Category Archives: History

In Search of the Calusa 2

-Ed, Estero Bay, Lee County, FLIn Search of the Calusa 2-Mound Key to Marco Island, May 8-13, 2022.

In Calusa 1, Ed, Mindi, and I learned about villages of the Calusa that once existed right in downtown, Ft Meyers. Soon after, we visited an even more remarkable remnant, the Mound House seven miles away on Ft Meyers Beach.

Continuing our journey, we headed south along Estero Bay, an aquatic preserve connected to the Caloosahatchee River.  As Adrift’s draft was too deep, we viewed Calusa site #3, Mound Key Archeological State Park, from a distance. Archeologists have determined that “Mound Key” was the capital so to speak, the ceremonial center, of a sprawling Calusa Kingdom that influenced much of South Florida. Over centuries, high shell mounds and a grand canal were built on Mound Key by Calusa hands as explained in Trail of Florida’s Indian Heritage. Seeing the famous key from a distance was quite remarkable and really and gave me a reference point for the Calusa people and their travels throughout the remainder of the trip.

III. Mound Key

-Image Florida Museum

-Mindi and Ed lead Adrift through to Estero Bay

-Ft Meyers Beach and Estero Bay to Mound Key, Google Maps.

-Wider view: Ft Meyers to Marco Island, Google Maps.

IV. Marco Island

-Rounding into Marco Island, Gulf of MexicoThe boat trip to beautiful Marco Island, Calusa site #4, cradled in the Gulf of Mexico, was rough, but once we got there about six hours later, it was calm and beautiful. I knew -here as well- we could not experience Calusa culture first hand as its most famous archeological site is now developed and covered over  by the Olde Marco Inn. This photo below is close to this area.

Key Marco as documented in the Pepper -Hearst Expedition of 1886

The Key Marco/Marco Island’s story is fascinating. Around 1895, landowner, W. D. Captain Bill Collier, no relation to the famous Collier family, was living-subsiding-on Key Marco of today’s Marco Island. While digging on his property, he noticed artifacts. Serious artifacts. Shortly thereafter, anthropologist, Frank H. Cushing, sponsored by the Smithsonian, University of Pennsylvania, and William and Phoebe Hearst was called to excavate. The “Key Marco” location became one of the most famous North American archeological sites of all time as Cushing basically “unearthed remains of an entire Calusa village.”

-The Calusa used many beautiful and once abundant shells for various aspects of their amazing culture  -All photos are replicas of Cushing’s finds, Randell Research Center, JTL Most famous among the 1896 finds is the hard-wood, in tact, gorgeous “Key Marco Cat,” and many ceremonial masks that were painted by Wells M. Sawyer before they disintegrated or fell apart. Eventually, the artifacts, photos, watercolors, and drawings were split-up among well known institutions after Cushing’s death only four years later in 1900. Thus it is difficult to view them all in one place.

Thankfully, the most famous, the “Key Marco Cat” or “Panther Man God” is on loan from the Smithsonian to the Marco Island Historical Museum until 2026. You can learn more about the iconic Florida artifact by watching this video by Pat Rutledge, Executive Director of the Marco Island Historical Society with her guest, Curator of Collections, Austin Bell.

Unfortunately, Ed and I did not get to see the Marco Cat as I left Marco Island to attended a South Florida Water Management District governing board meeting in Key Largo. But Ed and I are planning a trip back to Marco Island to see the famous feline! This is a must! Our in Search of the Calusa tour is ending up being one of our all time favorite trips! So much to learn about our Florida!

Screen shot of slide via above link to video, Austin Bell.

-Not a replica. Image of Key Marco Cat or Panther Man God, Smithsonian Museum Florida Museum of Natural History reconstruction of  ancient Calusa chief/dolphin images-Ed meets a modern street dolphin while walking Marco Island -As you can see from this photo, Marco Island is built up today as is most of South Florida…-Advertisement for the Marco Cat at the Marco Island Historical Museum!-Goodbye Marco Island! Next stop Pine Island north of the Caloosahatchee River. Ed and I look forward to taking  you there for our final Calusa visit!

Everglades Coalition Conference #EVCO22

The 37th Annual Everglades Coalition Conference took place at Hawk’s Cay in Duck’s Key, January 6-8 2022. I’ve attended almost all of the conferences since 2012 and this year’s was another one for the history books: Everglades Restoration: “Investing in a Climate Resilient Future.”

I am sharing all pages that include the program schedule and award winners. You can reference full program from above link. I will also include various photographs, and a my phone’s video of legend, Mr Dick Pettigrew’s acceptance speech – He was awarded the “Hall of Fame” award. He is 92 years old and still going strong! What a wonderful conference. 

It was impressive to see almost the entire SFWMD board and executive staff in attendance and the ACOE’s Col. Jamie Booth, and LTC Todd Polk – along with ACOE staff. So many participants from so many perspectives! We are listening and all have the same goal: to adapt and restore America’s Everglades.

-Martin County legend  Mark Perry, was awarded the Conservation Award (Ed and JTL, Nancy and Mark Perry, Eve Samples)

Historic look at EVCO through the years! 

-Rev. Houston Cypress was awarded the Grassroots Award (w/Eva Velez USACOE)Dr Evelyn Gaiser was awarded the Public Service Award

-Various photo gallery, sorry I have not named all, will try later!

-Photos of presentation slides and gallery photos

-Mr. Dick Pettigrew Hall of Fame awardee (L) with Ernie Cox

Dick Pettigrew’s acceptance speech


-Below: Old friends reunited! Dick Pettigrew, Maggy Hurchalla, James Murley, Kim Taplin, Rock Salt, Daniella Levine Cava.

A River Kid Grows Up – Veronica Dalton

If there is any child that epitomizes the River Kidz  movement, it is Veronica Dalton. The date was August 3, 2013, and Ed and I were out of town. We were somewhere in North Carolina when my phone started blowing up. “There is going to be a Lost Summer protest at St Lucie Locks and Dam. Surfer, Evan Miller, put a Facebook invite, and over 5000 people are coming!”“Holy cow Ed!” I said. ” I can’t believe we’re gone for this. The River Kidz need to be part. What should I do? There is this newer member, she has written her speeches out before the group for other events, Veronica Dalton. I’m going call her parents, Tammy and John and next, Rivers Coalition leader, Leon Abood, and see if Veronica will do it.” Her parents put Veronica on the phone. Leon supported.

The rest is history.

Eleven year old Veronica Dalton, a student at Port Salerno Elementary School, in her own words- spoke before a crowd of over 5000 people. In the photos sent to me, I could see the crowd loved her and she was beaming!“She has never been nervous about public speaking since,” I am told by her parents John and Tammy Dalton of Stuart. Veronica graduated from South Fork High School’s  International Baccalaureate Program. She is now a Sophomore at the Department of Theatre at Florida State University in Tallahassee. I had a chance to catch up with her when she was home during the holidays in late December 2021.

JTL: “Veronica! Great to hear your voice. Tell me about yourself!”

Veronica: “So I’m a theatre major with the School of Theatre at FSU. I’m focusing on design production so I am more on the technical side of theatre and film. I’m learning to design costumes, build costumes. I took a welding class last semester. It’s all hands on work. I am presently working in the costume shop as a stichary, so I’m getting show credits for all of the productions being put on so far. I’ve joined in a non profit organization named MUSED PRODUCTIONS. The goal is to bring focus to artist in Tallahassee. We basically put on live music events that are themed. In April, we’re putting on a ball which is going to have a fashion show element to it as well. So I am the creative director of that event.”

JTL: “Very impressive! I know you were into theatre at South Fork as well. Has Covid waned a bit or is it still defining university?”

Veronica: “At least this year, 2021, it doesn’t seem to be as prominent as last year. FSU isn’t allowed to require students to wear mask so they just highly encourage wearing a mask and getting vaccinated. It’s been normalized now. In 2020 it was pretty intense, we had no in person classes, I was like doing performance theater in my bedroom in front of a camera. It was very strange. This this year having a personal connection is really nice.”

JTL: “Your River Kidz experience of your youth, are any of those skills translatable to what you are doing now?”

Veronica: “Well, yes. So all of the public speaking I did has prepared me to better articulate my ideas especially when I’m coming up with designs and then I have to present them to a director – getting my ideas across – and now I’m doing event management so I’m like really learning how to stay in conversation and host events and organize with other groups of people who have similar interest. So that’s all been very helpful. The communication aspect of River Kidz has really helped.”

JTL: “This makes me so happy Veronica. That’s the thing with skills such as public speaking, especially speaking before a political group, politician,  or a crowd, that is applicable to all things in life. It instills confidence.”

Veronica: “My end goal is to go into entertainment law and help costume designers and fashion designers have quality and equal pay – not living unworkable hours -start helping the economic side of theatre.

~”Also what I’ve I learned in the theatre and the fashion industry is that every thing is very wasteful. They have fast fashion brands like Sheen or Forever 21 that are over-utilizing resources abroad and it’s just causing more waste to be produced. I want to work for creating more sustainable fashion and sustainable fashion houses. We really need to start working on that. There’s so much that goes into it. There’s copyright law because Sheen is always stealing designs off of Instagram and selling them at a cheaper price and they are cheaply made. Usually, those outfits are only worn once or a few times  because they are poorly made and they end up in a dump and the cycle just continues.”

JTL: Wow, I would have never thought about that.”

Veronica: “There’s so much sustainability that needs to be brought into theatre and film just to keep it a sustainable art and not something that over time becomes difficult to do because we don’t have the resources we need.”JTL: “Wow the River Kidz recycling education is in you Veronica! I’m so proud! Do you have any words of wisdom for the next generation of River Kidz?”

Veronica: “It’s kind of cliche, but get out of your comfort zone. I say this…. It’s all because, the River Kidz, was an accident chance occurrence- you pushing me onto the stage to speak… 🙂

-Photos shared by Veronica of herself and her boyfriend Trey. Thank  you Veronica! 



Mom’s Christmas Gift: “Beyond the Fourth Generation”

Last night, I began reading the book, BEYOND THE FOURTH GENERATION, by Lamar Johnson. My mother gave me this 1974 book as a Christmas gift. On the package was written, “Recommended by Howard Ehmke.”

“Wow.”  I thought. “Mr Ehmke is an institution of the South Florida Water Management District, – forever – lead surveyor and mapper, and designer of the agency’s beloved logo.”

I read late into the night, and recognized early in chapter one, that author, Lamar Johnson’s childhood account of the 1921 Everglades was absolutely captivating and included an event that I had attended “100 years later,” -through the South Florida Water Management District in 2021.Lamar Johnson tells many incredible stories. The one that follows his dog, Lassie, getting dragged down deep to her death in the Miami Canal by a giant alligator includes his boyhood account of the murder of G.C. Douglas, the first Deputy Sheriff in Lake Harbor, once near Bare Beach, in Palm Beach County. As alluded to, I had been exposed to this story of the Deputy – and invited in August of 2021, to the 100 year later – memorial – by my parent’s dear friend, Chappy Young, GCY INC.

It really made the event come to life, reading “Beyond The Fourth Generation.” As I told my mother today, I worried about the incident within those times, as it was like the wild west. It remains a remarkable historical break-through that Deputy Douglas was researched and  honored along the banks of the old Miami Canal one-hundred years later. Thus, today, I share my photos from August 2021. You can learn more by watching the video at the end of this post.

-Group shot -SFWMD Board Members, Ben Butler, JTL,  and Exec. Dir. Drew Bartlett-Photos from the area, Lake Harbor, just east of Clewiston along Lake Okeechobee. -The old Miami Locks. Lake Okeechobee met the canal here in 1921. -Location of event as shown on Google Maps, easy to see how the lake once reached this area and beyond during wet season, then flowed south through the River of Grass.-This Google Map close up shows the Old Miami Locks from above at Azalea Court and Weaver Lane; note width of original canal compared to today. Thankfully this has been preserved as a state historic site. -Arriving with Regional Rep. Sherry McCorkle -The Riderless Horse awaits its que -Getting ready to start the ceremony  -Looking around-People begin to gather -Family of Deputy Douglas-JTL -Ben Butler, Chappy Young, and JTL -Chappy and members of Douglas Family -Libby Pigman, Regional Rep. SFWMD -The ceremony begins   -Dog belonging to a member of the crowd, left its owner during gunshots, hiding in next to Ben Butler. So cute!  -Sheriffs/organizers with Chappy  Young  -Old Miami Locks – far right

Video of event PBC Sheriffs Dept tells the story of researching Dept. Sheriff Douglas 

Everglades Project Numbers – SFWMD 2019-2021

Mission Statement: Our mission is to safeguard and restore South Florida’s water resources and ecosystems, protect our communities from flooding, and meet the region’s water needs while connecting with the public and stakeholders.” 

Strategic Plan 2022-2027 

-Ms Jennifer Reynolds, Director of Ecosystem Restoration and Capital Projects, presents to the Governing Board, Okeechobee, October, 2021.I am proud to serve on the Governing Board of the South Florida Water Management District. As 2021 comes to a close, I would like to document what the board and staff with the help, firstly, of Governor Ron DeSantis, and also South Florida residents, organizations, and state and federal government investment have accomplished since 2019. This list was compiled by Communications Director, Mr Sean Cooley, after the November meeting in West Palm Beach, as brought to our attention by Vice-Chair Scott Wagner.

Flicker SFMWD 2019-2021

Since January 2019, 37 Everglades restoration projects have broken ground, hit a major milestone, or finished construction.

Construction – Broken Ground

  1. EAA Reservoir Project’s Stormwater Treatment Area
  2. 8.5 Square Mile Area Seepage Wall
  3. Lake Okeechobee Watershed Restoration Project’s Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) Wells
  4. C-139 Flow Equalization Basin
  5. C-139 Annex Restoration Phase 2 and Agricultural Area Stormwater Rerouting
  6. Tamiami Trail Next Steps – Phase II
  7. Stormwater Treatment Area 1-West Expansion #2
  8. Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetlands – L31-East Flowway
  9. Picayune Strand Restoration Project Flood Protection Features

Moved to Next Phase or Hit Major Milestone

  1. Started final phase of construction for the Caloosahatchee (C-43) Reservoir
  2. C-25 Reservoir/STA, completed land acquisition and starting design
  3. Loxahatchee River Watershed Restoration Project, started design
  4. CEPP North, started design
  5. S-332B and S-332C Pump Station Replacements, started design
  6. Lake Hicpochee Expansion Phase II, started design
  7. Began operations at Picayune Strand Restoration Project of the first of three pumps to rehydrate drained wetlands
  8. Broward County C-11 Impoundment, started design
  9. S-356 Pump Station, started design
  10. Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetlands – Cutler Wetlands, started design
  11. Boma Flow Equalization Basin, started design
  12. C-23/C-44 Interconnect Canal in the Indian River Lagoon-South Project, started design



  1. Caloosahatchee (C-43) Reservoir Water Quality Study Analysis
  2. Brighton Valley Dispersed Water Management Project
  3. Scott Water Farm Project
  4. Bluefield Grove Water Farm Project
  5. Allapattah Flats Wetland Restoration, a component of the Indian River Lagoon-South Project
  6. S-191A Pump Station and Lakeside Ranch Stormwater Treatment Area
  7. Kissimmee River Restoration Construction
  8. C-44 Reservoir and STA
  9. Old Tamiami Trail Roadbed Removal
  10. S-333N Structure
  11. Tamiami Trail Next Steps – Phase I
  12. Combined Operating Plan (COP), Modified Water Deliveries (ModWaters), and C-111 South Dade Project
  13. Stormwater Treatment Area 1-West, Expansion #1
  14. Stormwater Treatment Area 5/6, Retrofit
  15. Stormwater Treatment Area 1-East, Retrofit
  16. Lake Hicpochee Phase I Restoration


Other SFWMD Everglades Accomplishments, in Partnership with DEP

  • Purchased 20,000 acres of sensitive Everglades wetlands to permanently conserve them and prevent oil drilling
  • Doubled water quality monitoring efforts
  • Created a rapid response team to immediately respond to blue-green algae incidents

Holiday Reading, Historic Documents of the SFWMD

-Everglades Drainage District Map 1914, Florida MemoryI love historic documents! In case you enjoy reading them too, I am sharing three that I have recently studied that come from the South Florida Water Management District’s archives – perhaps not “seen” since the 1940s, 50s or 60s.

The first two are very similar. These notebooks were compiled by the Everglades Drainage District, precursor of the South Florida Water Management District, to document and explain South Florida’s great physical and monetary losses due to the rains, flooding, storms, and hurricanes of 1947. Using the technology available of the day, I see these documents as a “local call for help” to the State of Florida and the U.S. Federal Government.

Starting around 1914, first, was the Everglades Drainage District; second, 1948, the Central and South Florida Flood Control District; and third, 1977, the South Florida Water Management District. Due to the photographs in these two reports, I believe they were  precursors to the famed Crying Cow Report that inspired the Central and South Florida Project– what allows us to live here today -while trying to improve the project’s over-drainage and sometimes ecologically destructive side-effects.

-CSFFCP map ca. 1948


To access link this notebook, click on #1 link below. These documents are large and may be slow to open.

#1 Brochure, Everglades Drainage District, 1947


Next, notebook #2,  is very similar to #1, but more comprehensive. Please view link below to peruse this document that is noted as “tentative,” whereas number #1 is referred to as a”brief brochure hurriedly prepared.”  This is also a large file and will be slow to open.

#2 Tentative Report, Everglades Drainage District, 1947


Third, is a more modern looking report, not from the Everglades Drainage District, but compiled by Dr Gordon Gunters, written for the District Engineer of the Jacksonville Corps of Engineers. Dr Gunter was a Biological Consultant of the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, Ocean Springs, Mississippi. The bound report is entitled “Biological Investigations of St Lucie River Estuary in Connection with Lake Okeechobee Discharges Through St Lucie Canal, October 15, 1960” – replacing the orange report inside dated October 15, 1959.

Link to access below. Again slow to open.

I really enjoyed reading starting on page 2. As page 7 references the “Stuart News and St Lucie-Indian Rivers Restoration League,” I have to wonder if this is the report that in local Stuart history lore was so excitedly accomplished, but “then they walked away and nothing ever happened.” Well, thank God today things are happening and we are not relegated to notebooks!

Wishing you enjoyable reading for this holiday season and always! 

#3 Biological Investigation of St Lucie Estuary -St Lucie Canal Discharges 1960

* We create a better future, by understanding our past. Thus now these are “out there.” Thank you to Librarian Diaz at the SFWMD for helping me find these rare and interesting documents! Enjoy.


Reintroducing Myself to Pelican Island’s Paul Kroegel

Reintroducing Myself to Pelican Island’s Warden, Paul Kroegel

-A 30 year old Jacqui meets the Paul Kroegel statue, Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, Sebastian, Florida, 1994.  Photo by mother, Sandra Thurlow.  -A 57 year old Jacqui reintroduces herself to the Paul Kroegel statue, Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, Sebastian, Florida, 2021. Photo by husband, Ed Lippisch.

The Story of Recreating the Photo

Last week, when I told my mother I had an Indian River Lagoon Council meeting in Sebastian, she forwarded me a 1994 photograph of me with my hand on the shoulder of statue Paul Kroegel. I vaguely recalled visiting the statue twenty-seven years ago during a family outing to the St Sebastian River.

“You’ll have to reintroduce yourself to our friend, Mr Paul Kroegel,” mom said. “You know, the man who inspired Theodore Roosevelt to create the Pelican Island Reservation that became the nation’s first National Wildlife Refuge in 1903. Mr Kroegel was appointed the United State’s first warden. He loved and protected thousands of pelicans!”

“I’ll do that mom. I’ll find the statue. I do remember that day,” I replied. “You, dad and I were canoeing and got caught in a thunderstorm.” It all started coming back to me…

The more I thought about it, the more I stared getting excited about finding the statue…

On Friday, August 13, I attended the Indian River Lagoon Council National Estuary meeting. Afterwards, using Google Maps, a devise not available in 1994, I found the Kroegel statue in Riverview Park just down the road from Sebastian City Hall.

There Warden Kroegel stood smoking his pipe, pelicans at his feet,  just a shiny as ever! Someone had patriotically placed an American flag in his arms. It blew in the wind as pelicans and wading birds flew by. I took a deep breath, stood tall, and using my best manners reintroduced myself to Warden Kroegel. Looking into his bronze eye was almost real. We looked at each other for a long time. I placed my hand on his shoulder as in the original shot but had to turn around to take a modern day selfie. No one was there to take my picture, so I was unable to recreate the 1994 photo for my mother.

-Sculpted by Rosalee T. Hume

Luckily when I got home that night at dinner, I convinced Ed to drive up with me to Sebastian on the weekend, Sunday, August 15, to recreate the photo. We had a blast! First, it is such a beautiful drive to Sebastian from Sewall’s Point along historic Indian River Drive. Second, Sebastian is small and beautiful.  A lot like Stuart was when I was a kid. We really enjoyed our visit there. After finding Riverview Park and enjoying the scenery, I introduced Ed to Warden Kroegel and we took the picture!

-Riverview Park, Indian River Lagoon