallery, South Florida Museum
Graphic designer Rick Kilby examines how Florida’s reputation for healing, restorative waters entered popular culture and created its tourist economy.
Contact: (941) 746-4131
Details at SouthFloridaMuseum.org.
Springs Eternal: Florida’s Fragile Fountains of Youth
Ongoing through May 30, 2014
Gallery for Innovation and the Arts
R.A. Gray Building
Photographer John Moran’s images from the past and present create a then-and-now narrative of Florida's springs.
Contact: (850) 245-6470
Discover more at SpringsEternalProject.org.
Learning to See Naturally ~ Nature Journaling WorkshopsVisit our nature journaling blog, Learning to See Naturally, for poems, photos, stories and other nature-inspired creative works from our workshop participants.
- Peacekeeping Budgets Equal Less Than Two Days of Military Spending April 22, 2014New Worldwatch Institute analysis examines trends in peacekeeping budgets Washington, D.C.—The approved budget for United Nations peacekeeping operations from July 2013 to June 2014 runs to $7.83 billion—$390 million higher than in the previous year. This is the third-highest budget since the record $8.26 billion spent in 2009–10. Despite some relatively m […]Supriya Kumar
- Peacekeeping Budgets Equal Less Than Two Days of Military Spending April 22, 2014