Museum of Science & History – Springs Eternal

The Year of the River is an initiative bringing together over 50 institutions to raise awareness of the St. Johns River as the “cultural current” of our city and an important driver for economic development, recreation, tourism and quality of life throughout Northeast Florida. @CulturalFusionJax  #yotr

The Museum of Science & History (MOSH) was thrilled to learn that Cultural Fusion chose “Year of the River” as the 2015 initiative. With prime real estate along the St. Johns, MOSH not only has a great view, but also a commitment to educating the community about the science of water. One thing that many people don’t know about the St. Johns River is that an estimated 20-40% of its flow comes from springs.

Year of the River_MOSH_EternalSprings_blue-planet-cypress-springs_byJohnMoranFor many, Florida’s springs are a mystery. Springs form where groundwater is forced up and onto the surface through openings in the ground. This is caused by the differences in the slope of the aquifer. As rain falls and percolates underground, it exerts pressure on the water already in the aquifer, forcing some to the surface through natural openings. The largest springs like Wakulla and Silver Springs are classified as First Magnitude springs which means they each discharge more than 65 million gallons of water a day.

Florida’s springs are windows into our drinking water supply. Photographers have the unique ability to capture the beauty of Florida springs, but also their imperiled status. Declines in fish populations and algae now coat many of the most popular springs. It is hard, looking at our springs, to believe how significant the decline in their health and flow is. When you protect a spring, you are only protecting an outflow. The entire springshed must be protected in order to improve water quality at the source.

Springs Eternal: Florida’s Fragile Fountains of Youth, John Moran’s widely regarded photography exhibit, will be at MOSH through August 30. The exhibit chronicles the story of Florida springs by juxtaposing several sets of graphic then-and-now photographs.

Moran’s photography over a 30-year span is showcased along with informative text panels documenting the ecological issues related to the decline of the springs. The exhibit also explores the emotional connection residents and visitors have with the springs. In John Moran’s words, “This project is a visual celebration of the springs we were given, a meditation on the springs we could lose, and an invitation to the people of Florida to fall in love with our springs all over again, mindful that the choices we make today foretell the Florida of tomorrow.” See more of Moran’s work at

This exhibit follows another on a similar topic. Jenny Adler presented “Illusions” focused on the theme of illusions and the water earlier in 2015. The photos and accompanying text panels blended science and art to raise awareness about Florida’s fragile springs and water sources. See more of the images at

On May 28, MOSH will host a special edition of its MOSH After Dark program series. “Our Water, Our Future” is an engaging look into the aquifer with Springs Eternal Project creators John Moran and Lesley Gamble. The Springs Eternal exhibit is on display at MOSH through August 30. The program is $10 for the general public. Purchase tickets at First Magnitude Brewing (Gainesville, FL) craft beer and wine will be served, featuring “Drift” English mild and “72 Degrees” pale ale.

BY SHANNON BLANKINSHIP, Outreach Director, St. Johns Riverkeeper &

KRISTI TAYLOR, Communications Manager, MOSH



About Shannon Blankinship

Shannon Blankinship is the Outreach Director for St. Johns Riverkeeper and contributes regularly via the “On The River” column building awareness for the many issues that impact the St. Johns River. Shannon received her B.S. from Purdue University in Natural Resources Economics and Policy and her J.D. from Florida Coastal School of Law in Jacksonville. She is currently an elected official in Duval County serving on the Soil and Water Conservation District. She is a board member for the local nonprofit The Girls Gone Green and regularly contributes articles affecting animals and health. She is a Springfield resident and works to promote all things great in the urban core neighborhoods.