Jason Sandy and Nick Stevens

Jason Sandy and Nick Stevens


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The Florentines: From Dante to Galileo, Paul Strathern, Atlantic Books, 2021, 372p, £20-00. ISBN 9781786498724. Very occasionally we are offered an entirely new perspective on a body of detail with which we already seem entirely familiar but which has the effect of transforming our understanding. Paul Strathern&rsquos The Florentines: From.

Plague, Pestilence and Pandemic: Voices from History, [ed] Peter Furtado, Thames and Hudson, 2021, 335p, £20-00. ISBN 978-0-500-25258-1. This book is very timely in its arrival. Peter Furtado, the former Editor of History Today, has provided us with two approaches to the issue of Plague, Pestilence and Pandemic. In the.


Mudlarking: Discovering London’s History along the River Thames

For over 2,000 years, the River Thames has been a repository of lost objects which have been accidentally dropped or purposely discarded in its waters. Mudlarks Nick Stevens and Jason Sandy have discovered and recovered many historically significant artefacts which have been featured in books, magazines, newspapers and on television. Some of their finds are even on permanent display in museums. Each object reveals a unique and different story about London’s illustrious, rich history.

Nick and Jason are members of exclusive Society of Thames Mudlarks and are Trustees of the Thames Museum Trust. Over the past few years, Nick and Jason have published monthly feature articles for various magazines in the UK and USA, documenting the extraordinary artefacts discovered by mudlarks in the Thames. Join Jason and Nick upstairs at the Bargehouse, where they will share some of the fascinating backstories behind the incredible artefacts they have recovered from the River Thames.


Thames Mudlarking: Searching for London's Lost Treasures

Mudlarking and London’s past and present. There is an unbreakable bond between the great metropolis and the mudlarkers who bring the treasures of bygone eras to light. From the children ‘’mudlarks’’ of the Victorian era to the ‘’explorers’’ of our times, mudlarking is a journey in time.

Pre-historic beasts, votive offerings and coins, jewellery, remnants of the Roman times and the Viking threat. The traces of Britain following William the Conq ‘’Without the River Thames, London would not exist.’’

Mudlarking and London’s past and present. There is an unbreakable bond between the great metropolis and the mudlarkers who bring the treasures of bygone eras to light. From the children ‘’mudlarks’’ of the Victorian era to the ‘’explorers’’ of our times, mudlarking is a journey in time.

Pre-historic beasts, votive offerings and coins, jewellery, remnants of the Roman times and the Viking threat. The traces of Britain following William the Conqueror, the might of the Church, the nightmare of the Black Death. Marvellous pilgrims’ badges depicting St George and the Dragon, toy knights made of pewter.

The wealth and witchcraft obsession of the 16th and 17th century are demonstrated by beautiful artefacts, reminding us of the era of great discoveries and even greater crimes. Toys lost by the children who played by the river banks. Memento Mori rings dedicated to the ones who perished during the Great Fire. Love tokens. Beautiful Venetian glass beads. And pins. Let us not forget pins, such fascinating objects!

A prisoner’s ball and chain originating from the floating prisons of the 18th century. The skull of a 12-year-old girl, dating back to the 1700s, was discovered in 2009. A victim of poverty and hunger. How bitterly ironic, standing side-by-side to golden shoe buckles and valuable cufflinks…

Market tokens dating back to the 19th century. Beautiful green glass medicine bottles. Ornate clay pipes. Lead toys and ‘’’Frozen Charlotte’’ dolls. Victorian Santa Claus figures and snow babies. Artillery shells from the two World Wars. Service buttons and Tommy helmets. Fascinating modern-day rings that declare carelessness, frustration, anger.

A fascinating book that offers us a generous glimpse of a turbulent and exciting past…

‘’London owes its very existence to the majestic Thames, and the city’s history is intimately interwoven with the river. It is simply not possible to understand London without first understanding the river and all of its quirks and foibles.’’
Adrian Evans, founder of the Thames Festival Trust

Many thanks to Osprey Publishing and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The Society of Thames Mudlarks & Antiquarians (what a wonderful name!) was founded in 1980. Members, who need a special permit to search the mudflats, have donated many thousands of items to the Museum of London and some of them illustrate this interesting book. They range from a megalodon tooth, to 17th century lead seals from the Company of Royal Adventurers Trading to Africa, to medals and other memorabilia from both world wars. The format is a chronological potted history of London, written The Society of Thames Mudlarks & Antiquarians (what a wonderful name!) was founded in 1980. Members, who need a special permit to search the mudflats, have donated many thousands of items to the Museum of London and some of them illustrate this interesting book. They range from a megalodon tooth, to 17th century lead seals from the Company of Royal Adventurers Trading to Africa, to medals and other memorabilia from both world wars. The format is a chronological potted history of London, written in very simple language so that I wondered if it’s aimed more at children than adults. The photography is excellent and the range of objects fascinating. I can imagine buying this as a reminder of a visit to the museum.

With thanks to Osprey Publishing and NetGalley for a review copy. . more

Originally posted on my blog: Nonstop Reader.

Thames Mudlarking is a fascinating look at the a niche modern archaeology obsession, searching for lost and abandoned treasures presented by Jason Sandy & Nick Stevens. Due out 18th May 2021 from Bloomsbury on their Shire imprint, it&aposs 96 pages and will be available in paperback and ebook formats (ebook available now).

I was captivated at a very early age by stories of treasure. I grew up in an area of the USA which provided a wealth of hunting op Originally posted on my blog: Nonstop Reader.

Thames Mudlarking is a fascinating look at the a niche modern archaeology obsession, searching for lost and abandoned treasures presented by Jason Sandy & Nick Stevens. Due out 18th May 2021 from Bloomsbury on their Shire imprint, it's 96 pages and will be available in paperback and ebook formats (ebook available now).

I was captivated at a very early age by stories of treasure. I grew up in an area of the USA which provided a wealth of hunting opportunities for indigenous artifacts after every summer storm. In fact I *still* have a carefully grooved, shaped, and well used stone hammer which is thousands of years old on my bookshelf. I'm fascinated by the people who lived and valued these objects and lost them or possibly tossed them into rivers to be found by people not-yet-dreamt-of to find and treasure.

This book resonated on a visceral level with me. I loved seeing every one of the pictures and reading the accompanying stories. The introduction (who, what, where, how, and not least *why*), is followed by thematic chapters elucidating different time periods, uses, and classes of items, from fossils to ceremonial items, votives and offerings, coins and, well, pretty much anything in between which might've been dumped or lost into the Thames throughout time.

The book is illustrated throughout with photos from the authors' personal collections as well as stock photos. There are an amazing variety of items both precious and utterly mundane. Some of the ones which really touched me were the toys, lost or abandoned throughout time. I was reminded of my own experience as a child losing a beloved toy over the side of a ferry, lost forevermore.

This is emphatically *not* a how-to guide, although enough information is provided on how to contact The Society of Thames Mudlarks & Antiquarians (and presumably they can point enthusiastic would-be mudlarks toward the proper licenses and permits and safety instructions). The authors have included a short list of resources for further reading and information as well as an abbreviated index.

This would make a superlative selection for library or classroom acquisition, or for fans of archaeology and history.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes. . more

Buried treasuring spanning thousands of years is found daily on the River Thames in London by those mudlarkers who sift through the layers which constantly change with the tide. Two hours&apos searching per day is the small window of opportunity but what a productive and satisfying window it can be! The photographs of the discoveries are sublime. it would be a dream come true for so many of us to find even one historically or culturally important object.

So much action occurred hundreds and thousand Buried treasuring spanning thousands of years is found daily on the River Thames in London by those mudlarkers who sift through the layers which constantly change with the tide. Two hours' searching per day is the small window of opportunity but what a productive and satisfying window it can be! The photographs of the discoveries are sublime. it would be a dream come true for so many of us to find even one historically or culturally important object.

So much action occurred hundreds and thousands of years ago in ports and the main method of transport was obviously boats and ships. Discoveries centuries later teach us a lot about history, archaeology and culture and wow, this book is a superb account! Thankfully the Museum of London displays finds. Discoveries of anything 300+ years old must be reported and mudlarkers require permits. The authors, mudlarkers themselves, include photographs of skull fragments, flints, Battersea shield (gorgeous!), rare Celtic coins, the Oldbury bead (fascinating!), Roman brooches, Emperor Hadrian coins, fish traps, sword pommel, military toys and ancient floor tiles, Not only are we shown these artefacts but are told stories including about memento rings tossed into the river by jilted lovers, currency, drinking from bearded stoneware jugs and smashing them after, the pins Tudor women wore to fasten clothes in place, evidence of rickets on skeletons, ornate shoe buckles and special carbonated drink bottles.

A new Thames Museum will showcase these objects and their history. a marvelous idea. In the back of the book you will also find a list of related places to visit in London. I've been to a few but need to add more to the list. Thank you!

Anyone even remotely interested in treasure hunting and reading about history needs to seek this out. Many a-ha! moments.

My sincere thank you to Osprey Publishing and NetGalley! Much appreciated. . more

Such a fascinating time machine! Absolutely loved the book and recommend getting a physical copy to enjoy the many photographs.

My full review is over on my blog: https://allthebookblognamesaretaken.b. Such a fascinating time machine! Absolutely loved the book and recommend getting a physical copy to enjoy the many photographs.

This short book (90+ pages), is an introduction to mudlarking, a long-lived tradition in London and elsewhere along the Thames river. Mudlarks are people who walk along the foreshore of the river at low tide, looking for items of interest in the mud. Mudlarks were historically poor children looking for things they could sell, like rope and metal, to support themselves. Now, mudlarks are people more interested in the history of their finds than in their monetary value. A permit is required to go This short book (90+ pages), is an introduction to mudlarking, a long-lived tradition in London and elsewhere along the Thames river. Mudlarks are people who walk along the foreshore of the river at low tide, looking for items of interest in the mud. Mudlarks were historically poor children looking for things they could sell, like rope and metal, to support themselves. Now, mudlarks are people more interested in the history of their finds than in their monetary value. A permit is required to go mudlarking, and you are also required to report your finds to local museums.

The book has a short overview of the history of mudlarking, but is mostly focused on past finds, which are organized by era. The photographs are wonderful and I wish there were more of them and that they were bigger. The text briefly describes each era and then some of the more notable finds from that era, each of which is pictured.

I found the chapter titles oddly confusing. For example, "Vanity and Sex," "Opulence and Witchcraft," and "Death and Decadence," make it seem like the finds are divided by theme, rather than era. The author may have been trying to create interest, but these titles are unhelpful. Were vanity and sex only prevalent in Roman London? Death and decadence only in the 18th century? Just to write those sentences, I had to look up in the book which eras they represent because it's not obvious.

Overall, I enjoyed the book, although, as I say, I wish it was more of a coffee table book, with lots of big glossy pictures, as it's doubtful that many of the readers are going to make it to London to see all the finds in person at museums there. The book is rather an odd duck. It feels like a souvenir catalog or "coming attractions" advertisement for the Thames Museum that he mentions will be opening eventually and will be dedicated to the history of the river and will house mudlark finds. He describes the museum's goals and focus in some detail at the end of the book.

I have yet to find the perfect book for me on mudlarking. This isn't quite it, but I do recommend it, especially for people who have never heard of mudlarking.

I received a ARC from Netgalley in exchange for a fair review. . more

Explore the history of thousands of years of life along the Thames through artifacts found on its muddy shores. Documented with photographs & research, this book showcases a wealth of found items & introduces the culture & community of modern day mudlarkers.

•I’d read about mudlarkers in a historical context, so it was exciting to see a book on the history & modern context of treasure hunting along the mud flats banking the Thames! For one, I didn’t know there is an associat 4 stars

Explore the history of thousands of years of life along the Thames through artifacts found on its muddy shores. Documented with photographs & research, this book showcases a wealth of found items & introduces the culture & community of modern day mudlarkers.

•I’d read about mudlarkers in a historical context, so it was exciting to see a book on the history & modern context of treasure hunting along the mud flats banking the Thames! For one, I didn’t know there is an association of mudlarkers & antiquarians, & you have to get a permit to go mudlarking, but it’s neat to know the group exists to protect artifacts & as a community for those invested in the hobby.

•The book establishes why the Thames is such a central part of London (& England’s) history, & how much can be learned from the bits of the past that wash up from it. From pre-historic fossils of flora & fauna, to 20th C. jewelry, this book traces the history of found objects & weaves them all into a story. It’s well written & researched, & I learned a lot.

•The photos are wonderful, showcasing the great variety of artifacts found by mudlarks. There are daily life tools, lost & broken items, & amazing pieces of art left in the water as sacrifices by earlier cultures. The provenance, dating, & context of the items are documented alongside the photographs.

[What I didn’t like as much:]

•Some of the photos are not very large. Since I read this on Kindle I could zoom in on the photos, though.

[I received an ARC ebook copy from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. Thank you for the book!]

This is an ARC review. Many thanks to Osprey Publishing and Netgalley.

I have an enduring fascination with mudlarking. Perhaps it&aposs my Anglophilia or my love of all things historical (paleophilia?), but I&aposm just absolutely entranced by the breadth of artifacts found on the shores of the Father of Rivers - not to mention the mystery of what is left to be found. It was, therefore, a no-brainer that I would go for this book.

I previously read Lara Maiklem&aposs Mudlark and found it thoroughly fascinating This is an ARC review. Many thanks to Osprey Publishing and Netgalley.

I have an enduring fascination with mudlarking. Perhaps it's my Anglophilia or my love of all things historical (paleophilia?), but I'm just absolutely entranced by the breadth of artifacts found on the shores of the Father of Rivers - not to mention the mystery of what is left to be found. It was, therefore, a no-brainer that I would go for this book.

I previously read Lara Maiklem's Mudlark and found it thoroughly fascinating, aside from her propensity for hubris (see my review of that here). Sandy's/Steven's Thames Mudlarking has a different vibe it reads more like a museum booklet (not a bad thing). Sandy and Stevens provide a concise history of the Thames, but mostly look at important individual finds over the years. They mention many notable mudlarks and their contributions to the art, as well as the different historical societies and organizations centered around mudlarking and the preservation of Thames history. Most notably, they write of the in-progress Thames Museum, which will showcase mudlarking finds through the years. I think this book is largely a PR exercise for that Thames Museum, which accounts for its aforementioned "museum booklet" vibe. Again, however, that vibe is not a bad thing - in fact, in many ways it is a strong suit it allows this book to be informative and interesting, while being exceptionally readable and accessible for all ages and backgrounds. My only real complaint with this book is that I wanted it to be about 5x longer!

If you have any interest in British history and mudlarking, I highly recommend you start here and then, if your interest is piqued (and it will be), go on to read Maiklem's book.

If anyone needs me I'll be researching mudlarking permits and eagerly awaiting my next trip to London. . more


Review

A bite-sized and accessible social history with a clear reverence for the mudlarks who have helped to paint a more intimate picture of the city's past. ― Apollo Magazine

Organized chronologically, the book is packed with over 150 color photos of the historical artifacts found by London mudlarks. These objects recovered from the river tell the story of London and its inhabitants over the past 2,000 years, each adding a new perspective to the history of London. It's a beautiful visual history of London, and a fun read. ― Beachcombing Magazine

Thames Mudlarking gives a great insight into the vast range of everyday items that can be recovered from the Thames foreshore. From Stone Age to Victorian, Londoners have lost or discarded a fascinating array of artefacts. Modern day erosion now threatens their survival. The book relates how ordinary people can get 'hands on' with history in the muddy bed of the Thames. ― Ian Smith, Chair of The Society of Thames Mudlarks

"Good things come in small packages," as is often said, and with this book, they certainly do! No 'history lovers' bookshelf should be without it. Veritably crammed with facts and quality illustrations which take the reader through an exciting experience of 'time travel' via artefacts discovered in and alongside one of the most famous cities and rivers in the world. ― Julian Evan-Hart, Editor, Treasure Hunting Magazine

I've stopped searching. this new book is indeed a treasure. Anyone who loves a bit of history, a good story and not afraid to get muddy, this book is for you! ― Jeannine Saba, Editor, The Covent Gardener Magazine

This is a book that informs, inspires and - most importantly -- makes you want to train your eyes to see the treasures that lie below your feet. Reading this book will make you breathless to begin your exploration. It also teaches how to treasure hunt responsibly and reminds that what you find you share. ― Dan Cruickshank

Book Description

About the Author

Originally from the United States, Jason Sandy is an architect and developer who moved to London in 2007. He discovered mudlarking in 2012 and has contributed to many articles and books on mudlarking, as well as lecturing, appearing on national television, and having an active presence on social media.

Based in London, Nick Stevens is a professional photographer and a member of the exclusive Society of Thames Mudlarks. He appeared in all three seasons of History Channel's Mud Men and co-founded the Thames Museum Trust, which aims to establish a museum around mudlarking finds.


Thames Mudlarking: Searching for London's Lost Treasures (Shire Library) Kindle Edition

“Organized chronologically, the book is packed with over 150 color photos of the historical artifacts found by London mudlarks. These objects recovered from the river tell the story of London and its inhabitants over the past 2,000 years, each adding a new perspective to the history of London. It's a beautiful visual history of London, and a fun read.” ―Beachcombing Magazine

Thames Mudlarking gives a great insight into the vast range of everyday items that can be recovered from the Thames foreshore. From Stone Age to Victorian, Londoners have lost or discarded a fascinating array of artefacts. Modern day erosion now threatens their survival. The book relates how ordinary people can get 'hands on' with history in the muddy bed of the Thames.” ―Ian Smith, Chair of The Society of Thames Mudlarks

“"Good things come in small packages," as is often said, and with this book, they certainly do! No 'history lovers' bookshelf should be without it. Veritably crammed with facts and quality illustrations which take the reader through an exciting experience of 'time travel' via artefacts discovered in and alongside one of the most famous cities and rivers in the world.” ―Julian Evan-Hart, Editor, Treasure Hunting Magazine

“I've stopped searching. this new book is indeed a treasure. Anyone who loves a bit of history, a good story and not afraid to get muddy, this book is for you!” ―Jeannine Saba, Editor, The Covent Gardener Magazine

“This is a book that informs, inspires and – most importantly -- makes you want to train your eyes to see the treasures that lie below your feet. Reading this book will make you breathless to begin your exploration. It also teaches how to treasure hunt responsibly and reminds that what you find you share.” ―Dan Cruickshank

--This text refers to the paperback edition.

About the Author

Originally from the United States, Jason Sandy is an architect and developer who moved to London in 2007. He discovered mudlarking in 2012 and has contributed to many articles and books on mudlarking, as well as lecturing, appearing on national television, and having an active presence on social media.

Based in London, Nick Stevens is a professional photographer and a member of the exclusive Society of Thames Mudlarks. He appeared in all three seasons of History Channel's Mud Men and co-founded the Thames Museum Trust, which aims to establish a museum around mudlarking finds.


History Hack historyhack

A daily history podcast attempting to entertain you through the Covid19 pandemic.

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Alex Christofi joins us to talk about the life and world of literary giant Fyodor Dostoevsky


A beautifully illustrated introduction to mudlarking which tells the incredible, forgotten history of London through objects found on the foreshores of the River Thames.

Often seen combing the shoreline of the River Thames at low tide, groups of archaeology enthusiasts known as 'mudlarks' continue a tradition that dates back to the eighteenth century. Over the years they have found a vast array of historical artefacts providing glimpses into the city's past. Objects lost or discarded centuries ago - from ancient river offerings such as the Battersea Shield and Waterloo Helmet, to seventeenth-century trade tokens and even medals for bravery - have been discovered in the river. This book explores a fascinating assortment of finds from prehistoric to modern times, which collectively tell the rich and illustrious story of London and its inhabitants.


A firsthand and photographic look at Florida’s manatees

As a research geologist, I’ve spent the last 16 years studying how humans have impacted our planet. A few years ago, I had an epiphany. Scientists know more today about how humans have messed up the planet than at any other point in history. But fewer people believe humans are impacting our planet than when I headed off to university in the late 1990s.

I think at least part of the modern disconnect between science and public perception is that scientists tell stories using opaque, technical language and graphs. Scientists have the technical background to have emotional reactions to reams of data presented in graphs, much like gaming enthusiasts have the background knowledge that triggers an emotional reaction when the technical specifications of new gaming systems are announced. Scientists and gamers know what those figures portend for the future. The average person doesn’t.

While graphs and data may not be inspiring to everyone, photographs are. There is a reason National Geographic is one of the most recognizable publications in the world. People love pictures. People love pictures because they have emotional reactions to them. And pictures have changed the course of history by helping the average person visualize data.

Lewis Hine’s photographs of children working in American factories in the 1900s sparked early legislation against child labor. Eddie Adams’ photograph of a prisoner being executed on the streets of Saigon and Nick Ut’s picture of a naked girl fleeing a village bombed by napalm fueled the antiwar movement that ended American involvement in the Vietnam War. Kevin Carter’s image of a vulture lurking behind a starving Sudanese child sparked worldwide outrage about famine in Africa, and video of George Floyd’s death in police custody reignited a worldwide Black Lives Matter movement. In each case, there were plenty of data sets showing that children were working in factories, and that war, famine and racism were horrific, but photographs revealed the brutality behind the graphs and triggered the emotional, urgent response needed to spark change.

About two years ago, I decided to use my camera to show how humans were impacting the glaciers, caves and springs that I study.

My foray into environmental photography was accelerated by the ongoing pandemic. Travel restrictions shut down all my field research, and so I turned my camera on one of my favorite local research subjects: Florida’s springs.

Florida has more than 1,000 known freshwater springs, one of the densest concentrations in the world. For centuries, visitors have flocked to marvel at the billions of gallons of cool, clear water that gush out of the porous limestone aquifer. First used as water sources by indigenous Americans, the springs were visited by Spanish explorers searching for the fabled Fountain of Youth in the 1500s and became some of the state’s first tourist attractions during the 1800s.

Over the last several decades, a combination of development, climate change, overpumping of the aquifer and pollution from agriculture and sewage has erased much of Florida’s pristine underwater spring landscape. Groundwater pumping to feed the agricultural, development and water bottling industries has reduced water flow. Other springs have stopped flowing entirely. Simultaneously, pollution from farm fertilizers, confined animal feeding operations, leaking septic tanks and poorly maintained wastewater treatment facilities have flooded springs with excess nutrients, fueling algae blooms. The white, sandy bottoms and waving thickets of eelgrass featured in films from the 1940s and 1950s have been replaced by thick mats of green, hairy algae. Without eelgrass, the foundation of healthy springs, ecosystems are collapsing.

I decided to photograph the issues surrounding the declining health of the springs as part of a self-funded public education and outreach plan. I first started publishing on Instagram and later pitched stories to newspapers and magazines. I chartered helicopters to photograph sewage lagoons at sprawling dairy farms and agricultural areas that are drivers of nutrient pollution. I dived to document the thick blankets of algae choking out native vegetation. I photographed river water flowing into underwater caves in response to declining water levels in the aquifer. I also eventually had to photograph manatees because of their connection to springs.

Manatees depend on springs for survival. Because they lack the insulating blubber of marine mammals like whales and seals, manatees cannot survive for extended periods of time in water colder than about 68 degrees. Cold stress can be fatal. Florida’s springs discharge groundwater with a constant temperature of more than 70 degrees and, at least historically, had abundant eelgrass for manatees to eat.

I needed one good manatee image to show the importance of springs to Florida’s most iconic animal. I’m not much of a wildlife photographer, and manatees never seemed very interesting to me. I had only seen them in photos, where they were always depicted as lumbering, so-ugly-they’re-cute creatures that just bobbed around in the water.

I expected to spend one intensely boring day photographing manatees and then move on with more exciting aspects of my project, like photographing underwater caves. What I quickly discovered, however, was that I was wrong about manatees. They weren’t boring. Observed in clear water, they can be playful, social and graceful swimmers. I ended up spending up to five hours a day over the next four days quietly observing and photographing manatees at rest and at play. Those four days inspired me to continue photographing manatees as part of a long-term project.

About 90 percent of the recipe for making a successful photograph can be summed up as: Be there with a camera. While springs are warm for manatees, they’re freezing for humans. Wearing my drysuit with thick layers of insulating undergarments allowed me to spend all day lying motionless in cold water, where I would wait for something interesting to happen. Unlike land-based photography, telephoto lenses don’t work well underwater. Particulate in even clear water obscures subjects and water eats light. Underwater photography is all about minimizing the distance between the photographer and the subject. With manatees, that meant sitting around waiting for one to swim near, as federal law prohibits chasing or approaching them.

Manatees are a rare, but tentative, conservation success story. More than a century of hunting (manatees were once a popular source of food for Native Americans and early Floridians), watercraft collisions, entanglement in fishing gear and habitat loss decimated Florida’s manatee populations, and the slow-moving mammals became one of the original 78 species protected by the Endangered Species Conservation Act in 1966. When systematic aerial surveys began in 1991, Florida’s manatee population only numbered 1,267. A combination of legal protection, habitat protection, public education and changes to fishing and boating practices allowed manatee populations to rebound, and in 2017 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service controversially changed the status of the Florida manatee from endangered to threatened, removing many federal protections for the species.

A surge in manatee fatalities underway this year underscores that survival as a species is anything but certain. As of April 9, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has reported 649 manatee deaths in 2021. Many of these deaths are concentrated in Indian River Lagoon, where development-fueled pollution has triggered algae blooms that have killed off the seagrass beds manatees relied on for food sources. With nothing to eat, manatees are reportedly starving to death. I spent a few days in March photographing in Indian River Lagoon. Bodies of manatees, towed to remote beaches for field exams by biologists, were decomposing in shallow water and on remote beaches around Merritt Island. Vultures filled the trees and the stench was horrific.

The die-off made international news, but most images that ran with the story were stock or file images of healthy, happy manatees. Budget cuts have shuttered many community newspapers and gutted the newsrooms of many remaining. Photo desks have been hard hit, and many papers have replaced professional photographers by telling writers to snap photos with mobile phones. As a result, fewer images of tragedies like this one are being photographed and published.

As I continue to work to get my photographs published in traditional media outlets, I also use Instagram as a platform to inform people about Florida’s looming environmental problems and the work of scientists, veterinarians, biologists and volunteers who are trying to solve them.


Watch the video: History Hack Episode #346: Mudlarking on the Thames


Comments:

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