Science Café Focuses on Water Concerns

Lake Monroe
Stetson Students and Gillespie workers, Mac Thomson and Kayla MacPhee
Stetson students and Gillespie Museum workers, Mac Thomson and Kayla MacPhee, check out the museum’s current exhibit: Aquatic Gems.

From contaminated drinking water to droughts, Karen Cole wants to get the local community to start talking about water.

Cole, director of the Gillespie Museum at Stetson University, will host a science café with Rob Mattson, an environmental specialist for the St. Johns River Water Management District, to talk about the importance of water conservancy at a time when contaminated drinking water in Flint, Michigan, is making headlines and drought conditions are plaguing parts of Georgia and Alabama.

“Water is an important key issue,” said Cole. “In every county (in Florida), there are concerns about where the water is going to come from for new development and what the environmental impact will be as we draw water from the Floridan Aquifer.”

The science café will take place on Thursday, Oct. 27, at 7 p.m. in the Gillespie Museum. It is one in a series of talks that started five years ago and generally occurs monthly. The events are open to the Stetson community and the public.

Cole hopes the event will encourage the discussion of water as an environmental topic.

“The only way that we’re going to address the bigger environmental issue of water is by getting as many people together to talk about the issues as possible,” said Cole. “So, any time we can promote that in the museum is good.”

Lake Monroe
Rob Mattson, an environmental specialist for the St. Johns River Water Management District, will speak about water issues facing the river, including Lake Monroe, shown above, at the next Science Cafe at Stetson’s Gillespie Museum.

Mattson will give an overview of local water issues. He will be focusing on the water table that feeds into the St. Johns River, and there will be a question and answer period afterward.

The science café is free and provides cultural credit for Stetson students. There will be refreshments on the museum porch.

This event comes after the Water Festival that took place earlier this month in DeLand. The Gillespie Museum was a festival partner, along with the local chapter of the Native Plant Society, which encourages citizens to use native plants that require less irrigation to conserve water.

Stephen Kintner, vice chairman of the Blue Spring Alliance, hopes people will be more mindful about conserving water.

“We have to take all the momentum from the festival and build water ethic in the county,” he said. “What can we do to make people in Volusia County value water?”

The Gillespie Museum is located at 234 E. Michigan Ave. in DeLand. For more info, call 386-822-7330.

 -Rhiannon Boyer