The title is awarded by the Seminole County Board of County Commissioners, in association with the Seminole Cultural Arts Council, each year. It honors the local artist who has used their talent to enrich Seminole County.
According to Carl Hiaasen, Bill Belleville “writes gorgeously and straight from the heart.” An environmental writer and documentary filmmaker, Belleville focuses on themes of nature, wildlife, and conservation in his works.
He has published over 1,000 essays and articles in various magazines, newspapers, and journals, including Oxford American, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Reader’s Digest, Newsweek, and Sierra Magazine. His book Losing it All to Sprawl: How Progress Ate My Cracker Landscape was named one of the Best Books of 2006 by Library Journal, won the bronze medal in Florida nonfiction in the 2006 Florida Book Awards, and received the 2007 Al Burt Award for Florida journalism. In 2011, he won the National Outdoor Book Award for Salvaging the Real Florida: Lost and Found in the State of Dreams.
His most recent work, The Peace of Blue: Water Journeys, received the silver medal in the 2014 Florida Book Award competition for Florida nonfiction. He talks more about the book in the interview with FirstCoast.tv below.
As a filmmaker, Belleville co-produced and scripted the Emmy award-winning Wekiva: Legacy or Loss?, a PBS documentary about the natural history of Wekiva River. Among several other documentaries, Belleville was associate producer and writer of a radio documentary on the manatees of Blue Spring for NPR’s “Living on Earth” program. He also co-produced and scripted In Marjorie’s Wake: Rediscovering Rawlings, a River & Time, a national PBS release in 2009.
Belleville’s commitment to environmental reporting earned him the Florida Lake Management Society’s Marjory Stoneham Douglas Award in 2011 for his dedication to aquatic issues. Over the years, he has also received the Excellence in Column Writing Award from the Florida Magazine Association, the Environmental Writer of the Year Award from the Florida Audubon and the Florida Wildlife Federation, and the Carol & Bob Grimes Environmental Award, among various other honors.
Belleville continues to write and speak on the environment. At the beginning of the year, he presented The Peace of Blue as part of the Ocean Science Lecture Series, which can be viewed below.
You can also take a closer look at the books he has published with the University Press of Florida.