Lake City Reporter: Artist to speak about environmental issues

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Gainesville artist to discuss changing environment of springs.

The deep indigo hues dance with vibrant green swirls on Margaret Ross Tolbert’s painting or North Florida’s treasured springs.

Her skillful strokes breathe life onto the canvases and murals she paints, making the viewer want to jump in for a refreshing dip.

The accomplished painter and environmental activist will be speaking at the Alfonso Levy Performing Arts Center at 7:30p.m. April 7.

Tolber will also speak to students in art and environmental classes at Columbia High School during the day.

Her presentations will serve as a prelude to Lake City Appreciation Day at Ichetucknee Springs April 9.

The artist will speak about her long love of the springs of Florida and the changes she has observed in the environment over the years.

Tolbert earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Florida and has painted springs such as Ichetucknee, Wakulla and Manatee Springs for more than 20 years.

Her speeches in Lake City will focus on Ichetucknee Springs.

Tolbert uses her artwork as expression of her love of the springs and the importance of conservation

“I would like to encourage all residents to take interest in the springs and make moves to protect them,” she said.

Her work had been enjoyed by art-lovers all over the state, country and globe.

The Gainesville artist believes that the springs are one of the most exotic features of the state.

She has noticed the effects of pollution on the springs.

“I have watched my paintings change over the years due to changes in the ecology of the springs,” she said. “For example, there is algae in some of my more recent paintings that were not there before.’

Tolbert uses her work to share her concerns with conservationists, locals, and art lovers alike.

“I like to imagine that the scene I see is the same others say hundreds of years before,” she said. “Yet I know that they have changed.”

She attributes to changes to expansion and growth.

“We have to be careful about the materials we allow to enter in our aquifer,” Tolbert said. “What goes on now will show up years later and then it will be too late.’

Her work had been admired in countries including Turkey, Sweden and Australia.

She said that traveling around the world has heightened he awareness of the treasures at home.

Some of her work depicts underwater scenes with light streaming from the water’s surface.

“You can’t always tell what the paintings are when you first look at them,” she said. “They show two worlds colliding.”

Tolbert work in oil because she likes the way she can simulate light shimmering off the water of the springs.

She sometimes ventures through the springs in a canoe with her brushes and supplies tucked inside a Tupperware container and an easel at her side.

In addition, she enjoys taking a rejuvenating swim afterward.

She also writes about her experiences and paintings to further document the beauty of the springs.

“You notice details later and writing about them makes you celebrate the beauty even more,” Tolbert said.

In Ichetucknee River, she writes,” As you go down the river you leave a lot behind; the burden of identity, staggering disappointment, heaviness of pretension. Somewhere along the way, you abandon these things you stop struggling. Lie on the force of the water, it carries you down. You don’t have any choice. The water moves you along. You leave things behind.”

–Ashley Cisneros
Ashley Cisneros is a co-founder of Chatter Buzz Media, an Orlando Internet marketing firm that helps companies and organizations engage with their target markets through inbound marketing via the Internet. Chatter Buzz Media, which won the Social Madness competition for the Orlando small business market, is a full-service digital marketing firm specializing in website design, search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing and content creation. Prior to founding Chatter Buzz, Ashley worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine editor, technical writer, marketing manager, public relations practitioner and freelance journalist. To see Ashley’s content writing, visit You can also reach Ashley on her Google profile.

By | 2017-04-28T07:32:45+00:00 March 27th, 2005|Categories: Blog, News, Samples|Tags: , , , , , , , |0 Comments

About the Author:

Ashley Cisneros Mejia is a journalist, entrepreneur and marketer. She began her career as a newspaper reporter and later as an editor at Florida Trend business magazine. Ashley has worked as a professional freelance writer since 2009, as a technical writer, marketing manager, and public relations practitioner. She also founded two digital marketing agencies in Orlando. Named one of Orlando’s 40 Under 40 and honored by the Women’s Executive Council of Orlando for achievements in media and communications, Ashley earned a B.S. in Journalism and an M.S. in Entrepreneurship at the University of Florida.

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