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Environmental Center Night: “Drawn to the Deep” Book Signing

December 5, 2018 @ 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Join us for a special presentation on the “Remarkable Underwater Explorations of Wes Skiles” with Julie Hauserman, author of Skiles’ biography, “Drawn to the Deep“. During the evening, Hauserman will talk about her experiences getting to know Wes, before and after his passing, and insider stories about his life and the writing of her newly released book. Skiles’ biography reaches far beyond his time spent exploring and mapping Florida springs and the Floridan Aquifer but his work was vital to what we do and helped pave the way for cave diving, spring research, and spring conservation in the state of Florida. The Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute and North Florida Springs Environmental Center are honored to host this event in Wes’ hometown of High Springs, FL in the company of book author, Julie Hauserman, and Wes’ daughter – our very own Media Director, Tessa Skiles!
This event is free and open to the public. If you plan on attending please RSVP below. 

Meet the Author

book REVIEWS and publications

Publications: The Florida Bookshelf: Wes Skiles and the Fight for Florida’s Springs

Reviews: “As a teenager, Wes Skiles (1958–2010) began cave diving at Florida’s Ginnie Springs just for fun, and this after-school obsession eventually became his vocation. Cave diving led to his becoming an underwater photographer, a director of environmental films, and an explorer of some of the world’s most hidden places. Over the course of his 25-year career, he was filmed under a gigantic iceberg near Antarctica, escaped shark attacks in South Africa, campaigned to protect Florida’s aquifers from agricultural and industrial pollution, and became the first person to explore hundreds of miles of karst rock caves. Quoting Skiles’ friends and his own writings, biographer Hauserman portrays him as a likable family man driven by his love of diving, and she recounts many of his fantastic, often dangerous adventures. In addition to meeting a compelling character, readers learn about the cutting-edge work of cave divers, oceanographers, and environmental scientists against a backdrop of government regulatory inaction. Viewers of National Geographic, Discovery Channel, and PBS Nature shows will especially enjoy this book.” ― Rick Roche

Journalist Hauserman does justice to the remarkable life of an explorer dubbed ‘Florida’s Jacques Cousteau.’ Wes Skiles died in a diving accident at age 52 in 2010, cutting short an impressive career that brought underwater discoveries to a wide audience. His pioneering underwater photography―which yielded breathtaking images of such natural wonders as blue holes, ‘stalactite-filled underwater Bahama caves’―was featured in National Geographic and on the Discovery Channel. Skiles’s addiction to risk resulted in experiences straight out of thrillers: fighting off a great white that had broken into his shark cage, narrowly escaping a collapse in an Australian cave system, and being the first person to walk on the largest iceberg in Antarctica. Perhaps his most lasting legacy is a PBS documentary series, Water’s Journey: Hidden Rivers, which showed the path drinking water takes en route to the tap and the impact of pollution on groundwater. Hauserman doesn’t overstate Skiles’s impact on public policy, noting that Florida’s government still allows companies to pollute the state’s aquifers. But despite that, Hauserman, who knew her subject personally, more than makes the case that Skiles’s innovation and daring added significantly to the understanding of a variety of aquatic worlds, and to the human impact on them.” ― Publishers Weekly

“It’s easy to believe that humans evolved from the sea when you meet Wes Skiles. He was more at home underwater than above. Hold your breath as you read Julie Hauserman’s wonderful tale of a most unusual man. And remember, this tale is true.” ― Bill Kurtis, announcer, Wait Wait . . . Don’t Tell Me!

“In this beautifully written, funny, moving biography, Hauserman takes readers on Wes Skiles’s extraordinary adventures under the water and on terra firma as he fought to document and save the wild places he loved. This is a magical book about a man who lived every day loving his art, his family, and the blue ball of planet Earth.” ― Diane Roberts, author of Dream State: Eight Generations of Swamp Lawyers, Conquistadors, Confederate Daughters, Banana Republicans, and Other Florida Wildlife

“Wes Skiles’s photos and films are an inspiration to all of those who love nature―especially Florida’s hidden watery world. People of his passion and determination are, and always have been, a rare breed. Hauserman has successfully captured the essence of Skiles in this long-awaited biography.” ― Michael Wisenbaker, archaeology supervisor, Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research

“Paints a picture of a soul driven to document the natural phenomena of this world and to share it with others for the betterment of planet Earth and its people. It will inspire and make you think.” ― Shannon Switzer Swanson, National Geographic Explorer


Tickets are not available as this event has passed.


December 5, 2018
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Event Categories:


Florida Springs Institute
(386) 454-9369


North Florida Springs Environmental Center
99 NW 1st Ave
High Springs, FL 32643 United States
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(386) 454-9369

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