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In 1952, the University of Florida established its marine laboratory on Seahorse Key, part of the Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge.  Ever since, the island's flora, fauna, history, and unique geographic structure have provided outstanding teaching and research opportunities for students, faculty, and the local community.

Through a generous Programs in the Public Humanities Grant from the UF Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere, some of the rich archival and oral history of the island and UF's presence on it have been preserved.  The work products of this grant include an inventory of old files for permanent archival storage, video-recorded oral histories, and an informational display banner drawing from both sources.

Both the banner and oral histories can be viewed below. The old files concerning the Seahorse Key lab have been re-posited in the University Archives. Once the files are finished being processed for research access, a link to the finding aid (complete with student paper abstracts) will be available here.

Oral history Links:

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Visit Seahorse Key

We invite you to the island's open houses to experience this magical place and view the banner and oral history recordings in situ. You must arrange your own transportation via public boat taxi (for a fee) or your own vessel. If you cannot participate in the open houses, the oral histories and banner are available on this web page.

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Continuing Collection

We are continuing the oral history collection work that the Public Humanities Grant convened. We encourage alumni of SKML and Cedar Key community members with long-standing knowledge of the island to participate in the oral history process. To do so please contact Val Leitner (valeitner@gmail.com).

It costs an average of $1,000 to produce a polished, video-recorded oral history (research & preparation, project management, collection, production & editing). If you would like to donate to support this project, please follow this link to the UF Samuel Proctor Oral History Program donation page and follow its prompts. Once you reach the page where it asks you to enter your name and other information, you will see a field titled "Memorial/Honorary Type" - select  "In honor of." Then in the "Memorial Name" field, please type "Seahorse Key Marine Lab." Contact Val Leitner with any questions about this process or project.

Thank You

The partners of this project would like to express their gratitude to all project participants and especially to the following people who facilitated its success:  Deborah Hendrix (Samuel Proctor Oral History Program), Dr. Steve Noll (Department of History), Peggy McBride (University Archivist, Smathers Libraries), Dr. Michael Allen (NCBS), Dr. Sophia Acord (Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere), Susan Atkinson.  We would like to thank those whose formative input transformed an idea into a meaningful, collaborative project:  Dr. Maria Sgambati, Dr. Coleman Sheehy, and Jessica Long.

Partners on this project include faculty and staff from the following UF programs and departments, and Val Leitner.

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