Julie Hauserman presents "The Man Who Swam Inside the Planet"
Julie Hauserman, award-winning Florida journalist and author will tell the story of Wes Skiles, a Florida man and National Geographic explorer who became one of the top photographers in the world while working in a place with no natural light – the planet’s aquifers. She will present a striking slide show of photos taken inside Earth and a description of expeditions.
Wes Skiles was an ardent advocate for Florida’s aquifer and its pristine springs. One of his projects took place in Wakulla Springs.
“He did these large expeditions into Wakulla Springs,” Hauserman said. “There are pictures of a habitat suspended in the springs that they built suspended to use for decompression. (The dive team) would go 300 feet below the lodge (where there’s a ‘ballroom’ big enough to put a 747), and decompression would take hours in the cold water, so they built this habitat.
“These inner planetary explorers are as valuable as our space explorers. I hope that sharing Wes’ story with Florida and with the world will let people know what a remarkable contribution he made. He was such a special, brave and committed person, and with (Florida’s springs) in danger, he would have wanted this book to be used to educate people, because that’s what he was all about.” (Tallahassee Democrat, Sept 20, 2018)
About the Book:
Drawn to the Deep, the Remarkable Underwater Explorations of Wes Skiles (University Press of Florida 2018) celebrates the life of an extraordinary adventurer who braved extreme danger to share the hidden beauty and environmental truths of the planet with others. Skiles felt a pull to the water as a child, captivated by the cobalt springs of Florida. This book is the inspiring story of Skiles as an explorer and activist who uncovered environmental abuses, advanced the field of underwater photography, and astonished the world with unprecedented views of the secret depths of the planet.
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About the Author:
Julie Hauserman has been writing about Florida’s environment and politics for over three decades. Her book, Drawn to the Deep: The Remarkable Underwater Explorations of Wes Skiles, won a 2019 National Outdoors Book Award for biography.
She has twice been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, once for her stories about pollution in Florida’s Fenholloway River, and once for her stories about arsenic leaking out of pressure-treated lumber all over America. She won the Scripps Howard National Journalism Awards’ top environmental prize for her work on the arsenic stories. Hauserman was a Capitol bureau reporter for the St. Petersburg Times in Tallahassee and has been a commentator for National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition-Sunday and Minnesota Public Radio’s The Splendid Table. Her essays are featured in several Florida anthologies, including The Wild Heart of Florida, The Book of the Everglades, and Between Two Rivers. She lives in Tallahass
Funding for this program was provided through a grant from the Florida Humanities with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program, do not necessarily represent those of Florida Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.