Tag Archives: Treasure Coast

Finally Embracing Being Florida’s “Treasure Coast!” SLR/IRL

Map of "Shipwrecks of Florida" and the most famous lie along Florida's Treasure Coast! (map Stuart Heritage Museum)
Map of “Shipwrecks of Florida” and the most famous lie along Florida’s Treasure Coast! (map Stuart Heritage Museum)
Gold coins found recently off Ft Pierce, as shared for publication by Queens Jewels LLC. (Public photo)
Gold coins found recently off Ft Pierce, as shared for publication by Queens Jewels LLC. (Public photo)

In 2008, when I was first elected to the town commission of Sewall’s Point, I was appointed to be on the Treasure Coast Council of Local Governments, and sister entity, Treasure Coast Regional League of Cities. These wonderful organizations consist of elected officials from Indian River, St Lucie, Martin and Okeechobee Counties–counties on, or connected to, the Indian River Lagoon.

As is my style “as a new member,” I tried to keep my mouth shut until I could figure out the “politics” and the players of the game. But in 2008 the winds of fate would not have such…

One of the first discussions for the “League” was organizing to change the name of our region from “Treasure Coast ” to “Research Coast.” The goal at the time, in the wake of the Great Recession, was to attract research companies to our area, and this name change was believed to facilitate this goal.

As the daughter of a historian, I broke my “keep your mouth shut early member rule” and as  politely as possible relayed that I thought changing the name from Treasure Coast to Research Coast was a  “terrible idea in line with gutting our history and identity, not to mention years of branding…”

"George Valentine" public photo.
“Georges Valentine” public photo.
Georges Valentine wrecked off the House of Refuge in Martin County in 1904. "The earliest settlers used the lumber that washed up on the beach to construct their homes." (Photo courtesy of Agnes Tietig Parlin via historian, Sandra Henderson Thurlow.)
Georges Valentine wrecked off the House of Refuge in Martin County in 1904. “The earliest settlers of our area used the lumber that washed up on the beach to construct their homes.” (Photo courtesy of Agnes Tietig Parlin via historian, Sandra Henderson Thurlow.)

The discussions lasted months and finally the idea to change the name was dropped. Treasure Coast prevailed. Many others held my sentiments; the discussion had been going on for a while before I got there.  It was controversial to say the least. In the end, I  felt we’d “won,” but others felt we’d lost an opportunity.

The recent findings of gold treasure off of Ft Pierce by Queens Jewels LLC as reported by the Brinson family is just what is needed to reinvigorate our “Treasure Coast” identity and tourism is big business!

As we all know, Sebastian, Jupiter, Martin, Vero, and others have a rich history in unearthing treasures from along our shores and not all of it is gold. Lumber, pottery, gems, pearls,—the remaining ship itself and the swimming sea of creatures that have made these wrecks their home is enough for me!

Years ago, I went snorkeling off of the House of Refuge to see the Georges Valentine ship. It was fun and very near shore. You could always see the House of Refuge.  I think I’ll get my husband to take me again to celebrate the findings off of Ft Pierce, and to pay homage to those over one-thousand souls who died in ships bound for Spain during a relentless hurricane 300 years ago this past July weekend.

Maybe you’ll go too? Have you already been? Did you find any gold?

If you want a simple map to get started, Stuart Heritage Museum at 161 SW Flager has a great one and it’s great for kids. Entitled “Shipwrecks of Florida and the Eastern Gulf of Mexico,” it gives a great visual history of all….to see why we are and always will be THE TREASURE COAST!

Map of ship wrecks along Florida's Treasure Coast. (Stuart Heritage.)
Map of ship wrecks along Florida’s Treasure Coast.(Stuart Heritage)
Shipwrecks of Florida....
Shipwrecks of Florida….

Stuart Heritage Museum and info: (http://www.stuartheritagemuseum.com)

Orlando Sentinel Rare Find: (http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/breaking-news/os-florida-family-finds-rare-gold-coin-20150727-story.html)

The Republic: (http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/c4131fbbd61845fba16830be4ed6d850/FL–Treasure-Hunters)

Advertising for Clean Water Along the Indian River Lagoon

An ad running on the west coast of Florida in the area of Lee County, put together with the collaboration of interested parties and local governments, 2014. (Shared by former council lady Marsha Simmons, Bonita Springs.)
An ad running on the west coast of Florida in the area of Lee County, put together with the collaboration of interested parties and local governments, 2014. (Shared by former council lady Marsha Simmons, Bonita Springs.)

Billboards, radio ads, and commercials for clean water. They are already on Florida’s west coast and they may be coming to The Treasure Coast. Lee County and generally the west coast of a Florida have been the leaders in this promotion for educating the public to vote and act out of habit  for “clean water.”

I smiled a few years ago when I saw a Facebook post of a billboard on the west coast of a lady in a bikini standing in a pool of algae water holding it in her hands, the caption read ” Why won’t Florida’s politicians protect our water?”I believe Earth Justice, a law firm for the environment, and the Sierra Club helped fund the ad along with private monies.

Lately local governments themselves are helping create and fund these ads, like the one above for fertilizer. “Don’t Feed the Monster,” teaches the public not  to over fertilize. It was Sanibel and Sarasota on the west coast that started the strong fertilizer ordinances in their cities, somewhere around 2007. It caught on. In 2009 on Florida’s east coast,  the City of Stuart passed the first “state endorsed” fertilizer ordinance and then in 2010 the Town of Sewall’s Point went one step further and passed a “strong fertilizer” ordinance not allowing fertilizing during the rainy season with product containing phosphorus and nitrogen, the nutrients that “feed” algae blooms in our waters. Martin County and others followed and then this strong fertilizer ordinance idea, originally from the west coast, went up the entire treasure coast and beyond. Remarkable!

Will the next move be for Martin, St Lucie and Indian River Counties to have a couple of billboards? Martin County  is promoting the “Be Floridian” program or getting ready to….this fertilizer education program came out of Tampa Bay. Their ad is pink flamingos! At the beginning of every rainy season the city hall puts hundreds if not thousands in front of their building and around the city. These pink flamingos remind the public to “not fertilize during rainy season June-September.” The “Be Floridian” program promotes Florida Friendly yards with less turf grass and less fertilizing. It has been wildly successful and Tampa Bay has recovered 45percent more of their sea grasses than they had after World War II since the programs’ inception which occurred around ten years ago.

These ad programs are working and educating for clean water and putting pressure on politicians and agriculture to get more “on board.”

I think the ads are coming to the St Lucie/Indian River Lagoon Region soon, so if you have any clever ideas please share. But one thing for sure, if I’m involved,  I will not be wearing a bikini! 🙂