Florida has the largest convergence of freshwater springs on the planet and one of our most impressive natural wonders are the underwater caves.
Alachua County’s own, Wes C. Skiles, began diving at age 8 and quickly became internationally recognized for his accomplishments in underwater filming and springs conservation awareness.
Skiles’ work included more than 100 films for television that he filmed, produced, and edited. “Water’s Journey: The Hidden Rivers of Florida” still airs on PBS and reveals the journey of water above and within the earth; revealing how our lives are intertwined with the water we drink. Tragically, Skiles died while on a dive off Boynton Beach in 2010. He was posthumously awarded “Explorer of the Year” in 2011 by National Geographic.
Wes Skiles’ family continues to live in High Springs, Florida and Skiles’ brother Jim is an active member of the Rotary Club of Downtown Gainesville. Rotary International is a service organization and each chapter has its own local focuses. Since 2012, the club has included water stewardship as one of its six areas of philanthropy. In 2013, the club began a fundraiser to honor three educators, businesses and organizations for their exceptional efforts in improving water quality and conservation in North Florida.
This year, the event, now retitled the Wes Skiles Water Stewardship Awards is being held on Monday November 13. The event is open to the public and funds will support water stewardship in Wes Skiles’ memory. GRU, Ginnie Springs, Gainesville Fine Arts Alliance, Lanza Gallery and Art Supplies, First Magnitude Brewing, Carr, Riggs, and Ingram, and James Moore and Company sponsor the event.
The event will feature keynote speaker Jennifer Adler, an underwater photographer and biologist. With the support of National Geographic, she created an environmental education program called Walking on Water. Tickets are available at https://wesskiles.eventbrite.com
Event: Wes Skiles Water Stewardship Awards
Hosted by: The Rotary Club of Downtown Gainesville
Location: Gainesville Fine Arts Association, 1314 S. Main St.
Time: 6pm – 8:30pm
For more information, contact Sarah Barnes at (843)812-3334.