Studio@620 The Studio@620

Natural Florida : In Word, Image, and Deed

Presented by Florida Defenders of the Environment

Florida Defenders of the Environment (FDE) will hold the latest in a series of “Natural Florida” environmental education programs on Tuesday April 28th at The Studio@620.  The Natural Florida program is being held in conjunction with the release of FDE’s CD Natural Florida: In Word, Image and Deed and is free and open to the public.  The CD explores how artists, painters, photographers, musicians and writers have represented natural Florida.  Appearing will be Stephen Robitaille, and singer/songwriters Cathy DeWitt and Janet Rucker. Also appearing at the event will be painter Eleanor Blair, poet Lola Haskins and speaker David White of the Ocean Conservancy.


Stephen Robitaille, Ph.D., Program Director

Stephen Robitaille earned four regional Emmys for his “Expedition Florida” film series developed in collaboration with the Florida Museum of Natural History. He has also produced films on noted authors Allen Ginsberg (“Spontaneous Mind,”  WUFT, 1985), May Sarton and Richard Eberhart. The Marjorie Rawlings segment for “The Wild Alachua” installment of the series was his first film exploration of Rawlings Country. Robitaille has been producing public television documentaries since 1981  (“Seven Ways to Kill the Suwannee”) and has interviewed some of the nation’s most acclaimed scientists and artists, including poets Allen Ginsberg, May Sarton, novelists Peter Matthiessen, Carl Hiaasen, and others. He is a four-time recipient of the DCA Media Arts Fellowship.


Cathy DeWitt and Janet Rucker

Cathy DeWitt and Janey Rucker and members of the musical group Patchwork. Blending the old with the new, Patchwork uses an acoustic string band format to play original Florida folk, old-time traditional music, bluegrass, forties swing, and rhythm & blues, all with vocal harmonies.  Cathy DeWitt has written two award-winning Florida songs, “Gamble’s Song: the Waves Roll In” for the Gamble Rogers Festival, and “My Heart Belongs to Florida,” for the 2005 Best New Florida Song contest, while her song “Everybody’s Somebody’s Child” was a Jazz category winner in Unisong’s 2006 International Songwriting Contest. Dewitt was also the music editor for the Natural Florida CD.  Janet Rucker, leader of a country band during the 80’s, is an singer and songwriter, whose song “Florida Home” was a winner in the Will McLean Foundation’s Best New Florida Song several years ago.


Eleanor Blair

Eleanor Blair graduated from The Cooper Union of the Advancement of Science and Art in New York City in 1969. She moved to Gainesville in 1971 and has been painting Central Florida scenes since that time. She is a well-known member of the art community in Gainesville, exhibiting in local shows and volunteering in the Arts In Medicine program at Shands AGH. Blair paints in oil on canvas. Her work combines visual accuracy with painterly brush work and rich color. Florida landscape is her primary subject, but her portraits, still life, interiors and architectural studies demonstrate her fine craftsmanship and sense of light.


Lola Haskins, Poet

In addition to books of poetry, Ms. Haskins has published environmental writing, introducing a book of photographs, Visions of Florida, and interpreting the Florida environment in Wild Heart of Florida.  She has also recently completed Wind, the Grass, and Us, a collection of personal essays, beginning in Florida's state parks, and is working on a book spotlighting interesting Florida cemeteries to be published by the University Press of Florida. Other projects include a new poetry collection and a play. 


David White, Ocean Conservancy Regional Director

David White advocates for expanded use of marine zoning and ecosystem-based management in Florida, the Southeast Atlantic, and the Gulf of Mexico, with the goal of conserving fish populations and important marine ecosystems such as coral reefs, fish spawning areas, and nearshore coastal habitats. David helped Ocean Conservancy achieve a major success in creating the largest fully protected marine ecological reserve in North America in the Dry Tortugas, 70 miles west of Key West, Florida. David will continue to raise public awareness and build public support for marine zoning and the use of a full spectrum of marine protected areas to restore and protect healthy ocean ecosystems. David's background is in wildlife ecology and environmental law. He is based in the South Atlantic regional office in St. Petersburg, Florida.

This event is funded in part by The Florida Humanities Council and The Martin Foundation.

Patron Sponsors

Smith & Associates Realtors
Al May Central Art Supply Company Bank of AmericaBella Brava City of St. Petersburg Creative Loafing Eckerd CollegeHermanHOME Florida Humanities Council i love the 'burg Gobioff Foundation Florida Arts and Culture - Florida Division  of Cultural Affairs Kahwa Coffee Roasting Law Offices of  Diane Bailey, P.C.Progress Energy Renaissance Vinoy Hotel Rouson & Associates Sembler Company Stetson University College of Law St. Pete Brasserie St Petersburg/Clearwater  Convention and Visitor’s Bureau St. Petersburg Times SunTrust Bank TradeWinds Island Resorts on St. Pete Beach Trust for Public Land Tyrone Frame & Mirror USF St. Petersburg Watermark