Posted on 19th November 2009 by admin in

Rolande Reverdy Moorhead –  Fenhollaway River

The most rotten river in Florida flows into the Gulf of Mexico. In 1947, the State of Florida classified the Fenhollaway River as the only “Class 5” or “Industrial River” stating that the river’s only suitable use would be as a dumping ground for industrial waste. The state wanted to attract industries to the area.

In 1954, Procter and Gamble Company opened their pulp mill in Perry, Florida. The Buckeye Cellulose Corporation plant is located 50 miles southeast of Tallahassee, the state capital. Ever since its opening, this mill has discharged 46 million gallons of polluted wastewater into the spring-fed Fenhollaway River every day.

Discharge from the pulp mill causes unnatural coloring to the river giving it the appearance of tea. In some areas the water is black. The rotten cabbage stench from the mill spreads over a twenty mile radius. This discharge is changing the ecology of the river and of the surrounding region. Many fish species have disappeared. Wildlife breeding grounds have disappeared. The growth of natural sea-grass so important to wildlife is impaired. Where the Fenhollaway River empties into the Gulf, ten miles of shoreline in either direction is a dead zone.

The river water is very low in oxygen levels. It is salty and sulfur-tinged and also contains dioxins and endocrine disruptors at very dangerous levels. The only surviving fish-the mosquitofish which has both gills and lungs-has shown mutative changes.

Not only is wastewater from the plant causing terrible devastation to the environment, but people who live in this environment have shown well above average incidences of cancers.


JUNE 2009


The Krka River bordering Croatia and Slovenia is a very beautiful, scenic body of water upon which I traveled during the late spring of 2008. Influenced by that memorable day, I imagined the river in an autumn setting and created the tapestry, Dream River.

The weaving was fabricated with a multitude of colorful yarns, varying in width and texture. My rendition presents an aerial view of a beautiful, crisp fall day, with the changing leaves, and clear blue water reflecting the sunny skies above.

Scattered throughout the riverscape, Dream River, are small islands of browns, yellows, oranges and greens denoting the fall foliage in and around the river.

I chose fiber for its richness and softness which, for me, best expresses my  “ideal river”-environmentally safe with no pollutants, no debris-just clear, pristine water the way all our waterways must be to sustain our planet.

by artist Judith Schwab of Davie, Fl.


The Legend of the New Year Ft. Lauderdale Florida

As told by the Seminoles, “ the Great Spirit opened the ground and the river formed making water roads from the Everglades to the Sea.” This peaceful Seminal group, is honored by a New River flowing as a peace symbol.

Perhaps the inspiration of the students at the Spring Gate School, where I was working as a volunteer, on the Global Rivers project, gave me the idea to just have fun with my depiction of the New River.

I wanted to capture the feeling of the wilderness of the appearance of this delicate eco system, without showing the commerce taking place. By painting fragments of trees I was trying to capture the joy of the Nature that we wish to improve and preserve, for eternity. I chose not to show the damage that has taken place by the footprint of humanity. I focused on the positive with an eye on what’s possible if we work together. The sea and the beach are at the bottom of the scroll while the top captures my vision of the River of Grass known as the Everglades. The sides embody the rich carpet of flora and fauna from earth to sky. The fish are a symbol of all wild life. I live on a tributary of the New River and I marvel at its beauty in every kind of weather, from ferocious storms to bluer than blue skies. On those gorgeous blue sky days I feel like I can touch the clouds.

River Revitalized The St John’s  – Vicky Lennon

The waters of Jacksonville have been an important part of my family since we moved here in 1970.  At that time, Jacksonville’s St. John’s River was significantly polluted with local industries dumping their toxic chemicals directly into the river.  Our citizens and government have don’t a lot to clean our river since then, from the closing of several polluting plants, monitoring the levels of pollutants in the water to addressing the storm water runoff which was killing river life.  They have also developed a public outreach program, which airs public service announcements, established a River Keeper positions to monitor the rivers and created an educational program for local school children.

As I now enjoy boating with my grandchildren, and watch their excitement when they see school of dolphin which live in the river, realizing that these sightings are a direct result of the steps we have taken to clean the river over the past three decades.  I appreciate the work that has been done to protect the St. John’s River and am proud that we are leaving a legacy of environmental sensitivity to the next generation.  It is my hope that my grandchildren will continue this legacy as we turn the challenge to maintain healthy rivers over to their generation.

With my piece, I show the improvement I have seen over the many years of living and boating in Jacksonville.  While planning River Revitalized – the St. John’s, my thoughts began with the dark polluted waters caused by the uncaring industry, unthinking boaters and yard chemical runoffs.  They soon progressed to the brightness of current and future waters resulting from improved conditions generated by careful and thoughtful citizens.

The Magnificent Colorado River
by Liora Goldfield Davis

Severe drought and burgeoning growth have been wreaking havoc on the Colorado River, endangering critical habitats and diverse species, destroying beaches, and affecting it’s magnificent canyons.

Only two of the four native species of fish remain, and they are declining rapidly. The humpback chub is one and has been around for four million years. How quickly we have been unraveling that which has existed for so long.
In my portrayal of the Colorado carving it’s way through the Grand Canyon, I have included some “rock art” on the lower canyons. These symbols are taken from real petroglyphs near and in the Grand Canyon. Some if it is believed to be from 1000 B.C.

The Colorado River has carved its way through the Colorado Plateau for millions of years.
Over thirty million people now rely on the life and flow of this river, but it is now in danger due to invasive non-native species, climate change, over tapping, and pollution. Dams in seven states destroy it’s habitats, block off vital nutrients and alter the natural ebb and flow on which native plants and animals depend. Energy companies are now quickly sucking up it’s water, and soiling it’s shore despite the fact that this river provides drinking water for one of 12 Americans.

I feel passionately about this river having marveled at it in several of the states it flows through. Now this once mighty river is struggling to reach the ocean.
Wake up! Save the Earth! Save our Rivers!”

Liora Goldfield Davis
Member 2+3
Plantation, FL.


  1. Fenhollaway River, by Rolande Reverdy Moorhead, is a really striking piece. I love how the toxic waste and the pollution are so in your face, you can’t deny how bad that river is. Florida is a beautiful place, and it’s terrible to think that this is how it will eventually look, unless something positive is done to correct this awful situation. This is why the global rivers art project is so great, it’s bringing awareness to people about their rivers. It certainly opened my eyes. You always hear about saving the ocean, but this is the first time I’ve ever really taken a good look at the rivers.

    Comment by Christina Anderson — February 12, 2010 @ 1:42 pm

  2. I love Betty Usdan work. The fact that she created this amazing scenic body of water working with fiber is amazing. This took devotion and dedication to actually to actually work with fiber which looks like a painting. BRAVO Betty…

    Comment by cherise — March 2, 2010 @ 6:16 am

  3. Artist Betty Usdan has an eye for striking color combinations and an exceptional sensibility for form. Her river weaving is vibrant and exciting, just as a river is on a beautiful sunny day! I hope to see more of her fiber arts!

    Comment by Erica Howat — March 8, 2010 @ 12:39 pm

  4. Fenhollaway River is an incredibly moving piece. It reminds me of the warnings posted to pirates in the form of captured pirates bodies hung on a tree along the shoreline. This painting is a warning to the world of what is happening to our water sources.

    Comment by Cofie Toy — September 23, 2010 @ 5:30 pm

  5. Cofie, once again my heart goes out to this river too. It’s almost like it was made a sacrific to cosmetics…

    Comment by admin — September 23, 2010 @ 8:28 pm

  6. I enjoy the Magnificent Colorado River cause it shows how deep the river was at one time and how it has evolved over the years to become a very shallow river.

    Comment by Brendon Kirby — September 24, 2010 @ 12:33 am

  7. All these paintingsare magnificent. The beautiful colors really make them stand out. The Fenhollaway River painting was truely an eye opener. It is awful to see just how much pollution there really is.

    Comment by Chae' Ellis — September 24, 2010 @ 4:38 pm

  8. The Fenhollaway River is an interesting work of art. This painting shows how polluted some rivers are and it is a warning to all of humanity to stop polluting the water sources.

    Comment by Sabrina Bowles — September 25, 2010 @ 8:19 pm

  9. The Legend of the New Year Ft. Lauderdale Florida
    my faviort piece just how beautiful that pieces is. It has a lot of beauty of the colors and the feeling really show how they feel. Lots of emotion.

    Comment by Summer Brown — September 27, 2010 @ 7:11 am

  10. the pictures in the flordia tab are incredible. The pictures are so life like and symbolize the rivers that are in florida. The first one is showing how the rivers are polluted. Hopefully everyone will see this site and help prevent pollution to some of the worlds beautiful waters. My favorite of the arts is the BETTY USDAN ZWICKLER it was woven beautifully to perfection. It gives a great life-like image.

    Comment by Lindsey Jennings — September 27, 2010 @ 2:07 pm

  11. These paintings are remarkable. After seeing these paintings I hope people will think about how much pollution we do really does pollute the rivers and other water sources around us.

    Comment by Heather Hopper — September 28, 2010 @ 7:47 pm

  12. These Flordia painting are really good. They make me sad because people don’t realize the importantance of keeping the earth clean. I really hope that people will see how important it is not to pollute the earth.

    Comment by Jodi Miller — October 1, 2010 @ 3:30 pm

  13. The variety of expression from Florida is astounding.It has been and continues to be a pleasure to work to improve awareness for clean water.Thanks for posting this.Judith schwab

    Comment by judithschwab — February 8, 2011 @ 6:30 am

  14. I really love these. Especially the third one. I love the color and the life that it has.

    Comment by Mary Miller Horner — March 12, 2013 @ 9:04 pm

  15. Thank you very much Rolande. As a person who has worked for over 25 years to get the Fenholloway River cleaned up of it’s toxic effluent from the Buckeye pulp mill, I appreciate your work very much. Thank you again !

    Comment by Joy Towles Ezell — May 4, 2013 @ 12:16 pm

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