Florida Master Gardeners, park rangers and Friends of Manatee Springs celebrated the 67th Anniversary of Manatee Springs State Park. Sculpture work was commissioned by a local artist and welder. Eragrostis spectabilis (Purple love grass) and Muhlenbergia capillaris (Muhley grass) sway and mimic eelgrass. The scene reminds us of eelgrass that West Indian Manatee feed upon.
Geobalanus oblognifolisu (Gopher apple) and Viburnum obovatum (‘Dwarf’ Walter’s viburnum) provide season long color. Friends of Manatee Springs purchased plants from a local nursery.
UF/IFAS Extension Master Gardeners, park rangers and community volunteers prepared and planted the living demonstration. Suwannee River Water Management District provided funding for project supplies.
Manatee Springs is one of Florida’s first-magnitude springs. 72 degree water erupts from the Floridan aquifer. Over 117 million gallons per day flows to the Suwannee River from the “boil,” a place where the underground store of fresh water comes to the surface.
Floating face down in the natural spring, one may view the opening twenty plus feet below. Look for the slightly overcropping ledge. You’ll see the sand dance and move as if to some unheard song. Amazingly beautiful, serene and awe-inspiring. Enjoy your experience with the Floridan aquifer. Until next time – Spread Joy.