An edition of: WaterAtlas.orgPresented By: Sarasota County, USF Water Institute

New College Oral History Project

Celebrating Our Water Heritage

Overview

These vibrant oral histories were created in a collaborative project involving New College of Florida and Sarasota County. With the guidance of Dr. Erin Dean, associate professor of anthropology, students completed an independent study project while serving as Sarasota County interns. New College of Florida is a national leader in the arts and sciences and is the State of Florida's designated honors college for the liberal arts. Visit the Sarasota County History Center and learn more about the County's fascinating heritage and historic resources.

Why are oral histories important? They're our past. They're our future, and they're what tie it all together. They're what promote the love of the land and the love of the land is what will make the land persist.

Paula Benshoff, Naturalist
Myakka River State Park

The most viewed oral histories are highlighted as shown


2014

Boyce Blackmon on Sarasota County natural areas and their management

Boyce Blackmon

Boyce Blackmon has lived in Florida his entire life and often visited Sarasota in his childhood. He permanently moved to Sarasota in the mid-1960s. He is a successful contractor, starting with Gulf Contracting in 1965, and is currently semiretired, living in Myakka in the Hidden River Aviation Community. He is well acquainted with Sarasota history, community, and wildlife, having owned and operated a cattle ranch for 28 years.

Kana Hummel

Kana Hummel is a third-year student studying History at the New College of Florida. Her interest in oral history and its approaches drew her to participate in this project. Through this project, she has gained valuable insight into the importance of spoken words and community involvement.

Dr. Kellie Dixon on studying marine and estuarine ecology at Mote Marine Lab

Dr. Kellie Dixon

Georgia-born Kellie Dixon came to Sarasota in 1978, and she has worked at the MOTE Marine Laboratory as a scientist ever since. While starting off as a volunteer, she eventually earned the position of Program Manager of the Chemical and Physical Ecology group at MOTE, soon after earning her doctorate in Chemical Oceanography. Under this title, she continues to regularly conduct research necessary to analyze the state of Sarasota's waters, all the while relishing the chance to learn more about the world around her for a living.

Mary Robertson

Mary Robertson is a first-year student at New College of Florida. Although planning to obtain a degree in Computer Science, through her participation in this project, she has found a renewed passion in both history and in the art of storytelling. Now that she has witnessed how powerful oral histories can be as a tool for learning and communicating, she aspires to pursue more projects in the future.

Beverly Fleming on growing up in Boca Grande, and on the arts in Sarasota

Beverly Fleming

Beverly Fleming grew up on Boca Grande Island before moving to Sarasota when she was 17. Beverly went on to live in Maryland and work for the Government for many years before retiring back to Sarasota. From 2000 to 2006, she owned and operated an art Gallery in Towles Court Artist Colony where she would show her own, and other local artists', work. She continues to paint and show her work around the community. Beverly has many fond memories of growing up on the island before the bridge was built.

Kaylie Stokes

Kaylie Stokes is a third year student studying Social Sciences at the New College of Florida. She believes in the importance of preserving individual and local histories, and was excited to participate in this project.

Tito Gaona on life as a circus trapeze artist

Tito Gaona

Tito Gaona was a trapeze artist born in Guadalajara, Mexico. He spent his childhood summers in Sarasota with his father. Tito, his two brothers, and his sister formed the well-known trapeze act the 'Flying Gaonas'. They performed for various circuses, including the Ringling Brothers Circus. After traveling the world, Tito settled down in Venice, where he is now the owner and founder of the Flying Trapeze Academy.

Melissa Solis

Melissa Solis is a second-year student at New College of Florida, studying Psychology and Spanish. This Oral History project has taught her the importance of preserving a community's history through an individual's story.

Lily Mae Martin on growing up in Laurel's African-American "quarters"

Lily-Mae Martin

Lily Mae Martin is a longtime resident of Sarasota County. Born in 1925, Lily Mae grew up in the turpentine quarters in Laurel and is among the last remaining members of that community. She has many stories of growing up working on the farms in Laurel and of the community's many changes over the years. She continues to live with her family in Laurel today.

Chelsea Driver

Chelsea is a fourth-year Cultural Anthropology student. She is currently writing her senior thesis on Sarasota's Booker High School. A second time participant of this project, she continues to be intrigued and impressed with oral history both as an interdisciplinary research tool and as a tool for community engagement and collaboration.

2013

Betty Dailey-Nugent on preserving Englewood's history

Betty Dailey-Nugent

Michigan native Betty Dailey-Nugent has lived in Florida for nearly twenty five years. In this time, her love of history has propelled her to become among the most active and committed volunteers for historical preservation work throughout Sarasota County. She currently owns and resides in the Lampp House Museum in Englewood.

Chelsea Driver

Chelsea Driver is a third year cultural anthropology student at New College of Florida. This is her first introduction to oral history, but she hopes to pursue more oral history projects in the future.

Waldo Proffitt on the Sarasota Herald-Tribune's environmental reporting legacy

Waldo Proffitt, Jr.

After attending Harvard and joining The Harvard Crimson newspaper, Waldo Proffit jr. served in WWII, thwarting German transmission codes. After the war, Proffit found his concentration in a different kind of communications work— returning to his passion for news writing. Proffit circled the country before making his way to our own Sarasota Herald-Tribune, where he was hired on as editor-in-chief in 1961. Under the guidance of the Lindsay family, Proffit took notice of the environmental toll of development in Sarasota and surrounding counties. Waldo Proffit jr. was an essential figure in the regulation of the phosphate mining industry in Florida, the primary supplier of phosphate in the US.

Julianne Ohanian

Julianne Ohanian is beginning senior thesis work at New College of Florida, studying issues of diversity within charter schools and privatization of education. In collecting oral history, she has been able to put much of her training doing social science research to practice. Through this kind of work, Julianne has been able to connect to Sarasota and to greater Florida by experiencing its history as told by someone who has actively determined the course of that history. Julianne intends to eventually teach students in a similar way, connecting their academic studies to their communities, their environments, and to their personal lives.

Bob Richardson on real estate and conservation in Sarasota

Bob Richardson

Bob Richardson moved to Sarasota in 1962, and has since been an active participant in the Sarasota community. He has been on the board of the Chamber of Commerce, the Sierra Club, and Selby Gardens. He has been honored by SCOPE with the boundary crosser award. He is also the co-founder of Friends of Myakka.

Anne McCabe

Anne McCabe is a student at New College of Florida. She is in her third year and studying anthropology. Anne was drawn to this project by her belief in the power of spoken word, as well as her interest in photography and videography.

Sandra Sims Terry on Sarasota's waterfront and community

Sandra Sims Terry

Untiring and passionate, Sandra is a dedicated community activist who has deservedly earned the reputation as de facto mayor of Laurel, Florida. A third generation resident, she is the daughter of turpentine industry workers. As the Executive Director of the Laurel Civic Association she has been instrumental in the construction of the Sandra Sims Terry Community Center, and has brought many improvements to the largely neglected area of Laurel including paved roads, drainage ditches, food for many children and elderly in need, supplemental educational services and opportunities for children and teenagers, and has provided housing for many elderly residents.

Jessica Wopinski

Jessica is a third year anthropology student at New College. Interest in community involvement and the multifariousness of history has drawn her to the Oral History Project for a second year.

2012

A Walk Through the Garden of Jane Burgess

Jane Burgess

Jane Burgess is life long Sarasotan whose large family has deep roots in Sarasota and in Myakka State Park. An alum of Sarasota High School, the wife of a milkman, and mother to children of all ages, Jane is a story teller and observer of the world around her. She nurtures gardens of people and of plants, and has created an exquisite painted stencil garden inside her house and a wildflower garden on the outside.

Erica Lindegren

Erica Lindegren is a New College alum, class of 2011, who studied anthropology, international studies, and gender studies in college. As an anthropologist, dancer, and artist, she has long been fascinated by people's stories and the world around her, and was thrilled to be able to participate in this project.

Pete Burgess on Delivering Milk for Bispham's Dairy

John "Pete" Burgess

John "Pete" Burgess is a long time Florida resident. Though born in Macon, Georgia, he moved to Sarasota when he was 11, and graduated from Sarasota High School in the late 1940's. Fresh out of high school, Pete was Sarasota's milk man, delivering to the residents of Siesta and Longboat Key, a job that he looks back on fondly. He later moved into management, and eventually into a position with Tropicana, where he stayed until his retirement. His time in Sarasota was filled with scallops and mullet (fishing), pig and duck (hunting), chocolate milk and eggnog (special milk route items on commission)...what was full was his belly. Pete's commitment to his family, work and personal projects have kept him smiling wide to this day. Mt. Rainier, the Smokey Mountains, Myakka River State Park, a tent and a camper catalyzed a lasting Burgess bond, and Pete enjoys nothing more than monthly family gatherings at his and his wife's home (that he helped build) up in Bradenton. Pete moved to Bradenton in the 1970's, and has since been enjoying his time there.

Matthew Cutler

Matthew Cutler, born and raised on the east coast of Florida, is now in his 4th year at New College. His interest in independent, community radio and media has spiked in the past few years, and he has been searching for stories and histories that serve to highlight the individual and compel the community. This project drew him in as a way to connect his experiences and studies attributed to radio with the 'oral history' techniques that help to create and capture an individual's experience audibly.

Jerome Dupree, A Life in Faith and Community Service

Jerome Dupree

Reverend Jerome Dupree was born in 1931, and came to Sarasota when he was 8 years old. He has been heavily involved in the church throughout his life, and has been a pastor for thirty years. Jerome has dedicated much of his life to improving the city and county of Sarasota. He has worked as a schoolteacher and principal of Booker T. Washington High school, has been on the boards and committees of countless organizations such as Sarasota United for Responsibility and Equity, Coastal Recovery, Second Chance Last Opportunity, and Sarasota United Need, and has served as county commissioner, vice-mayor, and mayor of Sarasota.

Jessica Wopinski

Jessica Wopinski is a second year Cultural Anthropology student at New College of Florida. She has been living in the Manatee and Sarasota area for the past 5 years, and spends much of her time outside, exploring the diverse ecosystems of the region. She plans to pursue her interest in visual anthropology and hopes to continue her studies abroad.

Alice Faye Jones on doing the right thing for Sarasota's kids

Alice Faye Jones

Mrs. Alice Faye Jones was born and raised in Sarasota, Florida. Her mother was a maid in Longboat Key, who worked tirelessly throughout Mrs. Jones's childhood. While Mrs. Jones spent significant time at Lido Beach as a child, she currently runs a free tutoring program called Brothers and Sisters Doing The Right Thing at the Robert Taylor Community Center in North Sarasota.

Nicholas Manting-Brewer

Nicholas Manting-Brewer is a Florida Campus Compact AmeriCorps VISTA at New College of Florida. He is also a 2012 alumnus of New College Of Florida who focused in Cultural Anthropology. Nicholas is interested in revealing counternarratives through documentary film. Nicholas has plans to pursue a PhD in Anthropology and to do fieldwork on poverty in American cities.

Rodney Potter, Distinguished Citizen and Lumberman

Rodney Potter

Rodney Potter was born in 1936 in Bradenton, Florida. He has lived in Manatee County all his life. As a kid in the 40s and 50s, he did a lot of hunting and fishing and even gathered scallops before they disappeared from the area. He has worked on the same lumber mill, though it's changed owners several times over the years, since graduating high school. In 2010 he was named Manatee County's Distinguished Citizen of the Year.

Patti McChesney

Patti McChesney is a second year Anthropology student at New College of Florida from San Antonio Texas. She joined this project in order to learn more about the history of the area. She is also very interested in studying history from the perspective of people that lived through it.

Debbie Stults-Harvey, Memories of Cabbage Key

Debbie Stults-Harvey

Debbie Stults-Harvey was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1928. When she was a teenager during World War II, her parents bought the island of Cabbage Key and started a studio and inn there. During these first years, she lived with other families in Sarasota and spent summers living and helping out on Cabbage Key. For much of her adult life her husband was a Naval Officer, so she lived and traveled around the world for many years. During that time she still visited Cabbage Key often, which her family owned until 1969. She currently resides in Siesta Key.

Gail Fish

Gail Fish is a fourth year student at New College of Florida. She studies anthropology [and her current research focuses on ethnohistory of colonial Yucatan]. She lived in Florida for most of her life, and is now a proud Sarasota resident. She was drawn to this project by her interest in how views of the past shape and inform the present, storytelling, community engagement, her own fond memories and experiences with Florida waterways.

2011

Richard Braren Recounts the History of the Diverse Uplands Community

Richard Braren

Richard Braren is a long-time resident of Sarasota, whose family came to the area in the 1950s to develop one of the area's working class neighborhoods, locally known as The Uplands. While his father built a great many of the houses in Siesta Key, North Gate and Bayshore, Richard grew up engrossed fully in Sarasota's environs, discovering early a passion for the water that eventually would lead him to a career with the Navy and a life of boat building and racing. This love brought him back to Sarasota where he would settle down and practice law. Today, Richard resides in the house his father built all those years ago and enjoys taking in the luscious sunsets over the bay where access is still permitted for Uplands residents to this day.

Andrew Hess

Andrew Hess is a fourth-year student at New College who is concentrating his studies on history. He is interested in the ways society and culture intersect with environmental issues in our communities. He is currently working on his senior thesis, an assessment and analysis of the burgeoning practice of "sensory history."

Allan Horton recounts his lifelong experiences sailing and writing

Allan Horton

Allan Horton was born in Palma Sola in Manatee County, Florida, and later moved to Sarasota. Throughout his life, he has always had boats and even as a child helped repair and build boats. Allan has worked as a journalist, cowboy, merchant seaman, legislative aid, and was enlisted in the Army, among other occupations. He wrote for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune for 24 years, and fought for Sarasota to adopt environmental protection standards before allowing the phosphate mining industry in Polk County to expand here. He also wrote editorials opposing the use of entanglement nets, and briefly wrote a "Waterlines" column for the Pelican. Allan's father was the engineer of record for the original design of the Sunshine Skyway bridge; when a freighter collided with the bridge, Allan was there to report on it. He continues to sail, and volunteers for the maritime history program at Historic Spanish point, where he builds and interprets boats from the pioneer period.

Puneet Sandhu

Puneet is in her third year at New College of Florida, pursuing a Natural Science degree. She is active in journalism, which to her represents an enduring means to inform, inspire, and vex the world. Puneet was drawn to this oral history project by the opportunity to explore the many different perspectives on life in the same town, in the same time. After graduation, she plans to focus on journalism and the ways that the media influence societal perspectives on every aspect of life.

Herman Johnson on the Adjustment of Moving from Georgia to Sarasota

Herman Johnson

Herman Johnson was born in 1961, in Eastman, Georgia. He was the son of a farmer, who eventually came to Sarasota at the age of 19. He's spent his adult life contributing to the city, first working on the Hyatt condos, then as a marble worker and finally at New College of Florida. Herman enjoys spending time with his family in Eastman and Sarasota, and is happily married with many grandchildren. On weekends, you may catch Herman fishing with his grandson around the Sarasota area.

Nick Manting-Brewer

Nick is a 4th year student at New College, originally from Augusta, Georgia. He studies visual anthropology and his interests include filmmaking, oral history, exercise, and fitness. His future plans include as PhD in Visual Anthropology and research in Thailand and Hawaii.

Jono Miller on the Evolution of Environmental Studies at New College

Jono Miller

Jono Miller came to Sarasota in 1970 to attend New College, where he met and married his wife Julie Morris. Together they formed an environmental consulting partnership, studied the Myakka River, and shared duties coordinating the Environmental Studies Program at New College. Jono has walked all of the beaches in Sarasota and Manatee Counties and has canoed the length of Southwest Florida's coast from Tampa south to Flamingo. An artist, writer, and environmental advocate, Jono is best known for his work in Sarasota County on land protection, the Myakka River and water issues.

Kaitlyn Bock

Kaitlyn Bock is originally from Philadelphia but has lived on Florida's west coast since 2003. Over the years, she has developed a strong attachment to Florida's natural lands and wildlife. Kaitlyn believes that an understanding of history can deepen our love for the land. By capturing local stories from Sarasota's residents, Kaitlyn hopes to share the area's historical knowledge and sense of place with the community.

Lorraine Rife on Growing Up on Anna Maria During the Depression

Lorraine Rife

Lorraine Rife has lived in the Sarasota area since her family moved to Anna Maria Island in 1924. She was one of the first lifeguards in Manatee County. She lived on Anna Maria until the early 1980s when she moved to southern Sarasota County. Lorraine has had many occupations over her long life, including: work at Singer Sewing Machine Company, civil service and real estate. Currently, Lorraine teaches quilting in addition to learning Greek and Hebrew.

Crystal Kersey

Crystal is a fourth year anthropology student at New College and a native Floridian. She was drawn to this project by her interest in local history, photography and storytelling.

2010

Karen Bell shares stories of growing up in the Cortez Fishing Village and her successful seafood company

Karen Bell

Karen Bell was born and raised in the fishing village of Cortez and comes from a long line of fisherfolk. After attending college on Florida's East Coast, she returned to help run her family's seafood businesses. She came back to Cortez because she appreciates the history and strong work ethic of the industry, but sees challenges and changes in its future.

Anna Hamilton

Anna Hamilton hopes to tell stories wherever they may lurk. She is currently in her last year at New College of Florida and majoring in the Humanities. Her senior thesis deals with documentary radio programs. Anna intends to pursue this interest in a graduate school.

Paula Benshoff discusses growing up in Sarasota and working as park ranger and naturalist at Myakka River State Park

Paula Benshoff

Paula Benshoff was born in Tampa but has lived in Sarasota since she was a young girl. She began working at Myakka River State Park in 1980 as a Park Ranger, and now 30 years later, holds the position Park Service Specialist. Paula has a deep love and appreciation for Florida's natural areas and is a strong advocate for land conservation. When she is not working on land management, Paula enjoys collecting oral histories from some of Sarasota's oldest residents.

Kaitlyn Bock

Kaitlyn Bock is originally from Philadelphia but has lived on Florida's west coast since 2003. Over the years, she has developed a strong attachment to Florida's natural lands and wildlife. Kaitlyn believes that an understanding of history can deepen our love for the land. By capturing local stories from Sarasota's residents, Kaitlyn hopes to share the area's historical knowledge and sense of place with the community.

Thomas Fulford, commonly known as Blue, is among the last members of a long legacy of commercial fishing on Florida's suncoast

Thomas Fulford

Thomas Fulford, more commonly known as Blue, is 87 years old and has lived in Cortez Florida his whole life. Blue learned to fish at an early age, a trade which supported him much the same as it had supported many generations of Fulfords before him. During Blue's career as a fisherman, he witnessed the enactment of legislation which banned the type of commercial fishing that had sustained his family and community for over a century. Blue portrays life as a fisherman on Florida's suncoast, and how that has changed over the course of his life.

Casey Schelhorn

Casey is a student at The New College of Florida, and a proud resident of Sarasota. He is interested in the power of capturing and telling the stories of others. This pursuit, he believes, can strengthen communities by preserving living memories and providing a window into the past. When not in school, Casey and friends are renovating a house which will become field headquarters for future projects.

Dr. Mary Jelks, Friend of the Myakka River

Dr. Mary Jelks

Dr. Mary Jelks has earned the nickname "Myakka Mary" for the amount of time and money she has spent in service to the river and park. In 1961 Dr. Jelks moved to Sarasota with her husband, Allen to start their pediatric allergy practice. In addition to practicing medicine, Dr. Jelks has collected daily pollen counts from her home for over forty years. She founded the Friends of the Myakka in 1993 and has been an active member of many different environmental groups in the area. In 1994 Dr. Jelks and her family formed the Jelks Family Foundation, an organization with a focus on conservation of natural resources, helping the county to purchase the 614-acre Jelks Preserve along the Myakka River. She is deeply committed to Sarasota, which she believes "is a view of paradise."

David Anderson

David Anderson is a recent graduate from the New College of Florida. His senior thesis, an oral history website on Catoctin Quaker Camp, reflects his confidence in the power of new media to make the rewards of oral history more accessible to the broader community. This same principle, along with his great respect and admiration for Sarasota, drew him to this project. As a true believer in the importance of oral narrative, Anderson plans to continue gathering and telling stories, all the while encouraging others to do the same.

Buster Longino discusses a lifetime of ranching, conservation and public service in Sarasota County

Buster Longino

Buster Longino has lived in the Sarasota area since 1934. After graduating from the University of Florida with a degree in forestry, He returned to manage the 8,000 acre Longino Ranch in Eastern Sarasota County. The ranch is a diversified operation with cattle, timber products, and citrus among others being produced. There is a conservation easement and a mitigation bank on the property to preserve the natural areas of the ranch. He has also served on the board of the South West Florida Water Management District, The Manasota Basin Board, and as a Sarasota County Commissioner. He retired from day to day management of the ranch in 2005, but he and his wife, Jane, continue to live on the ranch.

Willis Schueler

Willis Schueler is a student at New College of Florida orginally from Olympia, Washington. He is planning to major in Economics. He enjoys cycling, exploring nature, and baseball. He has also had a long time interest in oral history and is glad he was able to explore it in this project.

Linda Mansperger discusses the early settlers of Historic Spanish Point

Linda W. Mansperger

Linda W. Mansperger is the Executive Director of Gulf Coast Heritage Association, Inc., the not-for-profit organization that owns and operates Historic Spanish Point. As the Executive Director of Gulf Coast Heritage Association since 1985, Linda manages the restoration and interpretation of Historic Spanish Point, one of Florida's premier historic sites. With 30 acres overlooking Little Sarasota Bay, the site preserves and interprets 5,000 years of southwest Florida history. Open daily, Historic Spanish Point welcomes 28,000 visitors annually including 4,000 school children participating in curriculum-based field trips. The museum is accredited by the American Association of Museums.

Justin Quinn

Justin Quinn is a graduate student studying cultural anthropology at The University of Florida, and a recent graduate of New College of Florida. Originally from Connecticut, his family has been in the area since the mid-1980s, and he himself has been living here since 2003. He specializes in the anthropology of development and tourism, two issues of significance for the counties' water resources, both of which sparked an interest in his participation in this project.

Jonnie Walker: A Lifetime on the Water

Captain Jonnie Walker

Jonnie Walker is a professional fishing guide in Sarasota, Florida. He moved to Sarasota as a kid in 1956, and has been fishing ever since. Over the years, he has seen many changes in Sarasota Bay as the coastline has been developed. He discusses the effects of dredging Sarasota Bay. Walker has been very active in Sarasota Bay projects. He is involved with the Coastal Conservation Association, the Sarasota Bay National Estuary Program, the Sarasota County Reef Committee, and served 8 years on the Natural Resources and Parks and Recreation Advisory Board of Sarasota County. He co-chairs an annual fishing event for the physically challenged. Jonnie likes to say: "take a kid fishing because someday he may take you."

Anastasia Sallen

Anastasia "Tacy" Sallen is on the brink of graduating from New College of Florida. Majoring in anthropology, Sallen wrote her thesis on Sarasota's own Orange Blossom Community Garden. As a community gardening enthusiast, she is interested in community building and edible landscaping. Sallen plans to continue listening, and hopes to continue gathering stories and making her own.

George Luzier talks about the craft of building beautiful wooden boats

George Luzier

George Luzier was born in Sarasota in 1924. Growing up during the Depression years instilled in George a build-it-yourself mentality. At age 11 he had already built his first wooden sailboat, and throughout his teenage years he would build many more. When WWII came along George enlisted as a Merchant Marine, where he would earn his Captain's license. After the war was over, George returned to Sarasota, met his future wife Carolyn, and built his own house out of pecky cypress. After a few years captaining large freighters, George decided to start a company with his brother Homer building wooden boats in Sarasota. George, throughout the course of his career, has built hundreds of beautifully crafted wooden sailboats and motorboats, earning a reputation as one of the best wooden boat builders around. At 86 years old, George is still at it, building boats five days a week and sailing with his wife Carolyn whenever he gets the chance.

Casey Schelhorn

Casey is a student at The New College of Florida, and a proud resident of Sarasota. He is interested in the power of capturing and telling the stories of others. This pursuit, he believes, can strengthen communities by preserving living memories and providing a window into the past. When not in school, Casey and friends are renovating a house which will become field headquarters for future projects.

Patrick Murphy recalls the formation of the Sarasota Sailing Squadron

Patrick Murphy

Patrick Murphy has lived in the Sarasota area since the late 1940s. He has been involved in the Sarasota Sailing Squadron almost as long. He has served as both Commodore and manager of the Squadron, and is credited with greatly expanding the club's membership. He retired as club manager in 2008 after more than 25 years, but continues to volunteer there. Besides managing the Sailing Squadron, Murphy taught at Sarasota Public Schools.

Willis Schueler

Willis Schueler is a student at New College of Florida orginally from Olympia, Washington. He is planning to major in Economics. He enjoys cycling, exploring nature, and baseball. He has also had a long time interest in oral history and is glad he was able to explore it in this project.

John Rivers discusses the fight for social equality and justice in Sarasota

John Rivers

John Rivers is the former president of the NAACP's Sarasota Branch. He moved to Sarasota from Mobile, Alabama in 1951 in search of work to support his family. Instead, Mr. Rivers found himself in the midst of a struggle for racial equality. In the 1950s and 1960s, Sarasota was plagued with segregation, including the segregation of local beaches. Mr. Rivers took on the challenge of the fight for integration, and became a leader in the Civil Rights Movement in Sarasota. Mr. Rivers acted as a leading force in ensuring that anyone, regardless of race, could enjoy the beauty of Sarasota's beaches.

Kortney Lapeyrolerie

Kortney Lapeyrolerie is a student at New College of Florida. She is currently a third year, and is studying anthropology. Kortney strongly believes that there are meanings in spoken words that could never be conveyed in written words alone. She thinks that this project is proof of that fact. Kortney will continue carrying out oral history projects in the future.

Juan Rodriguez has surfed around the world—and back home to Sarasota

Juan Rodriguez

Juan Rodriguez is a legendary surfboard builder and life long surfer born and raised in Sarasota. As a young boy, Juan was always interested in building, crafting, and working with his hands. He started fixing surfboards early in his adolescence and surfed at local spots like Lido Key and Crescent Beach. His passion for surfing led to years of international travel and adventure. For Juan, these experiences have shaped his life and fostered a deep respect for the world's oceans. Juan Rodriguez is the owner of One World Surf Designs in Sarasota. He has no current plans to retire.

Kaitlyn Bock

Kaitlyn Bock is originally from Philadelphia but has lived on Florida's west coast since 2003. Over the years, she has developed a strong attachment to Florida's natural lands and wildlife. Kaitlyn believes that an understanding of history can deepen our love for the land. By capturing local stories from Sarasota's residents, Kaitlyn hopes to share the area's historical knowledge and sense of place with the community.

Randall Wells talks about Mote's Dolphin Research Program

Randall Wells

Dr. Randall Wells is a Senior Conservation Scientist with Chicago Zoological Society and a Senior Scientist with Mote Marine Laboratory. He played a vital role in establishing Mote's renowned Sarasota Dolphin Research Program, the world's longest running dolphin study. Along with other scientists and researchers, Dr. Wells has discovered and tracked residency patterns of Sarasota Bay's bottlenose dolphin population. His efforts have also succeeded in building up Sarasota's appreciation and conservation of its marine mammals.

Jenica Leahy

Jenica Leahy is a third year Classics student at New College. An interest in Ancient Greek orality led to a further interest in Sarasota's oral history project, as she wished to explore the implications of the oral narrative in modern day interviews. This project allowed Jenica to step out of her comfort zone and explore beyond the Ancients.

2009

Dr. Ernest Estevez discusses Sarasota Bay's entry into the National Estuary Program

Dr. Ernest Estevez

Dr. Ernest Estevez received his Ph.D. from the University of South Florida and is currently the Director of the Center for Coastal Ecology at Mote Marine Laboratory, which he joined in 1979. Dr. Estevez has conducted ecological studies in three dozen Florida rivers and bays, and has worked for decades to link science and estuarine resource management programs throughout the state. A past president of the Florida Academy of Sciences and the Myakka Conservancy, with whom he received a Governor's Council for Sustainable Florida Award, Dr. Estevez is also the recipient of a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of South Florida, and the Eugenie Clark Scientific Explorers Award.

Justin Quinn

Justin Quinn is a graduate student studying cultural anthropology at The University of Florida, and a recent graduate of New College of Florida. Originally from Connecticut, his family has been in the area since the mid-1980s, and he himself has been living here since 2003. He specializes in the anthropology of development and tourism, two issues of significance for the counties' water resources, both of which sparked an interest in his participation in this project.

Senator Bob Johnson talks about life on the Myakka River

Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson is a long-time resident of Sarasota County whose civic involvement has left many marks on the area. While serving in the Florida House of Representatives from 1970 to 1976 and 1982 to 1984 and the Florida Senate from 1984 to 1992 he raised millions of dollars for numerous causes particularly focused around the arts, environment and education. In 1985, he wrote the legislation that protected the Sarasota section of the Myakka River under the designation as a Wild and Scenic River.

David Anderson

David Anderson is a recent graduate from the New College of Florida. His senior thesis, an oral history website on Catoctin Quaker Camp, reflects his confidence in the power of new media to make the rewards of oral history more accessible to the broader community. This same principle, along with his great respect and admiration for Sarasota, drew him to this project. As a true believer in the importance of oral narrative, Anderson plans to continue gathering and telling stories, all the while encouraging others to do the same.

Steve Koski discusses living and working at the Little Salt Spring Ecological and Archaeological Preserve

Steve Koski

Steve Koski is a Research Associate with University of Miami and serves as an underwater archaeologist and site manager at Little Salt Spring. Steve came to Florida in 1985 as a graduate assistant from Arizona State University on a remote sensing survey with Dr. Rey Ruppe looking for submerged archaeological sites off Venice Beach.

Anna Hamilton

Anna Hamilton hopes to tell stories wherever they may lurk. She is currently in her last year at New College of Florida and majoring in the Humanities. Her senior thesis deals with documentary radio programs. Anna intends to pursue this interest in a graduate school.

Tom Mayers describes growing up at "Land's End" on the north end of Longboat Key

Tom Mayers

Tom Mayers was born in Tampa in 1951, but grew up on the north end of Longboat Key at a family-owned marina called Land's End. Tom's experience around boats as a young child has since taken him around the world designing and sailing world-class boats. When he's not working on the building and design of the 54-foot cruising boat known as The Land's End, Tom might be doing work with the Historical Society, environmental consulting, or just fishing for dinner off his dock. Tom is also a New College alum, a mangrove expert, and a local historian.

Casey Schelhorn

Casey is a student at The New College of Florida, and a proud resident of Sarasota. He is interested in the power of capturing and telling the stories of others. This pursuit, he believes, can strengthen communities by preserving living memories and providing a window into the past. When not in school, Casey and friends are renovating a house which will become field headquarters for future projects.

Interested in Sharing Your Story?

New College students will soon be conducting interviews with Sarasota residents who have memories to share. If you would like to be considered for the next round of interviews, read our information packet and submit your name and contact information.