DECEMBER 10, 2019 SPEAKER: Rick Kilby


(Presentation Description Provided by Speaker)
“As I traveled the state while working on my book, Finding the Fountain of Youth, I observed that many Florida springs shared a similar history. First, the Native Americans who inhabited the state considered the pristine waters of springs to be sacred. As European settlers arrived, they found the limitless supply of pure water provided by the springs to be an invaluable resource. Near the end of the 19th century, affluent travelers began visiting Florida and many springs become health spas where wealthy patrons could take the waters.”

“In the twentieth century, tourists started to arrive by car and some springs became roadside attractions with fanciful features like water-skiing elephants and underwater mermaids. Eventually, interstate highways bypassed many of these roadside roadside attractions and they often found new lives as state and county parks. Today many of our state’s “fountains of youths” are at risk, as development threatens our springs and their source, the Floridan aquifer, the origin of most of the state’s drinking water.”

“With many colorful images throughout the presentation, I will explore the history of our springs and how these Fountains of Youth became an important part of the state’s early development. I will also examine some the challenges facing these spectacular natural resources as the population of Florida continues to expand rapidly.” 

Rick grew up in Gainesville, Florida, looking for shark’s teeth, swimming in springs, and wading through swamps. He has earned his living as a graphic designer since 1986, launching his own company, Kilby Creative, in 2000. His first book, “Finding the Fountain of Youth: Ponce de León and Florida’s Magical Waters,” was published by the University Press of Florida in 2013 and won a Florida Book Award in the Visual Arts category. His mission is to motivate Floridians to appreciate the natural and historic wonders of their state.