Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Year of the River Has Been Eye-Opening

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Year of the River Has Been Eye-Opening

Article excerpt

Byline: Quinton White

This has been an exciting year for the St. Johns River.

I don't think there has been a time when more attention has been focused on the river, with more people than ever concerned and engaged in discussions about this tremendous natural resource that flows through Northeast Florida.

The discussion has gone well beyond the concern about dredging, port expansion and water withdrawal. Although these topics are important, the river is essential in so many other ways.

In case you missed it, this is officially the Year of the River sponsored by Cultural Fusion, a collaboration of more than 50 Jacksonville arts and cultural organizations. The hope is that by banding together, the group can raise awareness of the St. Johns River as an important cultural component and economic driver for development, tourism and quality of life. A variety of projects has included exhibits, performances, special programming and events highlighting the river.

The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens opened an excellent exhibit last month called Reflections: Artful Perspectives on the St. Johns River. It is well worth your time to visit the museum and see this exhibit. My personal favorite is "River Table," a perspective of the St. Johns done in blown glass by Jacksonville University art professor Brian Frus.

Earlier this week, as part of the Year of the River, the World Affairs Council of Jacksonville brought award-winning journalist James G. Workman, author of "Heart of Dryness: How the Last Bushmen Can Help Us Endure the Coming Age of Permanent Drought," for a series of programs at JU and the University of North Florida.

Workman is deputy director of the Environmental Defense Fund's Catch Share Design Center, which works with the fishing community to find a process to maintain a healthy fishery, and co-founder of SmartMarket, a startup venture based on principles learned from the Bushmen, to create solutions to our shrinking water supply.

I was honored to be asked to participate in some of the programs. As a lifelong learner, this was an opportunity to interact with someone who has been a foreign correspondent, worked to blow up dams, released wolves and is now an emerging leader in the effort to conserve fresh water and marine fisheries. …

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