Little Salt Spring
Steve Koski, who has been working as the site manager at Little Salt Spring Archaeological and Ecological Preserve in North Port, Fla. for four years part- time and three months full-time.
What attracted you to working at Little Salt Spring?
The beauty, the mystery, the science, the research. The range of geological, paleontological, and archaeological history, as well the natural bio-diversity at the 112-acre UM property. Little Salt Spring is a special place in many ways.
Do you have any hobbies?
Other than being underwater and exploring nature, I next feel most comfortable and connected on the water, either kayaking or sailing.
Name something that you couldn't live without.
Clean air and water, good food, family and friends.
If you become a millionaire, what would you do first?
In addition to archaeology and historic preservation, I have become very interested in environmental issues such as water and air quality, natural habitat protection, education and public outreach. With a million dollars, I would start a not-for-profit research foundation to study South Florida springs, springshed recharge zones, and Florida aquifer protection. With the knowledge gained, I would develop an educational public guide explaining the importance of sustaining our clean water supply; the adverse effects of neglectful land-use practices; and what individual homeowners and businesses can do to protect their precious springs, watersheds, and natural resources.
If we spend over 10 hours a day with you, what should we know about your personality?
I guess you would learn that I can be a bit scattered at times, and other times intensely focused, but there is never a dull moment. Considerable task diversity is the norm at LSS and dependent on which 10 hours of the day, and which week, month, season, you were able to spend here. The last two weeks (first two weeks in January) with Dr. John Gifford's class here, the day would start at 0730, organizing research dives, diving with students, excavating, mapping, recovering and processing specimens in the lab. Other times, taking YSI casts, processing water samples recovered from the bottom vents at depths over 60m by UM's scientific diving officer Rick Riera-Gomez and Director of Diving Operations (DSO) at The Florida Aquarium in Tampa, Florida, Casey Coy, or filtering water samples from various depths for chlorophyll analysis by Dr. Larry Brand. There is always something to do in the lab. Then, there is the property management aspect, exotic vegetation removal and maintenance, lawn care, facility upkeep, nature trail planning. Some Saturdays we have site tours and nature walks with volunteers or field trips with Warm Mineral Springs/Little Salt Spring Archaeological Society members. Evening lecture presentations to local organizations also occur several times per year. Then, there is the peace and tranquility of the site when no one is here-a time to breathe and contemplate, and for the native animals to roam the spring hammock again.