about your moderator
Silver Glen Springs
I’m Tom Morris. I was raised in sunny, warm Jacksonville, and learned to swim at an early age, spending most of my childhood summers in the water. I used to go camping with the family at Ichetucknee Springs when it was still just a place in the woods. I mastered snorkeling there.
Around 1960 my dad came home with a SCUBA tank and regulator. We had a basic instruction manual, written by Lloyd Bridges of Sea Hunt fame. We taught ourselves how to dive in a neighbor’s pool, and it was not long before we were diving into the entrance cavern at Madison Blue Spring. I soon put a flashlight in a plastic bag, and have been going into underwater caves ever since.
Later I earned degrees in Wildlife Biology and Botany from the University of Florida. My new career in biology and my old hobby of diving were a perfect match, and I developed a new appreciation for Florida’s springs and aquifer caves. I realized they were not just beautiful and exciting places to explore, but were also ecosystems, critical habitats to rare and unusual animals.
In the early 80’s I started diving with Wes Skiles and we became lifelong diving partners. Wes embarked on a filmmaking career, and I got to tag along and help as a lighting man and biological consultant, and sometimes even ended up in front of the camera. We filmed documentaries involving springs in several countries, both above and below water, always emphasizing the protection of natural resources.
I have worked at the SJRWMD and the Center for Wetlands at UF, and as a biological consultant. I currently work at Karst Environmental Services, a company specializing in water and biological resource projects in Florida’s spring country. I live in Gainesville.