On May 20, Mote Marine Laboratory will host “Celebrate Our Water Heritage.”  The event features a slide show highlighting oral histories by New College students.  Enjoy beautiful photos while hearing colorful, poignant, and humorous interviews of people who loved being on the water – and worked to protect it.  The project was a collaboration between New College and Sarasota County.  The students worked with Dr. Erin Dean, assistant professor of anthropology, while serving as Sarasota County interns.  The event begins at 6:00 pm and is free and open to the public.  Refreshments will be provided.

Thursday, May 20
6-9 pm,
Mote Marine Laboratory
Hendry Meeting Room
1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota

  • Karen Bell shares stories of growing up in the Cortez Fishing Village and running a successful seafood company. Interview by Anna Hamilton.
  • Thomas Fulford, known as Blue, is among the last members of a long legacy of commercial fishing on Florida’s Suncoast. Interview by Casey Schelhorn.
  • Linda Mansperger discusses the relationship between the early settlers of Historic Spanish Point, their use of water and the citrus and tourism businesses. Interview by Justin Quinn.
  • Dr. Mary Jelks has earned the nickname “Myakka Mary” for her efforts to support the Myakka River and the Myakka River State Park. This glimpse gives an insight into a role that is often unrecognized. Interview by David Anderson.
  • Buster Longino discusses a lifetime of ranching, conservation and public service in Sarasota County. Interview by  Willis Schueler.
  • Captain Jonnie Walker is a professional fishing guide in Sarasota. Growing up in Sarasota, Walker has seen many changes as the coastline was developed. Interview by Anastasia Sallen.
  • Paula Benshoff discusses growing up in Sarasota and working as park ranger and naturalist at Myakka River State Park. Interview by Kaitlyn Bock.


Take Ringling Causeway Bridge to St. Armand’s Circle (approximately 2 miles). Enter St. Armand’s Circle, making your first right onto Boulevard of the Presidents North following the signs to Longboat Key and Mote Aquarium. Approximately one mile from St. Armand’s Circle, just before the drawbridge to Longboat Key, turn right onto Ken Thompson Parkway.  The Hendry Meeting Room/Marine Mammal center is past the main lab buildings on the left and there is ample parking nearby.

For more information, please contact the Office of Public Affairs at (941) 487-4153 or email publicaffairs@ncf.edu.

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