The Wilder Heart of Florida

with Lars Andersen, Cynthia Barnett, Lucinda Merritt, Leslie Kemp Poole, and Margaret Tolbert

Saturday, June 18


Free with registration (in-person and virtual)

In partnership with the Florida Defenders of the Environment we are excited to welcome five authors, conservationists, environmentalists, and artists to the Matheson to read from their essays in The Wilder Heart of Florida: More Writers Inspired by Florida Nature about their beloved places in the state. Registration is free.

For the safety of staff and attendees, capacity will be limited to 100 people and masks are required. Admission is free but registration is required: A virtual option via Zoom is available for those who cannot attend in person:

In this captivating collection, Florida’s most notable authors, poets, and environmentalists take readers on a journey through the natural wonders of the state. Continuing in the legacy of the beloved classic The Wild Heart of Florida, this book features thirty-four pieces by a new slate of well-known and emerging writers.

In these pages, New York Times bestselling author Lauren Groff describes the beauty of Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park. Environmental writer Cynthia Barnett listens to seashells on Sanibel Island. Legendary journalist Marjory Stoneman Douglas records the sights and sounds of the Everglades in the 1920s. Miccosukee elder Buffalo Tiger relates traditional stories of his community’s deep relationship with the land. Presidential inaugural poet Richard Blanco muses on the shifting vista of the ocean in “Some Days the Sea.”

These writers and many others recount memories of how their lives have been enriched by the state’s varied and brilliant landscapes. Some tell of encounters with alligators, pythons, manatees, turtles, and otters, while others marvel at the unique character of flowing springs and piney scrub. Together, they highlight the need to protect pristine ecosystems and restore ones that have been damaged due to development. The Wilder Heart of Florida will inspire readers to explore and celebrate the Florida wilderness.