Past Events

Key Biscayne Lecture Series

In 2008, the Key Biscayne Historical and Heritage Society partnered with the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science to provide a series of engaging and informative lectures to the island community. Through an ongoing series of presentations by local scholars and other events, the Key Biscayne Historical and Heritage Society provided residents with information on the significant history of Key Biscayne and its surroundings. Lectures, which were free and open to the public, were held at the Village Council Chamber, 560 Crandon Boulevard on Key Biscayne.

Key Biscayne Lecture Series

2009 Lecture Series Events:

Monday, April 20, 2009

Flashback: Today’s Economy vs. the Great Depression

Economist and UM Professor, Dr. David Letson

Economist and Key Biscayne resident, Dr. David Letson will share his perspectives on today’s economic situation, and compare it to previous downturns in the United States. Letson will then address how today’s rising unemployment rate and falling incomes change the ways in which we use and protect natural resources. “Protection” from, say, hurricanes or a changing climate will require us to forgo or at least defer a payday. What’s at stake? Minerals, land, water, forests, soils, fish, climate, corals and toxins, to name just a few.

Watch the video of the talk.

Monday, April 4, 2009

Dive Into the Past: Little Salt Spring Archaeological Site

Marine Archaeologist and UM Professor Dr. John Gifford

Little Salt Spring, a unique underwater archaeological site in southern Sarasota County has revealed artifacts dating back to the first Floridians over 12,000 years ago. Donated to the University of Miami in 1982, Little Salt Spring is a 240-foot deep, hourglass-shaped anoxic sinkhole with water conditions that allow for amazing preservation of fossil bones as well as artifacts buried within its sediments. Gifford will share discoveries from the site, including evidence of early humans and extinct creatures including giant sloths and tortoises, huge crocodiles, Columbian mammoths, and even saber-tooth tigers.

Watch the video of the talk.

2008 Lecture Series Events:

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Ever-Changing River of Sand: How Key Biscayne and Virginia Key Formed and Where They Are Headed

Dr. Harold R. Wanless, Professor and Chair of Geological Sciences, University of Miami

Surprisingly, Key Biscayne and Virginia Key are not islands of the Florida Keys. Through the geologic ages, these island paradises have formed due to the southward movement of sediment from a literal "river of sand" that flows along the eastern U.S. coast. Key Biscayne represents the end of the line for these sands; the last of the barrier islands formed by this southward-drifting Atlantic sediment. Although we may think of this as a long-term process, sands don't like to sit still for long. They are more than eager to move again, given the right combination of waves, tides, or currents. And their movement can influence beach erosion, navigation through Bear Cut, and even human and animal health issues and risks. Through detailed satellite images and photos of the changing sands, Dr. Harold Wanless will explore how these islands formed, and provide insight into what is in store for Key Biscayne in the face of global warming and sea level rise.

Watch the video of the talk.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

South Florida's Sport Fisheries: The Golden Days and Today

Dr. Jerald S. Ault, Professor of Marine Biology and Fisheries, University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science

Florida is a fisherman's paradise. Widely known for its world-class fishing from Lake Okeechobee down through the Florida Keys, long-time Floridians will tell you, that fishing today isn't what it once was. Dr. Jerald Ault, Rosenstiel alumnus and Director of the Bonefish & Tarpon Research Center, is an internationally recognized leader in fisheries science whose marine census in the Florida Keys-Dry Tortugas coral reef ecosystem is helping scientists to understand just how much local fisheries have changed over the years. Join Ault as he presents his research on what led to these significant changes to local ecology and what is being done to restore and protect Florida's sport fisheries.

Watch the video of the talk.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Unique History of the Half Moon Shipwreck

Mike Beach, RJ Diving Ventures

The wreck of the Half Moon (formerly the Germania) lies just outside Bear Cut, between Virginia Key and Key Biscayne.  For decades, she remained a mystery to local Miami divers, snorkelers, and fisherman who knew about her location.  Today she is recognized as the 7th established Underwater Archaeological Preserve in the State of Florida.  The 151-foot sail-powered racing yacht was built in 1908 at the Krupp Shipyard in Kiel, Germany.  She carried German nobility, raced in the Cowes Regatta in England, was auctioned in Britain after World War I, served as the dream of former Assistant Secretary of the Navy Gordon Woodbury, and served as a floating saloon in Miami during prohibition. After sinking twice, the wreck settled into its final resting place in the 1920’s. Join Capt. Mike Beach, an alumnus of the Rosenstiel School who helped establish the Half Moon Underwater Archaeological Preserve, as he presents his unique perspectives about diving on one of South Florida’s sunken treasures.

Watch the video of the talk.

The purpose of the Key Biscayne Historical and Heritage Society is to collect, preserve, store and exhibit artifacts, documents and information of historical significance to the Village of Key Biscayne, Florida, and its environs. The organization provides for and promotes the dissemination of information pertaining to local history and presents educational and interpretive programs, projects and exhibits. For more information, please visit

Founded in the 1940’s, the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and 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:

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