For over 45 years, the Ocklawaha River (the largest tributary of the St. Johns River) and its springs and wetlands have been impacted by a dam that was built in Putnam County as part of the failed Cross Florida Barge Canal. The Rodman Dam (now known as the Kirkpatrick Dam) resulted in the clearing and flooding of approximately 7,500 acres of floodplain forests, while submering over 20 springs beneath a massive pool of water.

However, the pool behind the dam must be drawn down every 3 to 4 years to remove invasive plants that flourish and choke the waterways, and the “lost springs” reemerge.

We are excited to announce a new multimedia exhibition from painter/activist Margaret Ross Tolbert (and last year’s Oyster Roast featured artist) and environmental filmmaker Matt Keene that chronicles the tragic demise of the iconic springs of the Ocklawaha River.

Presented by the University of North Florida Lufrano Intercultural Gallery and Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville (MOCA), the “Lost Springs of the Ocklawaha” exhibition features images, sculpture and film of Cannon Springs and Tobacco Patch Springs created by numerous artists, including Tolbert and Keene.

Here is a list of all the upcoming "Lost Springs" events: 

September 21 – 'Lost Springs of the Ocklawaha' Opening Reception at UNF's Lufrano Gallery, 5 – 8 pm
This multimedia exhibition runs through Tuesday, October 24.   Click here for more details. 

Sept 23 – December 31 – “Margaret Ross Tolbert: Lost Springs” in the UNF Gallery at MOCA

Sept 24 – "Lost Springs” Reception and Film Premier at MOCA, 1 – 4 pm
Screenings of the film take place at 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. in MOCA’s Theater.

Sept 28 – "Lost Springs" Film Screening in the UNF Student Union Auditorium (Building 58W, Room 2704), 7 pm

October 3 – "Lost Springs" Film Screening in the UNF Student Union Auditorium (Building 58W, Room 2704), 7 pm

October 12 – "Lost Springs" Film Screening in the UNF Student Union Auditorium (Building 58W, Room 2704), 12:30 pm

November 2 – "Lost Springs" Film Screening and Panel Discussion featuring Tolbert and Keene in the MOCA Theater, 7 to 9 pm. 

All events are free and open to the public.  Click here for more about these upcoming events at UNF and MOCA. 

Learn more about the artists, exhibition and film in these recent Florida Times-Union and EU Jacksonville articles and on the Lost Springs website.  

You can also find more information here about the benefits of restoring the Ocklawaha.