Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Suwannee Lore

Those interested in the Suwannee River and Florida natural history in general will enjoy reading  A Naturalist in Florida: A Celebration of Eden. Best known for his work on sea turtles, author Archie Carr was a well-rounded naturalist with a particular liking for north Florida. This book is a collection of some of Carr's shorter works, assembled in the mid-nineties by his widow, Marjorie Harris Carr. Marjorie Carr was a recognized conservationist in her own right, having successfully campaigned for establishment of Paynes Prairie State Park. Until her death in 1998 she battled tirelessly for restoration of the Oklawaha River.

Two chapters will be of particular interest to fans of the Suwannee. "All the Way Down upon the Suwannee River" tells of the history of the river and unique features of its natural history, including fishes found nowhere else, the "Suwannee chicken" and alligator snapper (both turtles), and saltwater fishes that migrate far up the river, including large and fearsome bull sharks. Another chapter, "Suwannee River Sturgeon," provides interesting reading, but it predates the more recent discoveries about sturgeon life history.

The book is still in print (Yale University Press) and should be available in local libraries.

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