Doug Alderson's Writing & Photography

              

     "I have always heard to write what you know, but I like to embark on new writing projects to learn more about a particular subject."

Doug Alderson prefers a kayak to a desk, hugs trees and friends, and loves observing alligators, manatees and other wildlife in their natural environment. Most of his 15 published books focus on the dynamic and quirky nature of his home state of Florida. They include America's AlligatorWild Florida Waters, Waters Less Traveled, New Dawn for the Kissimmee RiverEncounters with Florida's Endangered Wildlife and A New Guide to Old Florida Attractions, which the Florida Writers Association placed in the top five of published books for 2017. He has won five first place Royal Palm Literary awards for nonfiction books and several other state and national writing and photography awards. 

Doug's articles and photographs have also been published in Native Peoples, Wildlife Conservation, American Forests, Sea Kayaker, Sierra, Mother Earth News, Shaman's Drum, Campus Life, America, The Old Farmer's Almanac, AT Journeys, Rails to Trails, New Age Travel and several others. He has been a featured speaker at symposiums, writer's conferences and book fairs, and  has appeared in media outlets such as the New York Times, National Geographic website, Boston Globe, and Adventure Kayak magazine for his writing and trail work. He is also an adventurer, having  hiked the entire Appalachian Trail, coordinated a group walk across the United States, backpacked through Europe, and mapped a 1,500-mile sea kayaking trail around Florida.

Recent Happenings

At their October 2021 awards ceremony, the Florida Writers Association awarded Doug a gold royal palm literary award for nonfiction for America's Alligator! "It was a fun and rewarding book to write from start to finish," Doug said. "My research path led me to unusual places, including the Ma Barker shootout near Ocala and alleged alligators in the White House." 

2021 was a big year in other ways since Pineapple Press published two of Doug's books. The first is Florida's Rivers, a full color hardback that features more than 40 of the Sunshine State's dynamic waterways. This is the culmination of many years of Doug's river journey's around the Sunshine State, and balancing a camera on a kayak. The book pays homage to the incredible beauty and diversity of Florida's waterways and the need to protect them. The Tallahassee Democrat published a full-length feature about the book. Learn about how you can help Florida's rivers. View a recent PowerPoint program about the book with the Boynton Beach Library.

The other new release is the second edition of Traveling Florida's Seminole Trail, a comprehensive illustrated guide to Florida's historic and cultural sites that directly relate to Seminole Indians. Listen to a podcast about the book with Patrick Swan of the Seminole Wars Foundation.

In 2020, Lyons Press published Doug's America's Alligator: A Popular History of Our Most Celebrated Reptile. Read an excerpt from chapter 7 on the Florida Rambler website. Tom Palmer of The Ledger in Winter Haven called it "a great read no matter what you think you already know... This is a book worth including in any Florida library." Philip K. Jason, writing in the Southern Literary Review, said,  "The appeal of this book does not rest only on its effective storytelling and educative power. The illustrations, photographic and otherwise, are dazzling and contribute much to the overall impact of the book." Watch an entertaining interview with Doug about the book on Author Jam with Dr. Shelley Plumb. 

Also in 2020, Pineapple Press released the second edition of A New Guide to Old Florida Attractions: From Mermaids to Singing Towers! The full color book received positive press coverage such as this article in the St. Augustine Record and a full-length feature by Gary White in the Lakeland Ledger and several other newspapers.  Phil Jason wrote a glowing review in the Naples Florida Weekly and other newspapers and Alexander Cendrowski wrote one for  Saw Palm Journal.  Many people use the guide to plan vacations! See Doug's November, 2020 Boynton Beach Library presentation about Old Florida attractions! 

Doug has helped to coordinate the highly successful Apalachicola RiverTrek for several years, highlighting the plight of the Apalachicola River and Bay and raising funds for Apalachicola Riverkeeper. Doug and co-leader Georgia Ackerman were featured on the Canoe & Kayak Magazine website. Support RiverTrek! Read the Tallahassee Democrat feature article Doug wrote about the 2021 RiverTrek. Watch the WFSU video about the 2021 journey.

Waters Less Traveled Vision Keepers New Dawn for the Kissimmee River
 
The Ghostly Ghost Tour of St. Augustine Through Time and Wilderness Encounters with Florida's Endangered Wildlife
 
    

                                               

                                     

Nostalgic Florida: Iconic Vintage Art of the Sunshine State: An all-color pictorial history of all that has come to represent Florida in print media. If you love the Sunshine State, you will love this book. To be released September 1, 2022!

Florida's Rivers: A Celebration of Over 40 of the Sunshine State's Dynamic Waterways: The rivers of Florida are steeped in natural and cultural history. They are avenues through time, allowing us to wrap ourselves in a rich tapestry, and they are showcases for wildlife and natural beauty. This full color 184-page hardback is a wonderful keepsake and makes a perfect gift for the outdoors lover.

America's Alligator: A Popular History of Our Most Celebrated Reptile examines the colorful and sometimes conflicted relationship our species has had with the American alligator, from Native American mythology to alligator wrestling to modern alligator attractions. Alligator-related songs, movies, literature and even tales of alligators in the White House are all included. The book is in full color! Winner of the 2021 gold royal palm literary award for nonfiction by the Florida Writers Association.

A New Guide to Old Florida Attractions (2nd edition) takes readers on an unforgettable journey across the Sunshine State, exploring the history of Florida tourism and featuring nearly 50 attractions still open to the public. Discover what Florida's golden age of tourism was, and still is, all about― magical, beautiful and fun! This 200-page book is in full color. 

Spooky Stories from the Swamp: Tales from the Florida Back Country is a re-issue of Doug's Ghost Orchid Ghost book with five new stories. These are family friendly spine-tingling tales that convey both Florida history and an appreciation for our great swamps.

Wild Florida Adventures covers journeys on both land and water with useful how-to information at the end of each chapter. From kayaking the length of the Florida Keys to searching for record-sized trees in a huge swamp to meeting the famous naked man of the Santa Fe River, this complementary sequel to Wild Florida Waters takes readers into Florida's unique places. First place award winner from the Florida Writers Association. Conor Mihel of Canoe & Kayak Magazine calls it "a compelling glimpse of Florida."

Simon's Wondrous Garden and Other Stories  chronicles the life of an Atlanta attorney who begins having paranormal experiences after a car accident. Reaching back to his farm roots, he is inspired to turn his manicured suburban yard into an odorous vegetable garden, provoking the wrath of his wife and neighbors. What follows is both humorous and profound.

Traveling Florida's Seminole Trail (Pineapple Press) is a comprehensive illustrated guide to Florida's historic and cultural sites that directly relate to Seminole Indians. The span of Seminole history covered in the book ranges from William Bartram's visits to Seminole villages in the early 1770s to the tragic Seminole wars to contemporary Seminole attractions.

Wild Florida Waters: Exploring the Sunshine State by Kayak and Canoe places Florida's unsurpassed beauty and abundant wildlife in the forefront, from the mangrove labyrinth of the Ten Thousand Islands to the springfed Ichetucknee River. It includes an exciting dose of paddling adventures along with useful how-to information. Silver award winner from the Florida Outdoor Writers Association and Florida Writers Association. Doug read from his book on the WFSU television show Dimensions.  Donna Meredith reviewed the book in the Southern Literary Review.  

Seminole Freedom is a novel based on true historical events, newly revised in 2021. Following the life of Jenny as she grows into womanhood and endures the long and bitter Seminole wars, this tale of hardship, bravery and freedom explores the little known role of Black Seminoles in the shaping of American history.

Encounters with Florida's Endangered Wildlife (University Press of Florida) features chapters tracking panthers, black bears, whooping cranes, manatees, sea turtles, even ivory-billed woodpeckers. This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to know more about wild Florida. 

Through Time and National Parks: Doug sets out to retrace his grandparents' 1939 western journey with a burning question: are the panoramic landscapes, especially those found in our national parks, as relevant and captivating today as they were more than 75 years ago?

The Ghostly Ghost Tour of St. Augustine and Other Tales from Florida's Coast: Where else but Florida can you find a greater treasure-trove of tales filled with pirates, shipwrecked sailors, ghostly sea captains and lost tribes of Native Americans? Also available on Kindle and audio.

New Dawn for the Kissimmee River: Orlando to Lake Okeechobee by Kayak (University Press of Florida) uses a 12-day expedition to highlight the ongoing restoration of the Kissimmee River. First place award winner from both the Florida Writers Association and Florida Outdoor Writers Association.

The Vision Keepers: Walking For Native Americans and the Earth, (Quest Books) covers Doug's long-distance United States walks and experiences with Native American people, including an Oklahoma Muscogee spiritual leader named Bear Heart..

Doug's first book, Waters Less Traveled: Exploring Florida's Big Bend Coast (University Press of Florida), chronicles a 9-day sea kayaking adventure along a Gulf Coast wilderness. Salty characters, colorful history and amusing tales are all included. Runner up for Best Travel Book of 2006 by the North American Travel Journalists Association.

Doug is a proud member of the Florida Writers Association, Florida Authors and Publishers Association, Tallahassee Writers Association, Florida Paddling Trails Association, Florida Trail Association, Sierra Club, Apalachicola Riverkeeper, Friends of Wakulla Springs, and Apalachee Canoe and Kayak Club.

2022 Public Appearances

  • January 29-30: FL Trail Assoc. Southern Regional Conference (virtual)
  • March 3: Wewahitchka Library
  • March 8: Port St. Joe Library
  • March 20: Paddle Florida, Chipola River
  • April 4: WMNF 88.5 Tampa, Sustainability program
  • April 13: Institute for Learning & Retirement, Boca Raton (virtual)
  • April 21: Florida Trail Association, Alligator Amblers Chapter (virtual)
  • April 22: FL Circumnavigational Trail Gathering, Oleno State Park
  • May 21: Gulf Specimen Marine Aquarium
  • June 24: Lady Lake Library
  • Sept. 14: Nostalgic Florida book launch! Midtown Reader, 7 p.m., Tallahassee
  • Sept. 26: Taylor County Public Library

Doug enjoys doing book signings, PowerPoint programs and guiding groups in the outdoors. For events outside of the Tallahassee area, an honorarium is requested to cover travel expenses. Contact Doug for a complete list of programs he offers, dougalderson@comcast.net.

Photography

Doug is an accomplished photographer specializing in nature photos. He is interested in sharing the timeless beauty of land and water with his audience. A few of his photos are shown below. You can view more of Florida's landscapes, plants and animals here. Doug won contest categories in the 2007, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 National Recreation Trails photo contests.

 

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