‘Blue Path’ exhibit extended at Florida Museum of Natural History

John Moran’s side-by-side photograph, “Ichetucknee Now and Then,” depicts visible changes in the river over a period of time at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

Published: Thursday, January 6, 2011 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 5, 2011 at 1:29 p.m.

Now extended through Feb. 13, “The Blue Path: Protecting Florida’s Springs” exhibit at the Florida Museum of Natural History has struck a chord with many visitors since it opened in August.

The exhibit illuminates Florida’s springs system with compelling photographs, paintings and displays by artists, writers, filmmakers and others from around North Central Florida.

Coordinated by Florida’s Eden, the non-profit citizen’s initiative dedicated to protecting the state’s natural resources, the exhibit launched the Blue Path campaign, a grassroots movement to protect Florida’s freshwater springs.

And since opening, the exhibit has become so popular that it’s been extended for more than six weeks beyond its original ending date in December, exhibit organizers say.

Some visitors have even been moved to tears by some of the dramatic images showing the current state of some of the springs including the Ichetucknee River, says Annie Pais, executive director of Florida’s Eden, coordinators of the exhibit.

“We know visitors feel a great passion for the springs as they view the exhibition,” Pais says. “I’ve been with many who cry and share their disbelief at the exquisite and disturbing images and information in the show.”

That especially applies to such images as “Ichetucknee Now and Then,” a side-by-side photograph by John Moran of the same place at the Ichetucknee River, which Pais describes as the exhibition’s “show stopper.”

“I have witnessed many visitors who weep in front of this graphic depiction of the rapid degradation of the Ichetucknee River,” Pais says.

As part of the exhibit’s final weeks, visitors will receive a copy of The Blue Path Festival Program Guide, a new, updated version of the guide that publicizes more than 100 springs-related activities from Jan. 1 through April 30, collectively referred to as the “Springs Festival.”

“We encourage teachers, parents, civic groups and all who care about Florida’s springs to visit the museum and pick up a guide to learn more about how it’s up to us to save the springs,” Pais says.

Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sundays. And admission to the museum, at the intersection of Southwest 34th Street and Hull Road, is free.

Contact Bill Dean at 374-5039 or at bill.dean@gvillesun.com.

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