Helping the SFWMD Catch a Fish–Solidarity, St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon

Kevin Powers, SFWMD Vice Chair; Janeen Mason, Solidarity Arts, Marsha Powers, MC School Board. (Photos Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch, 2-12-15.)
Colorful and skeleton “Solidarity Fish”….Kevin Powers, vice-chair SFWMD; Janeen Mason, Solidarity Arts; Marsha Powers, Marin County School Board. (Photo, Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch, 2-21-15.)
Close up of solidarity fish on Florida's Capitol steps, Clean Water/Amd. 1 Rally 2-17-15.) (JTL)
Close up of solidarity fish on Florida’s Capitol steps, Clean Water/Amd. 1 Rally 2-17-15,  photo JTL.)

Recently, Kevin Powers, vice-chair of the Governing Board of the South Florida Water Management District, called me asking about the “solidarity fish,” so I went even a little further and arranged for a meeting with Kevin, his wife, (Martin County School Board Member), Marsha Powers, and artist/writer extraordinaire, —Janeen Mason.

(http://www.sfwmd.gov/portal/page/portal/xrepository/sfwmd_repository_pdf/powers_bio.pdf),

(http://www.solidarityarts.com)

Sometimes in my world, it is best not to ask questions. It is best just to “do.” Knowing this timing and following my intuition is an important part of my mission in trying to save the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon…

Janeen Mason was a sport, and we met with my giving her little notice— she brought some of her beautiful, colorful, skeleton fish that have come to symbolize the river movement along the Indian River Lagoon. In fact, her idea is spreading across the state as she is called by others seeking advice on how to start such a “school,” (http://www.solidarityarts.com) as so many others across Florida have water issues too.

 

Janeen Mason with her fish for Kevin Powers, SFWMD. (Photo JTL.)
Janeen Mason with her fish for Kevin Powers, SFWMD. (Photo JTL.)

When Janeen met the Powers at their home, it was a wonderful thing for me, as I was able to learn her story which I had never really heard. (http://www.janeenmason.com)

Janeen told of being a young person, seeing the tropical fish in the Florida Keys for the very first time, and the powerful impression they made upon her young mind. She has carried this image with her through out her life, and most recently transposed it into the river  movement in response to our “Lost Summer” of 2013 when the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) and Army Corp of Engineers (ACOE) dumped polluted Lake Okeechobee water for five months (on top of area canal runoff) into the St Lucie River, causing horrific, toxic conditions in our and the Calooshatchee estuary.

Since this era, the solidarity fish have been associated with the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon “river movement,” the River Warriors, and many others. Even Martin County used the symbol to decorate their holiday tree. There are bumper stickers and T-shirts you will see just about everywhere displaying the fish, colorful on one side, and a skeleton on the other….

These fish, you see in the photos on the Capitol steps, have been hand painted by hundreds of children and concerned adults;  displayed at the Elliott Museum; on the River Warriors’ Christmas/Holiday float in the City of Stuart parade; and even last year Washington DC!

Solidarity Christmas Tree in Washington DC, 2014. (Photo borrowed from Facebook.)
Solidarity Christmas Tree in Washington DC, 2014. (Photo borrowed from Facebook.)

The fish are art in its purest form: “transformative and inspirational…”

So when Kevin Powers asked about the fish, I asked no questions. I saw an opportunity to help the District “catch a fish,” our fish, the solidity fish of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon.

I believe, soon they will be swimming their way into some very powerful waters….. 🙂

Maggie Hurchalla with fish on pole juxtaposed to colorful and skeleton fish on steps of Capitol. All fish are individually hand painted by children, adults and artists Janeen Mason. (Photo 2-17-15, JTL)
Famed environmentalist and former Martin County Commissioner, Maggie Hurchalla, with holds fish on pole juxtaposed to colorful and skeleton fish on steps of Capitol. All fish are individually hand painted by children, adults and artists Janeen Mason. (Photo 2-17-15, Clean Water/Amd 1 Rally, JTL)
River Kidz
River Kidz surrounded by solidarity fish on steps of Florida’s Capitol. Quite a sight! (Photo 2-17-15,  JTL)
All colorful fish.....(Photo JTL.)
All colorful fish…..(Photo JTL.)

__________________________

South Florida Water Management District: (http://www.sfwmd.gov/portal/page/portal/sfwmdmain/home%20page)

9 thoughts on “Helping the SFWMD Catch a Fish–Solidarity, St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon

  1. thanks for your work, time and effort. I am working with some people , family , and friends on this solidartiy. I will come back to you shortly with some ideas and will then go to the lady. I believe in working thru channels. We do video, music , and art , so I am thinking on a campaign for the Indian River. I have been bringing people down to see, and film and we are getting a concept to form in our minds. So, also, to connect the Cahaba River Society in Alabama as all the rivers need help, prayer, and love. Best, Ed, my friends call me Ed,

    On Tue, Feb 24, 2015 at 9:27 AM, Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch wrote:

    > Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch posted: ” Recently, Kevin Powers, > vice-chair of the Governing Board of the South Florida Water Management > District, called me asking about the “solidarity fish,” so I went even a > little further and arranged for a meeting with Kevin, his wife, (Martin > County”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Never underestimate the power of Art; John Lennon, Picasso, Virginia Woolf, Shakespeare, Nelson Mandela, Joan of Arc, Pete Seeger, Dr. Seuss and many others knew this well.

    History has shown that in all facets of social, economic, political, cultural and environmental movements, art has always played a vital and important role in influencing and bringing forth positive changes in extraordinary and unexpected ways that previously seemed impossible to effect. Janeen Mason created and gave us all a wonderful gift to reflect upon and appreciate – her Solidarity Fish. Many thanks also to Kevin Powers for all his support.

    Liked by 2 people

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