The weeks after Earth Day take on a quiet, pre-summer calm. Seasonal residents head north, students leave town, and we wind down programming and exhale. In June we turn our attention to hurricane season, summer reading, and planning autumn meetings. Here is how we closed out the busy season and what we are thinking about for the months ahead.
In late April the Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) held community meetings regarding the Coastal Risk Management Study underway in Collier County. Growing Climate Solutions, in concert with the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation, and the Environmental Defense Fund committed to sending comments to the USACE from each organization urging 1) expansion of the study to include compounded flooding per the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA Section 8106 2) the use of Green Infrastructure techniques, 3) the application of local and current sea level rise projections and 4) a transparent and inclusive public engagement process. You can view our letter and submit your own comments by June 8th.
In mid-May, Growing Climate Solutions organized an event with Seacrest Country Day School and the Conservation Collier County Land Acquisition Program to plant 100 slash pine and laurel oak saplings in the Dr. Robert H. Gore III Preserve in the Northern Golden Gate Estates portion of Collier County. The trees, which should grow about two feet per year, will provide nesting habitat for multiple bird species, reduce air temperatures, and absorb carbon dioxide. Spanning nearly 175 acres, the Preserve provides essential habitat for the Florida panther and Florida black bear. Several students were delighted to see three bear cubs near the street on their drive to the planting site! We thank the Seacrest Country Day school – particularly those 20 students and teacher who braved the heat to complete the planting – as well as Robbie’s Tree Fund, held by the Collier Community Foundation, for making this project a success. We also thank our partners with the Interfaith Climate Action Team for coordinating a tree giveaway and successfully finding homes for over 50 native and Florida-friendly trees. With summer rains beginning, planting season is upon us and we look forward to updates on how quickly they grow!
June 1 kicks off hurricane season. With the region still recovering from Hurricane Ian, we speculate that residents will heed the common-sense advice to develop a concrete and executable hurricane plan. Research shows preparedness reduces not just losses, but psychological stress. Documenting a “plan” leads to action and results! With this in mind, Growing Climate Solutions is also urging our readers to join a Carbon Crew Team this summer and develop a personalized carbon reduction plan. Led by Naples climate leader Josephine DeVincenzi, a Carbon CREW founder, the CREW’s book club format will bring friends and neighbors together once a week from July 6th through August 3rd (Tuesdays at 7:00) to help each participant develop a household-level carbon emissions reduction plan using Damon Gameau’s book 2040. To learn more read the article we published last year or contact Josephine. Those that are just looking for a good summer read on climate might also pick up Michael Mann’s 2021 The New Climate War, and those that prefer relaxing by the TV should check out Extrapolations on NetFlix (more on that in the July newsletter).
Finally, we want to call out the incredible climate work of Ms. Holley Rauen, a member of UU of Fort Myers and one of the founders of the RESET Center, who, with her partner, is relocating to Washington state in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian. Holley has been a regional climate and sustainability champion for decades, working with Pachamama, the Unitarian Universalist Church, and local indigenous people to address stewardship and protection of the natural environment in Southwest Florida. An annual Holley Rauen Environmental Leadership Award has been established by UU of Fort Myers in honor of her service to our community and the RESET Center is now hoping to find a new Board Secretary. We will truly miss Holley and encourage readers to learn more about RESET. Those seeking to engage in climate actions, education, and other fun programs can email their President Linda Sechrist as the organization is always welcoming to new members.