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Ron Coley celebrates our underwater world through his life’s work. He is esteemed as an award winning filmmaker, innovator of SCUBA equipment, and educational leader during his tenure as Director of the Aquarena Center.

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The Fountains of Saint Mark

The Fountains of St. Mark is a love story, a legacy to be cherished and held fast. Ron Coley’s images illustrate the fragility and strength of this spiritual place. The essays speak to the new world that is waiting for each of us under the rocks in our own backyards.

The Fountains of St. Mark, Texas hill country artesian springs, are the source of the San Marcos River. These springs create a 16-acre lake, inhabited by humans for more than 12,000 years, making it one of the oldest continually inhabited sites in North America.

Today, Spring Lake is one of the most biologically diverse aquatic ecosystems in the United States. The San Marcos Springs have been named a critical habitat, with eight known endangered or threatened species, as identified by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife, based on declining numbers or loss of habitat.

Eight essays narrate the book, and more than 100 underwater photographs – most using stunning natural light – take the reader on an aquatic adventure in living color. Eight Janet Skaggs Hardin paintings, inspired by Coley’s photography, provide the foundation for this love story.

When songwriter John Prine wrote of Muhlenberg County, Kentucky, some may have thought it a regional song but it was much more. The difference in Western Kentucky and the Central Texas headwaters of the San Marcos River is that we still stand a chance of preserving this magical Paradise.

A Camelot essence flows through Coley’s book, as he dares to believe that these springs will last far longer than for one brief shining moment.

– Diana Finlay Hendricks

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