Nature Photography

Laura Runge

Dr. Laura Runge teaches in the USF Department of English and is currently writing a nature memoir entitled, A Year-long Engagement with the Hillsborough River: A Woman at Midlife Finds her Place. Over the course of thirteen months, from January 2010 to January 2011, Runge visited the river at several different sites, taking photographs, and charting a contemplative practice of observation and understanding of the local watershed. The photos selected here represent the engagement of human and nonhuman entities on the river that provides most of the water for our city. The places represented cluster around USF, including the bridge at Crystal Springs Road in Zephyrhills, Hillsborough River State Park, John Sargeant Park, Lettuce Lake Park, and Riverhills Park in Temple Terrace.

Dr. Runge will be discussing her photo-memoir project on Oct. 30th in the Grace Allen Room of the USF Tampa Library. Her talk will be begin at 4:00pm. Click here for more information.



Liz Kicak

The first time I went kayaking on the Hillsborough I fell in love. Unlike walking a manmade trail or boardwalk, kayaking forces you to surrender to the path that nature intended. Every trip down the river is different; I see something different every time I go. I’m particularly attracted to the more secluded, hidden offshoots of the river that can only be accessed when the water level is high. The greater the chance that I’ll get my boat stuck, the greater the appeal.

Focus on Lettuce Lake

Lettuce Lake Park, just minutes from urban areas and the USF Tampa campus, is one of the most popular and loved spots along the Hillsborough, attracting diverse crowds of picnickers, families, college students and visitors to its boardwalk, canoe trails, and fishing sites. Graham Tobin, USF Professor of Geography, Environment, and Planning, and Vice-Provost (, has enjoyed photographing Lettuce Lake for more than 15 years, visiting frequently to experience the various moods of the river, whose level varies dramatically from season to season, and to spot the often elusive wildlife. His son Tom, now a Ph.D. student at the University of Washington ( joins him whenever he can for family “Lettuce Lake Photo Competitions!”



Gail Parsons

Gail Parsons chairs the Outings program with the Sierra Club of Tampa Bay. She has led many canoe paddles up and down the Hillsborough River, and has enjoyed taking photos of the wildlife and scenery on the way. These photos were all taken on the same stretch of river where Gail will be leading a paddle on Oct. 20. Get information on this event.

To see the many opportunities to explore local waterways, visit the Sierra Club website.