Florida’s modern coastal communities are built upon the state’s long and storied saltwater heritage. But the fishing communities that once defined the peninsula have all but disappeared in most of the state. The communities and cultures that have survived are facing a combination of challenges—rapid population growth, degradation of local ecosystems, and marine resource regulations, just to name a few.
Documenting and celebrating the interconnections between people who live off the sea and the life of the sea inspires new understandings about the relevance of protecting Florida’s cultural and natural heritage.
Cedar Key Everlasting
The Story and Significance of Shellfish Aquaculture in Cedar Key
As a result of this project, the Cedar Key Aquaculture Association and UF IFAS Shellfish Extension Program partnered with LINC to publish Cedar Key Everlasting ~ The Story and Significance of Shellfish Aquaculture in Cedar Key. Publication of this work was also supported by a grant from the Florida Humanities Council. This publication was premiered on April 14, 2012 as part of the Cedar Key Everlasting Event in Cedar Key. Cynthia Barnett, journalist and award-winning author,read from the foreword.
The goal of the effort is to educate the general public about the sustainable benefits of aquaculture in Cedar Key. The message: “The livelihood of Cedar Key depends on the continued growth and success of its fishing and aquaculture industries. Whether you’re here for the day, the weekend, or for good, we hope you’ll help us sustain it.”
In Their Own Words: Perseverance and Resilience in Two Florida Fishing CommunitiesFunded in 2005 by the Florida Humanities Council and the Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage, maritime anthropologist Michael Jepson and photojournalist Carlton Ward Jr. produced oral histories and photographic essays portraying contemporary life in the Gulf of Mexico in the fishing communities of Cortez and Cedar Key.
By 2006, the team had produced a traveling exhibition and lecture series for venues that included The Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville, The Florida Aquarium in Tampa, The Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage in Cortez, and a public forum in Cedar Key.
This initial exhibit continues to travel to other Florida venues and has been translated into an interactive website.
Preserving Florida's Ranchlands
Cattle ranches are Florida’s protectors of the natural land and wildlife. Go far out on a ranch and you will see sandhill cranes and egrets and herons and grackles and doves and eagles and dozens more, as well as deer and raccoons and rabbits and squirrels, and maybe a native Florida panther.— Patrick D. Smith
The Heart of Florida project celebrated Florida’s ranching heritage, from both cultural and environmental perspectives. The goal of this multi-media project was to bring the multi-faceted value of ranching to light. By understanding the cultural and environmental significance of the industry, LINC worked to help Floridians understand the current and future value of ranchlands in determining land-use decisions.
Cattle ranches embody the heritage of Florida—the place where cattle were first introduced in North America. Environmentally, many ranches have changed little in the past 100 years Florida; and ranchlands protect some of the best wildlife habitat, wetlands and native landscapes in the state. Culturally, they host important rural economies and lifestyles that are important to the agricultural autonomy of the nation.
©Carlton Ward – On the Adams Ranch, Ward's images reflect stewardship for rural heritage and open spaces.
Nearly a fifth of Florida is still covered by ranchlands—despite a long history of losing 200,000 acres (more than 300 square miles) of rural and natural land each year to development. Drive a few miles down the road from Disney World and you’ll cross a ranch with more cattle than any other in North America. Continue further south and you’ll discover ranches that sustain an endangered population of black bears and other ranches that may prove essential to the survival of Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades.