Environmentalists sponsor SJR State professor and student for Florida Springs Restoration Summit
The Putnam County Environmental Council recently sponsored SJR State environmental science instructor Lonnie Kaczmarsky and student Heather Reiter to attend the 2016 Florida Springs Restoration Summit at the College of Central Florida in Ocala. The Summit brings together people from various professional backgrounds to discuss the status of the health of Florida’s springs and the steps needed for the meaningful restoration and long-term protection of them. The desired outcome is a highly informed group of participants who can work together to create a Springs Restoration Action Plan for Florida. “Among the speakers were prominent news editors, political leaders, scientists, and artists, all with distinct talents, but one common goal: to protect Florida's springs,” said Reiter.
“As a millennial, I know that some day the Earth will be our responsibility, and it's comforting to know that there are still people working to make sure that there will be something left to care for,” said Reiter. “I think that the most beneficial part of the experience, not just for me but for everyone who attended, was having the chance to meet others who are passionate about Florida's unique and valuable natural resources.”
Kaczmarsky explained that the Putnam County Environmental Council (PCEC) contacted him about developing student interest and opportunities to become involved with environmental issues confronting Putnam County and Florida. “As a result of attending this conference, both Heather and I have become more informed about local environmental issues and have learned additional ways SJR State students can become engaged in local environmental issues,” he said. “I am now more inspired than ever to encourage our students to get involved with their community, and I think Heather is as well.” Kaczmarsky said he will include information he learned at the conference in his lectures. Both he and Reiter plan to attend an upcoming PCEC meeting and hope to recruit other students to attend as well.
According to Reiter, “By bringing ecologically-minded people together with a stern focus on Florida's water, I'm sure some powerful alliances were made. Everyone at the Summit, even when opinions clashed, resonated a sense of teamwork that comes only from a group with a shared passion for the environment. I had the opportunity to hear from journalists Nathan Crabbe and Kevin Spear about just how difficult it can be to spread awareness of environmental issues without stepping on toes. Personally, I gained a feel for environmental diplomacy that, I hope, will aid me in my pursuit of a career in conservation. I was really honored to have such an opportunity, and I hope to involve myself more with these and other environmental organizations,” she said.
SJR State environmental science student Heather Reiter attends the 2016 Florida Springs Restoration Summit at the College of Central Florida. The Florida Springs Restoration Summit brings together people from various professional backgrounds to discuss the status of the health of Florida’s springs and the steps needed for the meaningful restoration and long-term protection of them.
Director of Public Relations and Publications