We welcome the New Year as a time of fresh beginnings and with renewed optimism in the fortitude and resilience of the SWFL community. We are well-equipped to recover from September’s hurricane, and emerge smarter and stronger, hopefully, more committed to conserving Earth’s resources with sustainable lifestyle choices. Growing Climate Solutions will kick off 2023 by bringing regional stakeholders together at the SWFL Climate and Community Summit on January 17. The Summit, postponed due to the storm, has an enhanced program running from 8:30 am to 2:30 pm and will be held at the Arthrex Innovation Center in North Naples. The six-part program includes combined presentations from environmental experts and agency representatives, with two professionally facilitated participatory sessions that will call on attendees to contribute and prioritize strategies for addressing regional climate challenges. Growing Climate Solutions and other Summit organizers will collaborate to compile public input into a comprehensive report for use by decision-makers throughout the region. We anticipate for it to provide guidance for policymakers and influence their approach to advancing an environmentally healthy, vibrant, and prosperous region. We encourage you to register at www.swflclimate.org.
If you’re looking to jumpstart a New Year’s resolution to downsize your carbon footprint AND consider a new car purchase in the foreseeable future, we hope you will join us for the next Y&HOW Sustainability Workshop on January 4th. Our speaker, Ms. Alisha Lopez of the Southeast Florida Regional Planning Council, will present Get Up to Speed on Electric Vehicles. We invite you to register HERE.
In December, the Y& How Sustainability Workshop focused on Hurricane Resilience and What Predicts Successful Coping. Featuring Dr. Charles Benight, Founder and Executive director of the Lyda Hill Institute of Human Resilience at the University of Colorado, the program addressed recovery from trauma and disasters, including hurricanes. We highly recommend reviewing the selection of training and practical resources further below in this newsletter or viewing the workshop recording here.
In mid-December, Bridget Washburn collaborated with students and teachers at Seacrest Country Day School in Naples to develop a native tree nursery supported by the Collier Community Foundation’s Robbie’s Trees Fund. She and the volunteers successfully planted 100 bare-root laurel oak saplings in containers, but postponed potting of the remaining 250 slash pine saplings until January, due to student finals and shipping delays. We aim to hold a planting day in late May when students will learn more about the benefits of trees, the importance of protecting undeveloped land, and the role of native landscapes as important natural climate solutions. Gaining hands-on experience with planting trees and working in the field helps to instill an appreciation for nature in young people and, we hope, turn them into life-long environmental stewards.
Also in December, Bridget Washburn represented Growing Climate Solutions as part of the Citizens Advisory Committee of the Coastal and Heartland National Estuary Partnership (CHNEP). Much of CHNEP’s work area was severely impacted during Hurricane Ian, and they have been working intensively to monitor water quality and other environmental parameters post-storm. A list of related fact sheets can be found HERE.
On the other coast, Dr. Puszkin-Chevlin represented Growing Climate Solutions at the 14th annual Southeast Florida Regional Climate Compact Summit in Fort Lauderdale. The Summit attracts climate leaders from the entire state, including city, county, and state officials, insurance representatives, legal and business consulting firms, as well as top environmental engineering companies. It provides an excellent opportunity to highlight our work in southwest Florida and to gather information about resiliency projects and climate-positive policies enacted in other parts of the State.
We are thrilled to be nearing our third year of programming, and we are seeking your input to help guide our upcoming workshops and training. Please respond to the poll embedded further down on in this newsletter, so we can create content that suits your curiosities. Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to supporting a healthy SWFL community and climate in 2023!