Mysterious Monikers of South Florida

Author Larry Perez Shares History of Odd Names in Florida at Final 2009 Sea Secrets Lecture

Larry Perez

VIRIGINIA KEY, Fla. – Hell’s Bay, Monument Lake, Petrel Point, Little Africa, Snake Bight, and Dildo Key are just a few of the names locals may recognize. The names of Florida’s national parks are sometimes fanciful, sometimes frightening, and frequently puzzling. Join us on Wednesday, May 13 for the final Sea Secrets lecture, as Larry Perez, head of Science Communications Outreach for the South Florida Natural Resources Center, takes you on a visual journey of the regional landscape to reveal the true stories behind some of our most intriguingly named locales. The presentation will take place in the Rosenstiel School Auditorium, 4600 Rickenbacker Causeway, Virginia Key. The event includes a reception at 5:30 p.m., followed by the lecture at 6:00 p.m., and is free and open to the public.

Perez is a lifelong resident of Miami, where he lives with his wife and two children. A graduate of Florida International University with a Bachelor of Science in Parks and Recreation Management and a Master of Science in Environmental Studies, he has parlayed his education into a distinguished career focusing on South Florida's natural areas. For more than twelve years, Perez has served as an interpreter and park ranger for both Miami-Dade County Parks and the National Park Service. During that time, he has garnered numerous awards for both his professional and personal dedication to environmental pursuits.

His articles have appeared in several publications, including Tropical Trails Magazine, Miami Family Magazine, and South Florida History Magazine. He wrote and produced Everglades by Car: A Narrated Audio Tour of Everglades National Park, and is the author of the Journal of Florida's Watchable Wildlife: Reptiles and Amphibians. Perez’s most recent work, Words on the Wilderness: A History of Place Names in South Florida's National Parks, is based upon nearly four years of research into the origins of over 400 unique place names in the Everglades, Biscayne Bay, Dry Tortugas National Park and Big Cypress National Preserve.

The Rosenstiel School and the Ocean Research and Education Foundation co-host the roster of distinguished scientists and explorers who will speak in the 2009 Sea Secrets lecture series. These events are designed to provide insight and information about the oceans that cover two-thirds of the planet, and much of which, are still an enigma.

Sponsored by The Lawrence J. and Florence A. De George Charitable Trust, and the Charles N. and Eleanor Knight Leigh Foundation, Sea Secrets is organized by Drs. Robert Ginsburg and Ellen Prager, and is designed for the South Florida non-scientific community.

The Ocean Research and Education Foundation is a non-profit corporation focused on marine science. It organizes geological research in the Bahamas on the living counterparts of the first evidence of life on Earth some three billion years old. The Foundation also leads a Caribbean-wide assessment of the condition of coral reefs that has produced the only comprehensive regional database of corals, fish and algae ( For the past decade, the Foundation and the Rosenstiel School have collaborated to present the popular Sea Secrets lecture series, five annual events aimed at informing and inspire students and the general public on marine science.

About the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School
Founded in the 1940’s, the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science has grown into one of the world’s premier marine and atmospheric research institutions. Offering dynamic interdisciplinary academics, the Rosenstiel School is dedicated to helping communities to better understand the planet, participating in the establishment of environmental policies, and aiding in the improvement of society and quality of life. For more information, please visit

Media Contacts:

Barbra Gonzalez
UM Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science
Marie Guma-Diaz
UM Media Relations Office

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