“Indian River Reflections,” SLR/IRL

Indian River Reflections, by Vera Zimmerman, 1987. (Collection of Tom and Sandra Thurlow) JTL, 2015.
“Indian River Reflections,” by Vera Zimmerman, 1987. (Collection of Tom and Sandra Thurlow) JTL, 2015.

Recently at my parents’ home, I noticed a piece of artwork hanging the wall. I had seen it many times, but somehow this time, it looked different. Upon inspecting the title written at the bottom, I noticed that it read: “Indian River Reflections,”  Vera Zimmerman, 1987.

The painting shows a menagerie of people standing by the river, their reflection shining in the shallow waters…

“Mom, tell me about this please. Who are these people?”

“Well these are the many people of the Indian River Lagoon. There are Native Americans, African-Americans,  the Spanish, Jonathan Dickinson,  the cattlemen, the “pioneers…”


My eye kept going to the little girl and the dog…

“Things are different but the same,” I thought.

“Who is Vera Zimmerman, the artist,  again? I know you have told me about her before.”

“She is an artist and an archeologist up in Brevard County…”

My mother left to clear the table and I stood there looking at the sketch…thinking about all of the people who have gone before us…

We too stand on the edge of the Indian River Lagoon, our reflections staring back. I wonder how one day, we will be painted?

Map of Florida's shoreline expanded and contracted over the millennium. BARR MAPS
Map of Florida’s shoreline expanded and contracted over the millennium with various ice ages, rising and falling seas. BARR MAPS

Jacqui Thurlow Lopswitch

About Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch:

Although born at Travis Air Base, California, Jacqui considers herself a native of Stuart, Florida, having moved there at eight months old. Her father’s family, originally from Syracuse, New York, has lived in Stuart since 1952. Her mother is a 5th generation Floridian from Gainesville. Jacqui is a Daughter of the American Revolution.

Jacqui is journalism graduate of the University of Florida, and an education master’s graduate of the University of West Florida. She went on to teach English and German and later after a serious accident of breaking her neck, started selling real estate. Later, she ran for public office having served on the Town of Sewall’s Point Commission since 2008, and is former mayor. During this time she saw the opportunity to help showcase the work of a locally formed river group, the River Kidz, and this has been her passion ever. She incorporates youth/river education  into her political work for the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon.

Jacqui is the treasurer/secretary of the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council; has chaired the Florida League of Cities Environmental and Energy Committee; was chair, and a six year member of the Treasure Coast Council of Local Governments; is an alternate for the Water Resources Advisory Commission for the South Florida Water Management District; and is a board member for Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute Foundation, in St Lucie County.  She also serves as a board member (ex-officio) for the Rivers Coalition Defense Fund, and is head administrator for her beloved River Kidz, now a division of the Rivers Coalition.

Jacqui’s reach involves not only local, but state and federal government. In 2013,  she served on Senator Joe Negron’s panel for the Select Senate Hearing on the Indian River Lagoon and Lake Okeechobee. In 2014, she actively supported the elections of both Senator Joe Negron and Congressman Patrick Murphy who have both been strong supporters of  Indian River Lagoon issues. In 2015, she is part of the Florida League Cities Treasure Coast Advocacy team to influence and educate Tallahassee. Jacqui received the Everglades Coalition’s 2015 “John V. Kabler Award” for “Grassroots Activism” working to organize and educate the public about Everglades restoration. Most recently she has been recruited as a fellow by the University of Florida/IFAS’s Natural Resources Leadership Institute Class XV. The institute focuses on teaching leaders how to facilitate participatory decision making in the most controversial of situations.

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