On Sunday, October 23rd, the St. Johns Riverkeeper held its inaugural Black Creek Eco-Fest. The event focused on the ecology and history of Black Creek and the St. Johns River with family activities, educational presentations, hands-on experiences, and most importantly, the heritage of William Bartram who, in 1766, navigated Black Creek during his father’s exploratory expedition up the St. Johns River. The Bartram Trail Society of Florida contributed to the event with displays by Society members Robert Wilson who portrayed the trader Job Wiggins, Mike Adams who portrayed Billy Bartram, and Sam Carr who ably portrayed the president of the Society. Members Dean Campbell and Kalia Baillene also chipped in to greet visitors and share information about the Society. Participating in these events is always a fun and educational experience even for the members who man the displays. Both Mike and Robert are a wealth of information and it is a real pleasure to watch them in action.
Attendance at the event was light by most standards but there was a steady stream of visitors of all ages. Needless to say, Billy Bartram and Job Wiggins, with their attractive displays of dead animals (ok; furs, deer hides, gator heads and tortoise shells and bones) interesting plants and vintage trade goods, were the major attraction and ensured that every visitor at the event spent time in front of the Society’s displays. There was little respite for the reenactors who regaled children and parents with tales of Bartram’s Travels and of frontier life in 18th century Florida. We were all impressed with the level of engagement and interest displayed by those who chose the Eco-Fest over the Air Show taking place only a few miles north.
Those who wish to staff the Society display at future events are encouraged to contact Sam Carr. There are a number of events already planned for the next few months where the Society will participate. Check out the Society’s Events Page on our web site for dates and details.