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THEEMERSONCENTER.ORG:              

The Florida Humanities Series is our gift to the community.
 

In 2007, The Florida Humanities Council an independent, non-profit organization that serves as our state's affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, funded a special program at The Emerson Center to provide free, public programs that explore Florida's history, folklore, environment, literature, music, and art. Today, relying solely on community support, The Emerson Center continues to offer these informative programs for our neighbors.


Now, you can download an informative flier describing the 2015-2016 Florida Humanities Series.


Join us in saying special thanks to Marine Bank & Trust, our sponsor for the 2015-2016 Florida Humanities Series.


The capacity of the Emerson Center is more than 800. For our Florida Humanities series, free admission will be offered on a first-come-first-served basis. There will be a selection of V.I.P. seats reserved for season ticket holders of the "Celebrated Speakers Series," Florida Humanities Series Sponsors, and Friends of the Emerson Center. The Emerson Center is handicapped-accessible and is conveniently located at 1590 27th Avenue, on the SE corner of 16th Street and 27th Avenue in Vero Beach. For more information, contact 778-5249.
 

Once again in 2015-2016, The Emerson Center at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Vero Beach will present the Florida Humanities Series - our gift to the community. Seven acclaimed programs will be presented at the Center between October 2015 and April 2016, with all presentations relating to Florida history, nature, culture, and issues. Admission to each is complimentary and all performances will begin at 7 p.m.
 

Coming up next on the Florida Humanities Series stage...


October 29,2015, 7pm
Richard Votapka
Fellsmere Firsts and Other Fellsmere Stories

 

Dressed in costume of an earlier day, Fellsmere historian Rich Votapka will share information via PowerPoint about what life was like there at the turn of the 19th century in Fellsmere, a small agricultural town northwest of Vero Beach that was once the center of commerce in Indian River County.

Rich has lived in Indian River County since 1975. He and his wife, Linda, have three sons and a daughter, all born and raised in Sebastian. Rich is a registered professional engineer, and a former City of Sebastian Councilman and Mayor. He was a Boy Scout leader for 25 years, and a layleader in the Sebastian United Methodist Church. Presently, Rich is the pianist and his wife, Linda, is the organist for the Fellsmere Historical Church.

Rich became a member of the Pioneer Preservation of Fellsmere Committee in April 2008 and was elected to the IRCHS Board of Directors in June 2008. He has served as Board Secretary since May 2009. Since becoming a member of IRCHS, Rich co-authored the book entitled “A Photographic History of the City of Fellsmere” with fellow IRCHS member Clarence “Korky” Korker; co-authored a “Self-Guided Walking Tour” booklet with Sandy Ciurla on the Historic Landmarks of Fellsmere; wrote the text for four historical markers in Fellsmere; wrote 21 historical articles for Vero’s Voice magazine; gave numerous lectures on Fellsmere to civic groups while portraying E. Nelson Fell, founder of Fellsmere; had three radio interviews concerning historical topics; conducted several walking tours of historic downtown Fellsmere; and assisted past fellow IRCHS Board Member Dan Thomas in painting the historic Florida East Coast Train Station in Vero Beach, headquarters of the Historical Society.

Presently, Rich is restoring an 1890’s railroad handcar; compiling a list of all the Fellsmere commissioners and mayors; writing the text for four more historical markers; working with expert model builder, Nat Huggins, in creating scale models of all of the historic Fellsmere Railroad buildings; and working with the Fellsmere Beautification Committee to re-establish the Annual Flower Show in Fellsmere, which was held almost a century ago.

 

General admission seating is available FREE of charge for this performance thanks to the generous support of the Florida Humanities Council and our sponsor, Marine Bank & Trust.

 


Nov. 19,2015, 7pm
Bill Jamerson
Dollar a Day Boys: A Musical Tribute to the Civilian Conservation Corps

 

 

Historian/songwriter Jamerson tells stories about Florida’s Civilian Conservation Corps boys, using photos, video and memorabilia. From 1933 to 1942, the CCC public relief program provided work and dollar-a-day income for unemployed, unmarried men from relief families. Jamerson will bring this often-overlooked period to life once again with heartfelt stories and hilarious tales from that era.
 

General admission seating is available FREE of charge for this performance thanks to the generous support of the Florida Humanities Council and our sponsor, Marine Bank & Trust.

 

 


December 10, 2015, 7pm
Avenue D Choir
A Joyful Holiday Concert

Back by popular demand!

 

The excitement, discipline and joy of making music together brought success and applause for a group of young St. Lucie County musicians. Choices were made not only to sing but to live a better life. Now including girls, and with many former members off to college, the choir will bring holiday music to entertain. Choir director Mary Hendricks recently celebrated ten years of leading the Avenue D young people.
 

BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND!
 

Holiday refreshments will be served following the presentation.
 

General admission seating is available FREE of charge for this performance thanks to the generous support of the Florida Humanities Council and our sponsor, Marine Bank & Trust.


 

 


January 21, 2016, 7pm
Tom Berson, Ph.D.
The History and
Significance of Florida Springs

 

Dr. Tom Berson will describe the numerous valuable natural springs in Florida that brought tourists here before Disney. The springs attracted travelers into a wild and enchanting Florida interior, including Weeki Wachee, the deepest naturally formed spring in the United States.

Berson received his doctorate from the University of Florida, where he wrote his dissertation on the history of Silver Springs and the north Florida interior. A former health and science journalist, he also has an M.A. from Florida State University in American and Florida Studies. He has taught Florida and Environmental history classes at Stetson University and currently teaches American History at Santa Fe College. Coincidentally, his academic adviser was Jack Davis, who will speak here on April 14.

Florida’s springs are not only unique in their size and number, they are also emblematic of a forgotten Florida, a mysterious frontier that once stirred the national imagination. Before Disney or even the growth of coastal resorts attracted visitors to Florida, travelers ventured in droves into the wild and enchanting Florida interior to visit the springs. This talk examines how springs were—and still are—symbolic representations of natural Florida, and how they continue to stand at the critical and fragile intersection with growth and development.

 

General admission seating is available FREE of charge for this performance thanks to the generous support of the Florida Humanities Council and our sponsor, Marine Bank & Trust.


 

 


February 18, 2016, 7pm
Craig Pittman
How Florida Contracted
Manatee Insanity

 

Ever since 1893, when Florida passed its very first law protecting manatees, these ungainly marine mammals have been casting their spell over the people of this state.

Author and environmental journalist Craig Pittman traces the history of how manatees wound up on the endangered species list and why they remain there today, a story that features such characters as Jacques Cousteau and Jimmy Buffett.

Tampa Bay Times reporter Craig Pittman is a native Floridian. He graduated from Troy State University in Alabama, where his muckraking work for the student paper prompted an agitated dean to label him "the most destructive force on campus." Since then he has covered a variety of newspaper beats and quite a few natural disasters, including hurricanes, wildfires and the Florida Legislature.

Since 1998 he has reported on environmental issues for the Times. He is a four-time winner of the Waldo Proffitt Award for Distinguished Environmental Journalism in Florida and a series of stories on Florida's vanishing wetlands that he wrote with Matthew Waite won the top investigative reporting award in both 2006 and 2007 from the Society of Environmental Journalists. He is the author of three books: "The Scent of Scandal: Greed, Betrayal, and the World's Most Beautiful Orchid" (2012); "Manatee Insanity: Inside the War Over Florida's Most Famous Endangered Species," (2010); and, co-written with Waite, "Paving Paradise: Florida's Vanishing Wetlands and the Failure of No Net Loss," (2009), all published by the University Press of Florida. He lives in St. Petersburg with his wife and two children.
 

General admission seating is available FREE of charge for this performance thanks to the generous support of the Florida Humanities Council and our sponsor, Marine Bank & Trust.

 

 


March 10, 2016, 7pm
Michael Francis, Ph.D.
La Florida Before Jamestown
 

 

This presentation explores the early history of European settlement efforts in Florida. It recounts the remarkably rich, yet much neglected history of colonization in the US southeast in the 16th century, a process that began almost a century before Jamestown. This presentation will give the audience an excellent background to understand our rich Spanish history.

One of the country’s leading experts on the history of the Spanish colonial experience in Florida, Dr. J. Michael Francis, participates in the highly regarded Florida Studies Program at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg.

Formerly professor and chairman of the History Department at the University of North Florida, Dr. Francis, who received his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge, holds the Hough Family Endowed Chair in Florida Studies at the USF.


 

General admission seating is available FREE of charge for this performance thanks to the generous support of the Florida Humanities Council and our sponsor, Marine Bank & Trust.

 

 


April 14, 2016, 7pm
Jack Davis, Ph.D.
Paradise Lost: Reflections on Florida’s Environmental
History

 

University of Florida environmental historian Dr. Jack Davis discusses the natural side of the human saga in Florida’s history, from the early artists and writers who discovered a paradise place to the doomed landscape for which they feared and to the modern-day challenges to restore that which has been lost.

 

Dr. Jack E. Davis is a professor of environmental history and sustainable studies at the University of Florida. He is the author or editor of several books on Florida and is a frequent contributor to Forum. His latest book, An Everglades Providence: Marjory Stoneman Douglas and the American Environmental Century, won the gold medal in nonfiction from the Florida book awards. He is now writing Gulf: The Making of an American Sea, an environmental history of the U.S. Gulf region from geological formation to the present. The book builds on an article he wrote for Forum, which was the recipient of two Charlie Awards.


 

General admission seating is available FREE of charge for this performance thanks to the generous support of the Florida Humanities Council and our sponsor, Marine Bank & Trust.

 

 


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