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Calusa Heritage Day
Location: 13810 Waterfront Drive, Pineland, FL 33945


Mark your calendars and plan to spend Saturday, March 10 at Pineland. Environmental Change is the theme for the event this year, which takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Calusa Heritage Trail, 13810 Waterfront Drive, Pineland, located on scenic, historic Pine Island. Admission is free for RRC members and children under 12, and for all others admission is $5. Complimentary parking for the festival will be at the Pineland Marina with handicapped and bicycle parking on-site at the Trail entrance. Please carpool, if possible.

Free water will available throughout the grounds, and we encourage you to bring your own refillable water bottle, wear comfortable clothing and shoes, and plan to stay the day! Food will be on sale by Pine Island favorites Little Lillie’s Island Deli and Mel Meo’s Fish Wagon.

Children and Families: Local authors Gerald Hausman and D. L. Havlin will give performances, and there will be demonstrations of Calusa-inspired crafts throughout the day.

> At 10:30 a.m., Pine Island resident and novelist D. L. Havlin will present "Bridging the Gap: A Biographical Sketch of Jacob Summerlin." Havlin is the author of several mystery and suspense books set in South Florida.

> At 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., Pine Island resident Gerald Hausman will share folktales. Hausman is the author of over 70 books of collected folklore, which have been translated into a dozen foreign languages. Over his 35 years as a storyteller, he has entertained children of all ages at such places as the Kennedy Center, Harvard University, and in schools all over the U.S. Of Hausman, Dr. Michael Fox, vice president of the Humane Society of the U.S., says “He awakens not only the poet’s skill and sensitivity, but also our own nature, power and inherent divinity...”.

> On-going from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. will be hands-on Calusa-inspired arts and crafts and face painting plus an opportunity to meet live reptiles, courtesy of Lee County Parks and Recreation, and participate in narrated tours of the Calusa Heritage Trail.

> On-going from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Florida Public Archaeology Network will host atlatl throwing. An atlatl is a very accurate throwing stick, developed long before bow and arrow, which was used by the Calusa and other pre-columbian Florida people. Children and adults will get to try the atlatl for distance and accuracy.

Come By Water: Calusa Heritage Day offers boat-tour option

New this year, Captiva Cruises is offering a ride from Captiva Island’s McCarthy Marina across Pine Island Sound to the docks at Tarpon Lodge. This boat ride provides an effortless way for visitors and others on Sanibel and Captiva – and even south Fort Myers near the Sanibel Causeway – to enjoy a day on Pine Island Sound and also attend Calusa Heritage Day without the hassle of driving.
The boat will depart McCarthy Marina at 10 a.m. Passengers will get a narrated tour of the harbor and its fish shacks and then enjoy lunch at the Tarpon Lodge before attending the festival. The lodge is across the street from the festival site. The boat will return passengers to Captiva after a two-hour stay. Fare for the boat ride, tour, and festival admission is $45 for adults, $35 for children; lunch is not included. Reservations are required by calling Captiva Cruises at (239) 472-5300.

Get on the water to learn about archaeology

Captiva Cruises and RRC will offer a narrated archaeological tour through Pine Island Sound from 12 noon to 1:30 p.m. as part of Calusa Heritage Day this year. Tickets can be purchased at the festival March 10 or in advance. It’s $25 for adults and $15 for students. You’ll board the 45-foot Santiva, one of Captiva Cruises’ famous touring vessels, at the dock at Tarpon Lodge, across the street from the event after meeting your guide at the information tent at the Calusa Heritage Trail.
This event and partnership between Captiva Cruises and RRC lets Calusa Heritage Day attendees enjoy activities at the event and also to go out and get the feel of Pine Island Sound to learn even more about the Calusa.

Attention native plant lovers: Purchase plants while learning about their uses by native people

Native plants will be for sale by All Natives Nursery of Ft. Myers during Calusa Heritage Day, and prospective buyers can learn about the plants’ uses by native people by visiting the Paleoethnobotany Area. There you will find a variety of native plants with information about how the vegetation was used by people of past. For example, fermented leaves of wax myrtle were used medicinally for headaches, fevers, and worms.

Archaeological Science for All

Whether you’re a visitor or resident, a lay person interested in the past or an archeology buff, Calusa Heritage Day has a speaker for you. The March 10 event features:

> 11 a.m.: “The Practical and Spiritual Significance of the Lightning Whelk,” presented by Dr. Bill Marquardt, Director of the Randell Research Center and Curator of Archaeology at the Florida Museum of Natural History at University of Florida, Gainesville.

> Noon: “Wetlands Preservation”: How Wetlands Preserve Ancient Materials and What Types of Items have been Preserved, presented by Dr. Robin Brown, author of several highly regarded books on Florida’s past.

> 1 p.m.: “Future Directions in Southwest Florida Paleoclimatology,” presented by Dr. Joanne Muller, Florida Gulf Coast University paleoclimatologist.

> 2 p.m.: “How the Environment Shapes War: Environmental Impacts on Seminole Combat Behaviors,” by Nathan Lawres, Archaeological Field Assistant for the Seminole Tribe of Florida’s Tribal Archaeology Section and M.A. Candidate, University of Central Florida.

> 3 p.m.: Keynote Speech, “Calusa and Climate” presented by Dr. Karen Walker, archaeologist and collections manager at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

To learn more about the study of Pineland’s climatic past, go to www.flmnh.ufl.edu/sciencestories/2011/pineland_paleoclimate.htm

The featured speaker this year is Dr. Karen Walker of the Florida Museum of Natural History. She will speak on the effects of climate changes on native people in the past and their implications for today, with emphasis on her work at the Pineland Site. Dr. Walker's talk will be held in the RRC classroom at the Calusa Heritage Trail.

Dr. Walker is an environmental archaeologist who received her Ph.D. from the University of Florida in 1992. She serves as a faculty scientist and collection manager for South Florida Archaeology and Ethnography at the Florida Museum. She undertook the defining zooarchaeological studies of the Charlotte Harbor Estuarine System, and has published several articles on Southwest Florida covering such diverse topics as ancient fishing technology, sea-level fluctuations, Calusa diet, the archaeology of twentieth-century logging camps, and the nineteenth and twentieth-century archaeology of Useppa Island.

Attention artists and art lovers: Mark your calendar for Calusa Heritage Day.

Artists at Calusa Heritage Day will share interpretations and their work with attendees. Ancient Hands makes pottery and other art, including reproductions of works by pre-columbian artisans, and will be on hand to sell and explain their wares. Felix Macaguani Rodriguez will display his wood carving and bone implements inspired by early people of the area. Peter Sottong, whose information can be found at www.KeyMarcoCat.com, creates museum-quality reproductions of Calusa masks including those unearthed by Smithsonian archaeologist Frank Hamilton Cushing in 1896 on Marco Island. Dick Workman will teach how make cordage from various plants and will be joined by special guests who will demonstrate basket making. Olde Tyme Crafts will be on hand to demonstrate historic-era crafts such as spool knitting, rag rugs, stick weaving, quilting, and knot tying, and will sell kits that will help you get started making your own creations.

Calusa Tastings

From 12:30 to 2:30 you can sample foods eaten by the Calusa, including papaya, clams, and oysters, flavored with chili peppers if you like. The oldest papaya seeds recovered in North America were excavated at Pineland, and chili pepper seeds dating to about 2000 years ago were unearthed here too. Information about the plants and animals you may sample are included in the free tastings.

Exhibits from the Florida Museum of Natural History

Enjoy exhibits from the Florida Museum of Natural History at Calusa Heritage Day without leaving Lee County. Our Gainesville-based parent organization and state museum will loan exhibits for the event. The exhibits will be in the classroom from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and include displays on zooarchaeology, recent excavations that took place at RRC, and Seminole collections. Each exhibit will include experts to explain the material and some will include hands-on options.

Learn About Southwest Florida History at Calusa Heritage Day.

Edison-Ford Winter Estates, Museum of the Islands, Mound House, and other exhibitors will offer information about local history and about their programs throughout the day. J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge and The Great Calusa Blueway will also have representatives on hand. Fort Myers resident Woody Hanson will be on hand to talk about Seminole Indian history, based on his family’s extensive collection of documents and photographs. Consider the event one-stop shopping for learning about Lee County’s past.

Tours of the Calusa Heritage Trail and Off-the-Trail “Nature Tour”

Walk the Calusa Heritage Trail with a trained docent to learn about the Calusa and their ancestors who occupied the site. Tours will be held hourly 10:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. on March 10. Or, at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., take part in an off-the-trail tour to learn more about Southwest Florida plants and ecosystems. These tours are family friendly and walking is involved.

Still have questions? Feel free to call us at (239) 283-2062 or 283-2157.


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