April 24, 2014

Tourism and Entertainment

Trendsetters - June 2006

Mike Vogel | 6/1/2006
Call of the Wild -- Robert Seidler


Robert Seidler
Seidler Productions
Founder
Sopchoppy

Seidler Productions: "It gives me a lifestyle I enjoy and do things I really love."

Places that have put people "back in the picture": Fishhawk Ranch near Tampa; downtown Winter Garden; Dunedin.

Quote: "I'm very optimistic about the future of Florida."

Torn: With a mother who was a Blackfeet Indian and a father who was a chemist and businessman, Seidler feels pulled between business and nature.

Growing up in Tarpon Springs, Robert Seidler "was in love with everything outdoors." He raised turtles and explored local waters. And while he aced standardized tests, he brought home either A's or F's from school. "I was kind of a paradox," he says. After being laid off from a union electrician job, Seidler went to Florida State University, majored in communications and biology and found his path.

Seidler, 53, runs Seidler Productions, a maker of films and documentaries, some airing on PBS, some instructional, on bike safety and education and nature-based tourism. The mix befits a founder who was the first president of the Florida Bicycle Association and is involved in a local gourmet pizza shop and outfitter. Cyclist, hiker, kayak fisherman, he'll quote Schopenhauer a moment after talking about a bicycling-hiking-fishing-paddling trip.

He's at work on a documentary on the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Florida Trail Association, the group building a 1,400-mile path through Florida. He's also at work on a film, "Realizing and Recovering the Sustainable Green Dollar," on the nature-based and heritage-based economy.

Seidler recently moved from Wakulla to Sopchoppy to a home he built on the site of a 1920s Nehi company fish campgrounds. The house has a solar water heater, geothermal recovery system and is wired for solar energy so that he can someday go off the grid.

"The solutions we need for our society are already working in nature," he says. "I just want to share that with others."

Tags: Dining & Travel, Trendsetters, Around Florida

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