Mercyhurst University alumnus and Wattsburg native Brent Anderson has published his first book, self-described as “the perfect coffee table book for nature lovers,” about one of the most alluring settings in the world – the Florida Everglades.
As one who combined his love of biology and photography while at Mercyhurst, his major and minor, respectively; Anderson does so again in this 64-page full-color narrative book, The Northern Everglades
. “Join me,” he invites, “on a photographic exploration through the uncharted landscapes of Florida's Northern Everglades … Seeing these waters weave through centuries-old live oak hammocks, towering cypress canopies, dense pine forests and vast prairielands, you can't help but feel as if you've rediscovered a piece of historical Florida unknown to modern man.”
After earning his undergraduate degree in biology from Mercyhurst in 2001 and his master’s degree from Florida Atlantic University in 2006, Anderson began working as a biologist on the large-scale ecological restoration of the Kissimmee River, which runs through the Northern Everglades. During this time, he has used his camera as a window for others to experience this unique ecosystem. The photographs in his book explore the hidden landscapes from deep in the heart of the Everglades.
Mercyhurst biology professor Michael Campbell, Ph.D., said his former student is “an awesome success story and one of our own who has truly ‘seized the day’ with what he got from his Mercyhurst education.”
In fact, for the second year in a row, Campbell and Anderson are collaborating on a field course in Florida during spring break Feb. 21-March 1, 2013. Students studying restoration ecology have the opportunity to get hands-on experience in this field as Anderson shepherds them through the largest, long-term, landscape-scale restoration effort in the world.
“Brent took an independent-study course from me in restoration ecology near the end of his degree program at Mercyhurst and I credit him with motivating me to develop the course as part of our biology curriculum,” Campbell said.
Anderson is looking forward to Campbell and his students’ return to Florida in February. “I’m really excited to have them come here again, particularly to see students who have the same passion I do,” he said.
Anderson has always been passionate about nature, having spent his youth in Erie County, wandering through Presque Isle State Park and forests and marshes along French Creek intent on experiencing nature in its purest form.
He is enthusiastic not only about photographically capturing its beauty, but through his work with the South Florida Water Management District, he aims to instill public awareness and initiate conservation efforts to help preserve what is left of Florida’s unique ecosystems.
“I have always been drawn to help preserve ancient and historic things, whether it is by way of a photograph, physical restoration and conservation of an ecosystem, or even building restoration,” he said, recalling the days he worked summers for his father Larry’s local building restoration business. “Now, I work on ecological restorations. I like to see things that have been around a long time protected for future generations.”
Anderson lives in Lake Worth, Fla., with his wife Nicole and their two children, Lyla and Parker.