Sunday, June 16, 2013

Equinox Documentaries, Inc.  has begun production for an hour-long broadcast documentary film that will illustrate the magic, the mystery---and the urgent threats---the springs of Florida share. We will focus on Silver Springs since it is the largest, the most historic, and the best known. We will also weave in the stories of other characteristic springs throughout Florida, including Wekiwa on the St. Johns River  and White Springs on the Suwannee River, since they help illustrate the geographic distribution of the springs. We are partnering with noted cave explorer and cartographer Eric Hutcheson on research, production, and on-camera interpretation.

With its extensive underpinning of porous karst geology, Florida  is home to more fresh water springs than any other region in the world. Our springs are also windows into the health of our Floridan Aquifer---the source for drinking water for 90 percent of Floridians.  These springs fuel many of our rivers and were early “attractions” for tourists who visited them by steamboat beginning in the mid 1800’s.. Prior to that, the springs of our peninsula were highly prized by Native Americans for thousands of years because they were “sacred” and had magical, life-giving qualities.

However, poor planning driven by uninformed politics has led to a condition in which most of our once-pristine springs now show notable declines in flow, as well as a major increases in pollution. "Secrets" graphically examines the long and colorful history of our springs, explores some astounding scientific discoveries, and sounds an urgent alarm about the impending loss of many of these magical---but finite---natural legacies.

The once-transparent waters of Silver Springs are now full of nutrient-fed algae, and its historic flow rates have diminished by about 40 percent since the 1950's.  (Photo courtesy of: FloridaSlimeCrimes)

On-camera sources will include former Gov. and U.S. Sen. Bob Graham, artists Jim Draper and Margaret Tolbert, Sister Pat Siemen of the Center for Earth Jurisprudence, Dr. Robert Knight of the Springs Institute of Florida, nature photographer John Moran ("Springs Eternal") and others who are intimately connected with our rare and imperiled fresh water springs. Once our research phase is complete, we will move more intensively into production work in and around springs---as well as those dry "sumps" that were once first magnitude springs. Curriculum programs as well as community forums will be planned to help encourage education and informed public dialogue about these critical issues.

Equinox is a 501(c)(3) founded by PBS producer Bob Giguere and author Bill Belleville to bring narrative-driven stories about nature, conservation, and "sense of place" to film. More info about its work can be found at  At that site, you can watch a short video trailer of striking underwater and topside images relative to this film.