How can an artist express his creative urges after a stroke leaves him legally blind? Learn how photographer Frank Planes continued his artist quest through his ingenious nature explorations at an extraordinary exhibit in January 2007 at Weedon Island Preserve
But even more exhibit and programs showcasing Florida's natural treasures, archaeological discoveries and anthropology headline January's events at the Preserve in St. Petersburg. Nature lovers with a special interest in the area can take part in an educational series called the Weedon Naturalist. Call the Weedon Island Preserve Cultural and Natural History Center at (727) 453-6500 for more information or to register.
Exhibits hold clues to the past and best of area . . .
Free - Corridor to the Past exhibit opening Friday, Jan. 5, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Families can learn about the important archaeological discoveries east of Tampa Bay that occurred prior to the construction of Interstate 75. Property surveyed as the interstate right-of-way revealed Paleo and Archaic dwelling sites. Artifacts recovered from these sites illustrate the evolution of early Indian stone technology from about 12,000 to 4,000 years ago. These discoveries illuminate prehistoric Indian life at a time when profound changes in Florida's climate helped to cause the extinction of such animals as mammoths, mastodons and sabertooth cats.
Free - Meet the Artist - Wildlife Exhibit, Winged Wonders of Weedon Island Saturday, Jan. 13, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visitors can meet Ernest C. Simmons, wildlife artist and naturalist, from Dunedin. The exhibit will be on display through Jan. 28. Take this great opportunity to meet one-on-one with Simmons as he spends the day creating one of his magnificent interpretations of nature on canvas. Simmons enjoys sharing his art talent and discussing perceptions of nature with visitors. Young artists are encouraged to attend and set up shop with this master artist and learn a few of his techniques.
Free - Hall Gallery Artist exhibit on display from Jan. 24 through Feb. 28. See the unique exhibit of the extraordinary photographer Frank Planes also known as Mr. WhiteCane. When a stroke left him legally blind and with vision similar to seeing through a vertical crack in a board, Planes learned a new way of seeing his world. While recovering in 2002, he took a digital camera outside and saw the world differently. Planes now processes and prints his digital photographs in a way that shows his appreciation for the colors in nature. Center exhibit open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p,m.
Free - Perceptions of Paradise presentation, Saturday, Jan. 13 from 2 to 3 p.m., adults can meet Mallory McCane O'Connor, author from the Florida Humanities Council Road Scholars Program. O'Connor looks at how art transmits culture and how our perception of "reality" can be shaped by fantasy and imagination. She will explore questions like: What are the historical and cultural assumptions behind the myth of Florida-as-Eden? And what role have artists played in perpetuating the image of Florida as a land so beautiful and so blessed that it seems too good to be true? Registration required by calling (727) 453-6500.
Free - Monumental Landscapes of the St. Johns Basin in Northeast Florida presentation Thursday, Jan. 18, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., adults can learn from Kenneth E. Sassaman, Ph.D. - Department of Anthropology, University of Florida. The St. Johns River valley of northeast Florida was the location of hundreds of shell and earthen mounds, some measuring hundreds of meters long and up to 10 meters high. Sassaman's findings and others are summarized in this slide-illustration talk that promotes St. Johns shell mounds as some of the state's most important and fascinating archaeological resources. Their work is showing that shell mounds are much older than ever thought. Registration is requested by calling (727) 453-6500.
Free - Weedon Naturalist - Coastal Uplands course is planned for Sunday, Jan. 21, from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. The Weedon Naturalist Program is for adults who wish to become familiar with the ecosystems that surround us. This program explores the complex and intricate connections between living things and the physical environment in which they occur, including the connections of people to these ecosystems. Each session utilizes Weedon Island Preserve as a study site to explore the various major ecosystems that comprise the Tampa Bay Watershed and features some key native species and their role in the respective ecosystem.
This session will include topics such as upland ecosystem identification, native plant distribution, ecology of upland animals and changes to landscape of Weedon Island Preserve over the last 2,000 years. Those participants completing three sessions and preparing three species profiles for an on-going Weedon Naturalist field guide will receive a Weedon Naturalist certification and pin. Adults should register early by calling (727) 453-6500.
The Weedon Island Preserve is located at 1800 Weedon Drive NE in St. Petersburg, on the shore of Old Tampa Bay near the Gandy Bridge.
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