September 12, 2007

Guest speakers and songs will be featured at the 6th Annual Marion County Springs Festival, which is being held Saturday, Sept. 22, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Silver River State Park.

A variety of experts will speak about Florida’s springs and springs protection during the festival, including Chris Zajac, an environmental scientist with the Southwest Florida Water Management District. Zajac will talk about the District’s projects on the Rainbow River. Other speakers include Harley Means, a geologist with the Florida Geological Survey; Richard Deadman, a planner with the Florida Department of Community Affairs Bureau of State Planning; Mike Sizemore, chairman of the Marion Soil & Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors; Rolly Sauls, a water resource project manager with the Marion County Planning Department and Paul Marrifino, representing Rainbow River Conservation, Inc.

The District will also have two educational booths at the festival. One booth will focus on the “Know where it flows” campaign, which was developed to address increasing nitrate levels in Crystal River and Kings Bay. The campaign focuses on two common practices that contribute to local water quality issues: fertilizer overuse and improper septic tank maintenance. The other booth will focus on springs protection.

Music and song will also be an important part of this year’s festival. Attendees can listen to live entertainment by Dunning Shaw or try their hand at song-writing by entering the SpringsSong Contest, which is in its third year. Musicians may submit a recording of their original songs to the Marion County Springs Festival Committee. The top entries will be invited to sing at the festival. The top entries from the past three years may be included on a compilation CD to benefit Florida springs protection.

The Marion County Springs Festival also features environmental discussions, hands-on children’s activities, a silent auction, an art show, guided nature hikes and other outdoor recreational opportunities. For more information, visit the festival web site at

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