A Program of Marion County Schools

Summer Speaker Series

Second & Fourth Saturday, June – August | Talks Begin at 10 AM

June 8, 2024 | Ethnobotany of FL Native Plants

Florida is home to a great diversity of beautiful and amazing native plants. Join us as we learn about native plants that you may want to add to your landscape, their importance to pollinators, and how they have been used for food, medicine, and more over the centuries. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes if you wish to join us for an optional hike after the talk.

June 22, 2024 | Eric Hutcheson

While most people are content to view the pristine waters of Silver Springs from a riverbank or while riding inside a glass-bottom boat, Eric Hutcheson wanted a closer look at the phenomenon beneath the surface. So, in 1993, Hutcheson, a professional underwater cartographer, donned his scuba gear and dove into the world’s largest artesian spring. Join Eric to learn about his first hand experience diving into Silver Springs and the changes he has witnessed to the Floridan Aquifer over the past 30 years.

July 13, 2024 | Save the Manatees

Manatees 101 – Join TJ Fridrich, Manatee Biologist, as we learn about the biology and conservation of Florida manatees. Learn about the importance of the Silver River for manatees.

July 27, 2024 | The Story of Bone Mizell, Florida Cow Hunter

A legend in his own time, Morgan Bonaparte Mizell was known as a fun-loving Florida cow hunter who could “outride, out rope, outshoot. and outdrink” any cowman in the state back in late 1800s when there were no fences to contain the thousands of cattle that roamed the scrub lands. We explore the life and legend of this tall, lanky character known as “Bone” through stories that have been handed down.

After more than 40 years as a newspaper reporter for The Tampa Tribune, Walt Belcher is sharing stories about the colorful people and places that make Florida’s history fascinating.

August 10, 2024 | Birding in Central Florida

Introduction to birds and birding of Central Florida. Discussion on the importance of different habitats to our resident and migratory species. Information on how birders can optimize this knowledge to find potential rare species. Bring your binoculars, and wear comfortable clothes and shoes if you wish to join us for an optional hike after the talk.

August 24, 2024 | Florida Fossils

Over 1,000 different species of vertebrate animals are known to have lived in Florida over the past 35 million years. Florida has the richest fossil record of vertebrate animals of the eastern United States. Join Roger Portell, Director of Invertebrate Paleontology, Micropaleontology, and Conservation Paleobiology Collections from the Florida Museum of Natural History, to learn more about Florida Fossils.

For More Information, call (352) 236-5401

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