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Science and Environment Council and Elizabeth Moore Present



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2-Day Pass only $42

includes 2 days of sessions and 2 evening receptions

April 25-27, 2018

Fast-paced panels, presentations & networking

45 Sponsors

Thank you for making this happen!


Connect. Engage. Activate.

Get ready for a fast-paced, engaging program with expert panel discussions, Viewpoints from community thought leaders, and provocative lightning talks that weave connections between our environmental heritage and a resilient future, between the health of natural habitats and our quality of life.  Two full-days at New College of Florida April 26-27.  Join our email list for updates as our program develops!

Kick-off Keynote Reception:

Jack Davis, Environmental Historian and Author

6-8 pm Wednesday April 25, WAVE Center, Mote Marine Laboratory (MAP)

Jack E. Davis is the Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Gulf: The Making of An American Sea and professor of environmental history and sustainability studies at the University of Florida.  He is a vivid and lyrical storyteller bringing the Gulf of Mexico to life as the main character in lively tales of scoundrels and hucksters, booms and busts, senseless pillage and nature’s revenge.  The New York Times praised Davis for writing “a beautiful homage to a neglected sea, a lyrical paean to its remaining estuaries and marshes, and a marvelous mash-up of human and environmental history.”

After the Keynote address, meet Jack Davis and other Summit speakers while enjoying light bites and a Siesta Key Rum signature cocktail sponsored by Mote Marine Laboratory.

Bayfront Networking Reception:

When the good stuff happens

5-7 pm Thursday April 26, College Hall, New College Bayfront (MAP)

If you can sketch it on a cocktail napkin, it can happen. Network and find inspiration from the patio of the historic Charles Ringling mansion on beautiful Sarasota Bay. Enjoy catered hors d’ouvres sponsored by Zildjian Catering and a special selection of wine and craft beer sponsored by Calusa Brewery.

Day 1 Sessions (Thursday April 26 – Sudakoff Conference Center, New College)


8:15 – 8:45 Check-In and Coffee
8:45 – 9:10 Welcome

Billion Dollar Bays

9:10-10:30 Thurs April 26

Directors of all four of Florida’s  National Estuary Programs from Tampa Bay, Sarasota Bay, Charlotte Harbor, and Indian River Lagoon will be on hand to discuss progress and challenges of restoring fishable, swimmable bay waters that sustain our quality of life and economy. Then buckle up for a round of lightning talks on Sarasota Bay dolphins, Sarasota Bay fisheries, the life story of the prized tarpon, and maybe some estuary time travel.

Mark Alderson, SBEP
Dr. Duane De Freese, IRLNEP
Jennifer Hecker, CHNEP
Ed Sherwood, TBEP
Moderator: Dr. David Shafer, Shafer Consulting

Lightning Round:
Courtney Saari, FWRI
JoEllen Wilson, Bonefish Tarpon Trust
Dr. Randy Wells, Sarasota Bay Dolphin Program
Jeff Rodgers, South Florida Museum

It’s All About Clean Water

10:50-12:30 Thurs April 26

The watershed encompasses several distinct habitats from uplands to tributaries to estuaries to gulf, all linked by the flow of water.  Clean waters are the basis of a healthy environment.  We’ve made great progress in improving water quality in the bay; what are todays priorities for keeping land-based pollution like trash, oil, and excess nutrients and bacteria out of our creeks and bays? What do we need to do now to thrive for the next 50 years and what might happen if we don’t?

Viewpoint by Dr. Emily Hall

Rob Brown, Manatee County

Ben Quartermaine, Sarasota County
John Ryan, Sarasota County
Dr. Dave Tomasko, ESA
Moderator: Chris Warn, ESA

Lightning Round:
Arthur Jensen, Sarasota County
Chris Wenzel, Newtown Alive
Mollie Holland, Sarasota County
Ronda Ryan, Sarasota Bay Watch

Land, Legacy & Special Places

1:30-3:10 Thurs April 26

We are the last generation that can acquire remaining priority environmental lands. Meet some of the architects of local land conservation and hear our success stories.  Learn what’s at stake and what it takes to get deals done using novel partnerships and new models for land use planning.  Then in the lightning round, hear from scientists and land managers about our local special places like Myakka River Basin, Triangle Ranch, Warm Mineral Springs,  Legacy Trail, and a candid conversation with an endemic Florida Scrub Jay.

Viewpoint by Jono Miller & Julie Morris with Cooper Levy-Baker

Christine Johnson, Conservation Foundation
Aliki Moncrief, Florida Conservation Voters
Charlie Hunsicker, Manatee County
Jon Robinson, Sarasota County

Lightning Round:
Tony Clements, Oscar Scherer State Park
Elizabeth Moore
Doug Hattaway, Trust for Pubic Lands
Rebecca O’Sullivan, Florida Public Archaeology Network

Science & Advocacy in the Public Square

3:30-4:45 Thursday April 26

It’s complicated.  Sometimes science says one thing, yet we do something else. So what’s the best way to navigate this disconnect between science and policy when public goals conflict? Should scientists speak up?  Experts in marine science, environmental law, resource management and political science will discuss the divergent roles of scientists and advocates, the do’s and don’ts in maintaining public trust in science, and the challenges of communicating scientific nuance and uncertainty while avoiding analysis paralysis.

Viewpoint by Jon Thaxton with Lee Amos

Betsy Benac, Manatee County Commissioner
Justin Bloom, Esq., Suncoast Waterkeeper
Dr. Michael Crosby, Mote Marine Laboratory
Julie Morris, New College of Florida
Moderator: Dr. Frank Alcock, New College of Florida

Day 2 Sessions (Friday April 27 – Sudakoff Conference Center, New College)


8:15 – 8:45 Check-in and Coffee

8:45 – 9:10 Welcome

Climate: The Times, They Are A-Changin’

9:10-12:10 Friday April 27

Climate change will exacerbate existing stresses on natural systems, water supply, health, community infrastructure, and heritage sites. Learn the latest climate projections for the Sarasota-Manatee region, and local solutions and initiatives for our built and natural environment. Test your knowledge of your carbon footprint with an interactive Drawdown challenge. Gain insight into the future of this age of environmental transformation.  Is it game over, or game on?

Viewpoint by Dr. Gary Mitchum

Viewpoint by David Houle with Tim Rumage

Interactive Audience Challenge with Lee Hayes Byron

Jim Beever, SWFRPC
Stevie Freeman-Montes, City of Sarasota
Dr. Mona Mangat, MD, Bay Area Allergy and Asthma
Kevin Morris, Peace River Regional Water Supply
Moderator: Cooper Levy-Baker, Sarasota Magazine

Lightning Round:
Jeff Moates, Florida Public Archaeology Network
Sean Sellers, Ready for 100
Sara Kane, Sarasota County
John Lambie

Urban Ecology: Making a Place for Nature

1:00-2:40 Friday April 27

Learn about the role of tipping points and unintended consequences in impacted ecosystems. How do we restore resilience?  Discover the rapidly growing field of urban ecology and techiniques being developed locally to mimic more natural conditions in our built environment. Can these new approaches restore water quality and fish and wildlife habitat in unexpected places? In the Lightning Round, hear from experts on innovative initiatives to bring fish, shellfish, and wildlife back to our rivers, creeks, and backyard ponds.

Viewpoint by Dr. Duane De Freese

Dr. John Kiefer, Wood
Dr. Jay Leverone, SBEP
Dr. Ryan Schloesser, Mote Marine Laboratory
Rob Wright, Sarasota Audubon
Moderator: Dr. Brad Oberle, New College

Lightning Round:
Damon Moore, Manatee County
Dr. Dave Blewett, FWRI
Sean Patton, New College of Florida Alumnus
Darcy Young, Sarasota Bay Estuary Program

Science Communication & Public Engagement

2:50-4:45 Friday April 27

Traditional educational approaches for increasing public understanding of science often fall short. Facts are not enough to change perceptions and behavior.  Is there a need for new more inclusive approaches in community engagement that allow expression of diverse worldviews and perspectives of all concerned? Or is targeted social marketing that highlights the personal benefits of action more effective? What are the best communication and engagement strategies when public trust of science is low?  From enviro-art to eco-fitness to citizen-science, hear from innovative educators about how they spark engagement.

Viewpoint by John McCarthy with Brian Lutz

Dr. Tracy Fanara, Mote Marine Laboratory
Melissa Nell, Manatee County
Nanette O’Hara, O’Hara Communications
Jennifer Rubiello, Environment Florida Research & Policy Center
Moderator: Dr. Abbey Tyrna, UF/IFAS Sarasota

Lightning Round:
Erin Struzzieri, Manatee County
Tracy Calla, Selby Gardens
Karen Willey, Around the Bend
Armando Ubeda, SeaGrant

A few of the many voices

David Houle

Elizabeth Moore

Duane De Freese, PhD
Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program Director

Emily Hall, PhD
Marine Chemist

Gary Mitchum, PhD

Christine Johnson

Land Conservation Leader

Mona Mangat, MD

Lee Hayes Byron
Sustainability Director

Charlie Hunsicker
Parks & Natural Resources Director

Jon Thaxton
Community Leader

Jono Miller
Environmental Leader

Betsy Benac
Manatee County Commissioner

Join Us

This community-wide event is a catalyst for creativity, learning, and collaboration. This is our premiere environmental event – it happens but once every five years.

Our Sponsors

Please join our Sponsors to make this happen!


Elizabeth Moore






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Please contact David Shafer to discuss sponsorship opportunities: 941-232-9952. Download (pdf) 2018 Summit Sponsor Package


Pay online by credit card or mail check to: Science and Environment Council of Southwest Florida, Inc., PO Box 2879, Sarasota, FL 34230.

Advancing Our Legacy

We stand at a generational transition for environmental awareness and conservation. Many of our pioneer environmentalists, working since the 70s and 80s have retired, or are contemplating retirement — and a new generation is now at their desks or out in the field, trying to figure it all out. The Summit will connect these generations to share history, insights and inspiration.

Get Tickets

Summit All Access Pass
Wednesday-Friday April 25-27
All Summit Sessions at New College April 26-27 8:45 am-4:45 pm
Evening Bayfront Reception at New College April 26 5-7 pm
Coffee Service and Lunches During Sessions
Exclusive Logo Gear
Also Included: Keynote Reception at Mote Marine Aquarium April 25 6-8 pm, subject to space availability
No paper tickets will be issued.  You will receive a payment receipt by email, and we’ll send a follow-up email with check-in and event info prior to the Summit.

Make Connections at the 2018 Environmental Summit

It’s all connected: our environment, economy and quality of life; healthy habitats and thriving fish and wildlife; strong science, education and balanced policy; our environmental legacy and a resilient future.

Big Impact

The Sarasota Manatee environmental community last convened in 2012 — the results continue to reverberate in the community. The meeting inspired collaborations leading to the preservation of Robinson Preserve Annex, expansion of the Science and Environment Council as a collaborative catalyst, and a new era of cooperation and collaboration in research, restoration, and community engagement in the Phillippi Creek basin.

We Are The Science and Environment Council

A non-profit collaboration of 30+ leading environmental organizations working to increase science-based environmental understanding, conservation and restoration in Sarasota and Manatee Counties. Learn More >>>