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Kocher, Flores Honored for Documenting History of Barton Springs

From the time of the earliest inhabitants of Central Texas, Barton Springs has been a magnet for life, productivity, comfort, and survival. Karen Kocher and Monica Flores, two Austin-based documentary filmmakers, have spent years digging deep into the history, science, and spiritual aspects of springs, culminating in a digital humanities project, “Living Springs,” a series of five films documenting the history of Barton Springs.

At the AHCA Annual Meeting on May 7, the Katherine Drake Hart History Preservation Award for 2022 was presented to Karen Kocher and Monica Flores for their work on “Living Springs.”

In developing the project, Kocher and Flores curated the content from over 30 private and public archival collections. Their work represents a unique collaboration with groups and individuals including Austin History Center, Austin American-Statesman, City of Austin, Austin Chronicle, environmental organizations and civic groups, and dozens of individual citizens who contributed from their own personal archives.

One of the five films, “Origins of a Green Identity,” explores Austin's early efforts to preserve Barton Springs and Barton Creek, and to ultimately develop a city with publicly accessible green spaces along Austin's waterways. It is part of the on-going effort to document Austin’s rich and diverse history.

The Katherine Drake Hart History Preservation Award was established in 1991 by AHCA founder Sue McBee. The award honors Katherine Drake Hart, the founder and first director of the Austin-Travis County Collection, precursor of the Austin History Center.


Karen Kocher (left) and Monica Flores, winners of the 2022 Katherine Drake Hart Award.

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