In Conversation: Seeking the American Tropics: South Florida’s Early Naturalists

James A. Kushlan‘s Seeking the American Tropics: South Florida’s Early Naturalists unearths stories of the explorers and adventurers who – for better and for worse – helped open the unique […]


In Conversation: Seeking the American Tropics: South Florida’s Early Naturalists

Authors:Julie Wraithmell, James A. Kushlan


James A. Kushlan‘s Seeking the American Tropics: South Florida’s Early Naturalists unearths stories of the explorers and adventurers who – for better and for worse – helped open the unique environment of South Florida to the world. He’s joined by Julie Wraithmell, executive director of Audubon Florida, as they dialogue about the reverberations and repercussions wrought by those early travelers, the effects of which are still being felt today.

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Julie Wraithmell

Julie Wraithmell is Executive Director of Audubon Florida, the state’s oldest statewide conservation organization. For 120 years, Audubon has advocated for Florida’s water, wildlife, habitat and climate. Julie has a BS in Biology from Duke University and an MS from Florida State. Prior to her 15 years with Audubon, she worked as a biologist for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission where she created the Great Florida Birding Trail. In 2012, she received National Audubon Society’s top staff award for her leadership during the Deepwater Horizon Gulf Oil Spill. Julie lives and works in Tallahassee with her daughter.

James A. Kushlan

James A. Kushlan is an ornithologist, conservationist, and writer. He has served as research associate for the Smithsonian Institution, director of the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, and president of the American Ornithologists’ Union. His many books include Attracting Birds to South Florida Gardens, Birds of Fairchild, and Biscayne National Park. It’s hard to imagine now, but for centuries, the southernmost region of the Florida peninsula was seen by outsiders as wild and inaccessible, one of the last frontiers in the quest to understand and reveal the natural history of the continent. James A. Kushlan’s Seeking the American Tropics (University Press of Florida) tells the stories of the explorers and adventurers who–for better and for worse–helped open the unique environment of South Florida to the world. Today the region is among one of the most thoroughly studied places on the planet but, Kushlan notes, at a cost. Ron Magill, communications director, Zoo Miami called it “An enlightening journey through the geological, botanical, and zoological discoveries made by the iconic naturalists who over centuries have helped shape our knowledge of South Florida’s unique and diverse natural history.”

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