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Web Documentary Explores The St. Johns
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An in-depth, educational web documentary about Florida's St. Johns River was launched on Thursday, August 11th to help educate state residents about the 310-mile river system, threats to its watershed and efforts to protect the historic river.
The web production, http://www.TheRiverReturns.org, takes site visitors on a photo-documentary journey to learn about scientists monitoring the river's health, river-side farmers growing crops that require less fertilizer, citizens promoting landscaping with native plants, and even a biologist monitoring a lone whooping crane that has taken up residence in the St. Johns River's headwaters. The site also includes multi-media stories introducing people like Adam Delaney, a bass fishing guide who helps others catch the river's legendary largemouth bass, and Wayne Hartley, a park ranger who has been monitoring manatees at Blue Spring State Park for 25 years.
TheRiverReturns.org, is a companion to the High Definition television documentary "Water's Journey: The River Returns," which will be released nationally later this year through Jacksonville public television station WJCT and the National Educational Telecommunications Association. The television documentary is part of the award-winning "Water's Journey" series directed by Wes Skiles of Karst Productions based in High Springs, Florida.
Other features at TheRiverReturns.org include an interactive "History of the St. Johns River" and the "Florida-Friendly Farm," an illustrated, animation that explains the environmental benefits of implementing agricultural Best Management Practices, methods used to conserve water and minimize runoff of fertilizers and pesticides into the river.
The longest river in Florida, the St. Johns begins in a flat marsh west of Vero Beach and then meanders slowly northward on its way toward Jacksonville. The river's watershed includes all or parts of 16 counties in central and northeastern Florida. One of 14 American Heritage Rivers in the U.S., the St. Johns natural beauty attracted the likes of botanist John Bartram and naturalist and artist James Audubon and served as inspiration for literary works of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (Cross Creek and the Yearling) and Harriet Beecher Stowe (Uncle Tom's Cabin). Today, like many major rivers in the U.S., development pressures, polluted stormwater runoff, discharge from industrial and power facilities and wastewater treatment plants heavily impact the St. Johns.
Fusionspark Media Inc. produced TheRiverReturns.org in collaboration with Karst Productions Inc. Based in Clinton, Wa., FSM first worked with Karst Productions and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to create the web production "Florida's Springs: Protecting Nature's Gems" at http://www.FloridaSprings.org, a companion to "Water's Journey: The Hidden Rivers of Florida."
TheRiverReturns.org film and web documentaries were produced with support from the St. Johns River Water Management District, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Department of Education.
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