John McCarthy is a native Floridian who has invested his professional career in helping to engage people in the appreciation of nature, modern architecture, and local history. John began his life on Ft. Myers Beach, Florida, and moved with his family to Sarasota in 1968. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from Goshen College. In 1979 John began a 32-year career with Sarasota County Government, serving as Environmental Specialist, County Historian and Director of Parks and Recreation. As parks director, John championed initiatives related to sustainability, historic preservation, community health and economic development.
Throughout his career, John has offered hundreds of lectures, illustrated programs and tours. A wide range of John’s arcles published in Sarasota Magazine seek to inspire readers to explore nature and gain a beter appreciation for their community. John has served as moderator for historical, scientific, and medical symposia, a role that he is particularly suited for.
Known for giving his time freely to the community, John has received a number of awards, including Hero of History by the Historical Society of Sarasota County (2017), Citizen of the Year by the Council of Neighborhood Associations (2018) and Community Partner of the Year by the Junior League of Sarasota (2021).
John’s personal interests include cycling, kayaking, woodworking, mid-century modern design, and writing. John is professionally immersed in history and nature as the Vice President for Regional History for Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, in Sarasota Florida.