Author: flaqwaterstories

Preparation Key to The Florida Aquarium’s Response to Hurricanes

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By Joe Guidry, former opinion editor, The Tampa Tribune Scarcely a day after monstrous Hurricane Irma terrified Florida, demolishing sections of the state and leaving most residents without power, The Florida Aquarium opened its doors to the public. Revenue concerns did not motivate the drive to get back to business. Prices were dropped to $10 for adults and $5 for children, and parking was free for Tampa Strong Days following the storm. Once Irma passed […]

Florida Birding and Nature Festival to Celebrate Conservation Triumphs

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By Joe Guidry, former opinion editor, The Tampa Tribune Given the doom and gloom of so much recent environmental news, it may seem strange the upcoming Florida Birding and Nature Festival will be a celebration. Festival organizer Ann Paul, regional coordinator for Audubon Florida, understands better than most the challenges to be faced. However, she also appreciates how much progress, often overlooked, has been made. So, the October 13-15 festival will remind people that the […]

Fueled by a Love of Nature, Quinn Uses Art to Teach and Inspire About Conservation

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By Joe Guidry, former opinion editor, The Tampa Tribune At an age when most people still are trying to launch their careers, Kelly Quinn is ecstatic she’s managed to obtain a position that allows her to pursue her two passions: art and nature. The 22-year-old is The Florida Aquarium’s Artist in Residence. “It is so inspiring to be working at a place where everyone is dedicated to wildlife and conservation,” Quinn says. “What they do […]

Tarpons: The Silver King is a Conservation Success Story

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By Joe Guidry, former opinion editor, The Tampa Tribune The tarpon is called “the Silver King” for good reason. It can grow upward of seven feet long and 300 pounds, and it is generally acknowledged as the toughest sportfish on Florida’s coast, known for its muscular runs and spectacular leaps. However, when The Florida Aquarium Associate Curator Eric Hovland (pictured below) calls the tarpon “scrappy,” he is not talking about its rod-bending ability. The tarpon, […]

The Chaz Remains Enchanting Wilderness Oasis Despite Environmental Challenges

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By Joe Guidry, former opinion editor, The Tampa Tribune The Chassahowitzka may be difficult to say, but this beguiling river scarcely an hour’s drive from Tampa is impossible to forget. The Seminole Indians gave the river its tongue-tying name, with Chassahowitzka meaning “pumpkin hanging place,” according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. But the roughly seven-mile long waterway usually is simply called The Chaz. The river has not been spared entirely the effects […]

And It All Began with a Canoe Trip

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If you are discouraged by politics and don’t think you are rich enough to affect government, consider the example of Gus Muench. Now 80-years-old, Muench never envisioned himself getting involved in politics. He grew up in Seminole Heights, where he was a “river rat.”  He had a little boat he kept chained in a park on the Hillsborough River and was out on the water every chance he had. The river had good fishing though […]

A Creature of the Wind

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By Joe Guidry, former opinion editor, The Tampa Tribune One of spring’s most inspiring sights is the elegant swallow-tailed kite swooping and circling through the air against a vivid blue sky. It is beauty in motion. So, I was delighted the kite was chosen as the central motif of The Florida Aquarium’s new Mosaic Center, which offers meeting rooms and event halls with panoramic views of the waterfront. But, the Aquarium’s commitment to the kite involves […]

Trekking for Protecting Florida’s Wildlife Corridors

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A passion for wild places can, like Florida waters, carry us to places we’d never imagined possible. A little more than two years ago, The Florida Aquarium hosted members of the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition as they prepared for their second 1,000-mile journey across the state. Among those attending The Aquarium’s festivities was a 22-year-old recent college graduate who found herself about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime. Tampa native Alex Morrison, a recent […]

Governor Bob Martinez a Champion for the Environment

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“This wasn’t seen as environmentalism; it was patriotism. The necessity of being frugal with resources and avoiding waste made a deep impression …” From his office on the 39th floor of the Regents Bank Building in downtown Tampa, former Tampa Mayor and Florida Governor Bob Martinez can see the shimmering results of his leadership. A vibrant Tampa Bay, a cleaner Hillsborough River and a preserved Picnic Island are just a few of his accomplishments readily […]

Cabbage Key Fishing Expeditions: Unpredictable Ones Often the Best Ones

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It’s impossible to tell a Cabbage Key fishing tale which I’m about to do without first appropriately describing the 100-acre island.  In fact, you rarely read about Cabbage Key without seeing it described as “old Florida.”  A purist might grumble that Old Florida didn’t have ferry boats taking up to 700 people a day to eat at the Cabbage Key Restaurant, rumored to be the inspiration of Jimmy Buffett’s “Cheeseburger in Paradise.” And Old Florida […]