Dr. Robert Knight: Spirit of Gainesville nominee
Published: Friday, July 26, 2013 at 4:23 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, July 26, 2013 at 4:23 p.m.
Dr. Robert L. Knight has been a tireless and unflagging advocate for our Gainesville environment and community. As the founder and President of the Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute (a Florida tax-exempt nonprofit organization), Dr. Knight has worked nonstop to research the declining health of the springs surrounding Gainesville and Ocala. He has fearlessly confronted city municipalities, utilities and water management districts to work to reverse the damage that has been done to our cultural and economic resources- the artesian springs. It is people like Dr. Knight who give me hope for raising my children one day in a community as environmentally rich as Gainesville was for me when I grew up here.
About Dr. Robert L. Knight
Occupation: Environmental scientist, adjunct professor at UF, wetland ecologist, springs ecologist
Years in Gainesville: 35+
Spouse: Debra Segal
Children: Scott Knight, Adam Knight, Emma Gersper
In addition to running a successful environmental restoration business, about a decade ago Bob Knight founded the Florida Springs Institute in an effort to reverse the degradation of our most iconic resources -- the springs and spring-fed rivers of North Florida. This is a tough fight. The problems are obvious -- we apply too much fertilizer to the land and we withdraw too much water from the ground. Some of those contributing to the problem -- big agriculture, big utilities, big mining -- are easy to identify but in reality all of us have an impact. It seems that there is no group that Dr. Knight hasn't spoken to over the past several years in his effort to spark sufficient popular interest and outrage to capture the attention of state and local decision-makers. If he succeeds, Dr. Knight will have benefitted the entire community -- aesthetically, recreationally, economically, and spiritually.