april, 2021

wed21apr11:00 AM12:00 PMOutdoor Event: Adult Backyard Book Club - Travels on the St. Johns River / John and William BartramEvent held offsite at Alpine Groves Park11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Event Details

REGISTRATION REQUIRED. Join Amy, a librarian, and AyoLane, a naturalist, for an outdoor book club that focuses on our natural world. We’ll discuss our all-time favorite nature titles, both fiction and non-fiction. The book club will meet at parks throughout St. Johns County, practically in your own backyard!

The St. Johns County Library System has partnered with the St. Johns County Cultural Council to celebrate St. Johns County’s Bicentennial.  The Cultural Council received a grant for all sorts of fun programs with the library throughout 2021, and one of the things they’re funding is our April Backyard Book Club, where they are giving the first 20 people to sign up a FREE copy of “Travels on the St. Johns River,” by John and William Bartram, edited by Thomas Hallock and Richard Franz. We will be meeting at Alpine Groves Park on Wednesday, April 21st (the day after William Bartram’s birthday!) right on the very St. Johns River we’ll be discussing. Registration is limited due to social distancing, so we will hold two back-to-back book club meetings (9:30 am or 11:00 am) to accommodate everyone.

In 1765 father and son naturalists John and William Bartram explored the St. Johns River Valley in Florida, a newly designated British territory and subtropical wonderland. They collected specimens and recorded extensive observations of the plants, animals, geography, ecology, and native cultures of an essentially uncharted region. The chronicle of their adventures provided the world with an intimate look at La Florida. Travels on the St. Johns River includes writings from the Bartrams’ journey in a flat-bottomed boat from St. Augustine to the river’s swampy headwaters near Lake Loughman, just west of today’s Cape Canaveral. Vivid entries from John’s Diary detail which tribes lived where and what vegetation overtook the river’s slow current. He describes the crisp, cold spring waters tasting like a gun barrel. Excerpts from William’s narrative, written a decade later when he tried to make a home in East Florida, contemplate the environment and the river that would come to be regarded as the liquid heart of his celebrated Travels . A selection of personal letters reveal John’s misgivings about his son’s decision to become a planter in an inhospitable pine barren with little more than a hovel as shelter, but they also speak to William’s belated sense of accomplishment for traveling past his father’s footsteps. Editors Thomas Hallock and Richard Franz provide valuable commentary and a modern record of the flora and fauna the Bartrams encountered. Taken together, the firsthand accounts and editorial notes help us see the land through the explorers’ eyes and witness the many environmental changes the centuries have wrought.

This event is free and open to the public, but for social distancing purposes, registration is required.  If the weather is sunny, please bring your own camp chair for sitting out under the trees.  If it’s rainy, we’ll be sitting in the park pavilion.  Masks are encouraged, social distancing is required. Feel free to bring your own beverages!  Questions?  Please call Amy at 904.827.6942 or email at aackerman@sjcfl.us.


(Wednesday) 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM