The Sarsota Bay Watershed Symposium: Science, Policy & Education

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New College of Florida, in partnership with the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program, presented the Sarasota Bay Watershed Symposium February 17-19, 2012.The Symposium brought together 252 participants, including scientists (27%), educators (19%), policy makers (6%), business leaders (13%), students (15%), and the interested public (21%) to address environmental issues in Sarasota Bay and her watersheds.

Altogether, a team of 99 individuals from across the professional, citizen and academic community contributed their time, knowledge and creativity to plan and carry out the Symposium Program.  Invited contributors numbered 74, including two keynote speakers (see Appendix A), a series of six discussion sessions, a visioning session, a science poster session (see Appendix B), native plant display, an art exhibit, and a synthesis and listening session with the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program Policy Board.  Discussion sessions each featured a plenary roundtable discussion with invited experts, followed by concurrent breakout discussions lead by experts where participants could further explore and discuss sub-topics of the issues from the plenary.

Sessions on Day 1 focused on habitat connections, science-policy connections and socio-economic connections.  Sessions on Day 2 were place-based, examining the dynamic complexity of topics identified during Day 1 through local case-studies. Lessons learned, solutions and next steps were identified.  Locations included Palma Sola Bay Watershed, Bradenton; Phillippi Creek and North Roberts Bay Watershed, Sarasota; and the Sarasota Bay Watershed, Sarasota-Bradenton and the Islands.

Ten hours of plenary proceedings were video captured and live streamed to the internet, and are available on-demand on the Sarasota Water Atlas.  This video plus summaries of proceedings were uploaded to create 105 pages of new content on the Coastal Watershed Wiki on the Sarasota Water Atlas (http://www.sarasota.wateratlas.usf.edu/wiki).