Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

We'll Give You More Than a Splash of Info

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

We'll Give You More Than a Splash of Info

Article excerpt

Byline: A. Quinton White

We are lucky to be have so many places in which we can enjoy one of our best natural assets: Water. Each month, A. Quinton White, executive director of Jacksonville University's Marine Science Research Institute, will explain, educate and entertain about our area waterways. Look for his column in the Metro section on the last Friday of the month. He will also answer your questions, which you can email to qwhite@ju.edu. For more on the MSRI, visit ju.edu/msri.

Dredging issues. The challenges of commerce and trade. Protecting a critical resource.

They're topics making headlines today when discussing the St. Johns River, but they were just as crucial a century and more ago as it became more and more critical to the leisure and livelihood of Northeast Florida.

Welcome to River Life, a monthly column about the biology and ecology of our most vital natural asset: our local waterways.

Our goal with River Life is to share what we've learned at Jacksonville University's Marine Science Research Institute about marine issues, and to answer your questions related to our waterways.

What better way to start than by going back to the beginning - at least to Western civilization's discovery of one of the most important environmental and economic features of Northeast Florida.

Few people could have imagined the St. Johns River as it is today in 1562 when Jean Ribault landed and named it the Rio de May (River May). The shallow, meandering river has changed dramatically over the 350 years since its discovery.

Ribault was one of the earliest explorers of this area. Others included John Bartram, a botanist and explorer; his brother William Bartram, a naturalist, explorer and artist; and John James Audubon, the ornithologist and painter. The Bartrams documented plants and some animals, while Audubon focused on bird life. …

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