April 10, 2012

For the Love of Weedon

Mary Campbell,  
Extension Director  
UF/IFAS Pinellas County  

This spring take time to visit beautiful Weedon Island Preserve located in St. Petersburg along Tampa Bay. It has a rich cultural history and over 3,700 acres of natural areas and coastal ecosystems. Almost a quarter million people visit the preserve each year and walk the boardwalks to discover the natural treasures. Several years ago a historical treasure of an ancient canoe was unearthed within the preserve. It will be preserved as a display at the Weedon Island Education Center.

Weedon Island Preserve's rich human history began with prehistoric peoples who thrived on the abundant fish, shellfish, plants, and mammals of the wetlands, islands, and estuaries of Tampa Bay. These people evolved into the Weeden (alternate spelling) Island culture that lasted some 800 years. Their social structure included ceremonial and artistic pottery and modes of burial with associated goods. The colorful history of Weedon Island continued with the arrival of homesteaders, speakeasies, a Hollywood movie studio, and a 1930s airport. Come explore " A Place to Remember" through the publication entitled The Weedon Island Story (2.8M).

What was once a true island during high tides is now a low-lying peninsula surrounded by several small islands. Most of the Preserve is dominated by aquatic and wetland ecosystems that include miles of mosquito ditches dug in the late 1950s. The upland ecosystems comprise the remaining 1,100 acres of relatively flat, dry lands.

Memories abound about the colorful history at Weedon Island. On Saturday, February 11th , many people who have connected with this land attended the event, “For the Love of Weedon,” at Weedon Island Preserve Cultural and Natural History Center. You can enjoy the event through videos on YouTube:

Part 1

Part 2

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