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Palm Beach County’s only state park kicks off Speaker Series this month

October 6, 2011

By Amy Woods:

Bailey

Palm Beach County Judge Nelson E. Bailey will kick off the Friends of MacArthur Beach State Park's Speaker Series. (Photo by Uli Degwert)

A first-of-its-kind Speaker Series will reveal little-known facts about Palm Beach County and its 437-acre crown jewel, John D. MacArthur Beach State Park.

On Oct. 15, County Judge Nelson E. Bailey – an acclaimed “Florida-cracker storyteller” – will wax poetic about the area’s cultural history and agricultural roots. Bailey’s local yarns weave a quilt of colorful heritage and history and include stories about the state’s Native Americans, including the Seminoles, as well as the Spanish explorers and settlers.

On Nov. 12, author, photographer and recently retired University of Florida educator Kathy Cavanaugh Malone will present “ButterflyScaping,” a concept-and-design presentation about butterfly gardening. Malone will cover the basics of shaping and landscaping South Florida homes to create an inviting ecosystem for butterflies.

On Dec. 3, speaker and forensic expert Hector Cruz-Lopez, of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, will speak about “Fisheries Forensics.” Cruz-Lopez has provided support for more than 300 investigative cases since 1998. His expertise includes genetic and morphological identification of wildlife carcasses and animal remains.

“Life in the Mangrove” will be presented on Jan. 14, 2012, by Leni Bane, a former John D. MacArthur Beach State Park ranger. Having led sailing tours in the Bahamas and diving trips in the Cayman Islands, author, educator and world traveler Bane will discusses her book, Life Along the Mangrove Shore. A book-signing will follow.

More than 150,000 visitors cross the park’s quarter-of-a-mile boardwalk annually. Few realize the significance of the ecosystem below. A recent study found that the shallow waters house the most diverse sea-grass community in the Western Hemisphere. On Feb. 11, author, researcher and estuary specialist Tom Chesnes will discuss the significance and probable reasons for the richness of the bay bottom during a presentation titled “Under the Boardwalk: Submerged Biodiversity of the Lake Worth Cove Estuary.”

On March 10, 2012, “The Prehistory of MacArthur Beach State Park: Sun, Surf and Questions?” will be presented by Chris Davenport, one of Palm Beach County’s lead archaeologists. Davenport will discuss the prehistoric resources and inhabitants of the park, interlacing those facts with a regional framework of primordial South Florida.

Bailey’s presentation will begin at 10 a.m. in the park’s amphitheater at 10900 Jack Nicklaus Drive in North Palm Beach. The other Speaker Series events will take place from 11 a.m. to noon in the park’s Pew Family Natural Science Education Center. Cost is $10 for members and $15 for nonmembers. For information, call Janice Kerber at (561) 776-7221, Ext. 104, or send an email to [email protected]

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