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 Water Institute affiliate faculty Dr. Whitney Sanford collaborates with State Parks on "Wish You Were Here" springs project,

Studying Florida’s springs and water resources is a truly interdisciplinary undertaking – Water Institute faculty with backgrounds ranging from geology to engineering are working on a diverse array of scientific projects. The religion department may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of research in Florida’s springs, but this summer, Water Institute affiliate faculty Dr. Whitney Sanford is diving into an innovative springs project in conjunction with the Florida Division of Recreation and Parks (DRP) and the University of Central Florida (UCF).

Sanford is facilitating the Wish You Were Here project at UF, working with staff at the DRP and UCF to develop cultural trails at seven state parks across Florida. A wide range of individual ‘public humanities’ projects are slated to take place at the parks, including archiving and digitizing of historic information, oral history collection, and virtual tours. Students from UF and UCF will play an essential role and are encouraged to submit proposals for research projects or summer internships related to the rich cultural history surrounding the springs. For more detailed information about the project as well as goals for specific parks, visit this webpage or see this pdf. The deadline to submit a proposal is Friday, April 24.

Sanford hopes the Wish You Were Here project will help people “get a sense of the rich social, cultural, and religious histories that exist alongside the fun we can have at the springs.” Sanford says weaving this cultural history into people’s experience at the parks may draw a new set of people to the water. She will be out at the parks this summer as she prepares to teach an honors undergraduate course based on the project this fall. For more information about the course, click here.

By Jenny Adler