Kevin Wilson, a 2014 graduate of Rollins College with a bachelor’s degree in
environmental studies who works in the conservation field, will share his research into the lives and
rarely told history of the people of the former Markham community at the 6:15 p.m. July 9 meeting of
Friends of the Wekiva River at the Markham Woods Seventh-day Adventist Church at 505 Markham
Woods Road, Longwood. Wilson will draw from an essay he is writing on the historic and ecological
treasure of Markham to bring to light the people who lived there, their history, their struggled, and the
threats facing this Central Florida landmark today. Wilson has discovered insights into the community’s
namesake, William Markham, as well as the turpentine community and its cemetery for the working
folks who toiled there in hopes of properly memorializing their contribution to Central Florida. His focus
is an eight hundred-acre rectangle of oaks, pines, and palmetto bordering the Wekiva River that has
survived suburban development. The talk is free and open to everyone. Guests are welcome to stay for
the monthly board meeting of the FOWR after the talk. For details, call 407-677-4004.
Central Florida's Water Agency Roils with Resignations
Yesterday, Robert Christianson, Hal Wilkening, Peggy White, Tom Bartol and Jeff Cole were told to resign or be fired from the St. Johns River Water Management District staff. The deed was done by Mike Register, appointed interim director after Hans Tanzler's unexpected resignation. Odds are that Hans was unwilling to do this dirty deed, effectively disassembling some of the key capabilities and competencies of SJRWMD. Stories are mixed on whether the order for this irresponsible action came from the Governor's office and/or DEP in Tallahassee, or whether District Board Chair John Miklos, an Orlando based environmental consultant, carried this out at the behest of utilities and land development interests. Either way, it is easy to see what is going on. If you take away the institutional memory and competencies Robert Christianson brought to the district, it becomes much more difficult to buy land, and much easier to get rid of key tracts of conservation land by selling them as surplus. Take away the water resources expertise of Hal WIkening, and the possibility that the district will deny consumptive use permits to utilities who want to drain the aquifer even at the cost of drying up our springs becomes highly unlikely. Take away the modeling expertise of Tom Bartol, and the district is unlikely to even know how much water is left in the aquifer to dole out to the utilities and other consumptive users. That is clearly someone's game plan. Hopefully some good investigative reporters will pinpoint "who knew what and when". In the meantime, if there is one ounce of environmental conscience remaining in DEP and the Governor's office, they will order that these deplorable decisions be reversed immediately.
Seasonal changes do occur in Central Florida, no matter what our relatives up north say about their absence. Keeping track of the subtle changes in the natural landscape over the calendar year is instinctive to me, and a process that I plan to share in a series of articles on the website.
BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY: LANDSCAPE LEVEL INFLUENCES — Late June 2015 Edition
BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY: HABITAT INFLUENCES — Early May 2015 Edition
WEKIVA BASIN SWAMPS — Early April 2015 Edition
SPRING HAS SPRUNG — Early March Edition