Story: Jeff Klinkenberg
Photos: Scott Keeler
Photo Editor: Patty Yablonski
Art: Don Morris
Audio: Jack Rowland, Desiree Perry
Print Design: Nikki Life
Multimedia: Martin Frobisher, Lee Glynn, Christina Kajtsa, Desiree Perry

To contact Floridian staff writer Jeff Klinkenberg, call (727) 893-8727 or e-mail

To contact Times staff photographer Scott Keeler, call (727) 445-4260 or e-mail

Times librarians Mary Mellstrom and Kitty Bennett contributed to this project. Special thanks to Andy Huse and Gary Mormino at the University of South Florida, Collier County Museum, Collier-Seminole State Park, Mary Munson at National Parks Conservation Association, and Buffalo Tiger.

About the Author:

Jeff Klinkenberg is a St. Petersburg Times staffer who writes about Florida culture. He is author of two collections of essays about our state. They are Real Florida, and Dispatches from the Land of Flowers. Both are published by Down Home Press of Asheboro, North Carolina and available at bookstores.

Born in 1949, Klinkenberg grew up in Miami and began exploring the Florida Keys and the Everglades as a small boy. He started working at The Miami News when he was 16 and later became a journalism graduate of the University of Florida. Klinkenberg enjoys cycling, running, swimming, hiking, canoeing, and fly fishing. He's a singer — though he claims only to be a "shouter'' — in the retro-rock and roll band, "The Fabulous Nosecaps.''

He is the only two-time winner of the Paul Hansell Distinguised Journalism Award, the highest honor in state journalism, given annually to the writer with the best body of work by the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors. Klinkenberg also is a two-time environmental journalism finalist for the National Scripps-Howard annual Meeman writing contest, and has been an Ernie Pyle Human Interest writing finalist. Six times his essays and stories have been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. He has been an adjunct instructor in the University of Florida's College of Journalism and has written for magazines that include Audubon, Outside, Travel and Leisure, and National Wildlife.

"If Jeff Klinkenberg isn't careful, he might give journalism a good name,'' says the author Carl Hiaasen. "He has a rare eye for marvelous detail, and an affectionate ear for those small, wise, bittersweet voices that tell the true story of Florida.''

About the Photographer:

Scott Keeler, 44, is a St. Petersburg Times staff photographer who covers assignments for the Times Clearwater office. He has worked at the Times for sixteen years in the photo department.

Keeler, a native of Basking Ridge, New Jersey, is a graduate of Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio. He is a former staff photographer for the Elizabeth Daily Journal, Elizabeth, New Jersey, Daily Record, Morristown, New Jersey, and the Tampa Tribune, Tampa, Florida.

Keeler was president of the New Jersey Press Photographers Association in 1985 and is a member of the National Press Photographers Association. In 2000, Keeler placed first in the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors Competition for Feature Photography with his story "Square Peg Round World," on a mentally challenged woman's quest to live on her own.