SETAC Globe - Environmental Quality Through Science
6 October 2016
Volume 17 Issue 10
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SETAC Make-A-Difference Service Project: Protect the Everglades Through Education and Outreach

Kimberly Pearce and Michel Gielazyn, Service Project Chairs of the SETAC Orlando Program Committee

*Since the issuance of this article, the SETAC Make-A-Difference Service Project has changed. Please visit orlando.setac.org for more details.


Inspire budding scientists, preserve headwaters to the Everglades while enjoying Florida sunshine, and contribute to a local community!

This year’s SETAC Make-a-Difference Service Project, sponsored by Ramboll ENVIRON and SETAC North America, is held in partnership with the Orange County Environmental Protection Division and will be conducted at Tangelo Park Elementary School, where volunteers will conduct a hands-on demonstration about stormwater and pollution. Following, attendees will meet with community leaders for an additional educational opportunity at a local senior center. This project allows SETAC volunteers help educate both students and adults in this community about the importance of preventing pollution in runoff that ultimately drains into the Everglades. This event will help the Tangelo Park residents understand their connection to Shingle Creek and the Everglades, and it will help ensure long lasting environmental awareness and protection to the headwaters of the Everglades. It will provide SETAC members the opportunity to leverage their outreach skills and be part of an effort to connect with and empower the Tangelo Park community. After spending some time speaking to these groups, SETAC volunteers, along with members from the community, will head out to label storm drains and make a visible difference that will have long lasting positive effects for years to come.

Harris Rosen of Rosen Hotels and Resorts, the superb venue of the 7th SETAC World Congress/SETAC North America 37th Annual Meeting, has supported the Tangelo Park Program for the last 20 years not only monetarily but with his time, caring and commitment to education. The Tangelo Park Program began as a result of a grassroots effort that attracted the attention of local media and government, civic groups and Rosen himself. In 1993, after a successful effort to reclaim the neighborhood from urban blight and drug dealers, Tangelo Park community leaders met with Rosen and the Orange County School Board Superintendent, and together they established the Tangelo Park Pilot Program.

Harris Rosen's contributions helped transform the devestated neighborhood of Tangelo Park into the success it is today.

From its inception, the Rosen Foundation’s Scholarship Endowment has provided the opportunity for educational achievement. As Tangelo Park has developed its program, results show that assistance to high-risk families can yield a long-term return on investment through lower crime rates and educational gains.

The Tangelo Park Program’s success is based on a philanthropic spirit of giving and staying, and volunteers who become totally involved. Tangelo is a community that cares. The Tangelo Park Program gives young people hope.

In Rosen’s words, “Education levels the playing field.” It empowers people with the ability to dream big and, with the knowledge gained through education, the ability to achieve big. He feels strongly about giving back to support a greater good at the community level; a vision that we share in SETAC as we look to educate people about the environment and support communities around the globe.

Please join us for a full morning of service. Round trip transportation from the SETAC conference venue to the school and project sites and project materials will be provided. Please dress for walking and doing light work in abundant sun; though the event will be held rain or shine.

In addition, SETAC will donate money collected for registration for this event and match the amount to make a donation to benefit Orange County environmental volunteer programs.

You can sign up when you register for the meeting or add the service project to your existing registration. Join us and support this community by helping educate local students and community residents on environmental issues and help protect a valuable natural resource, the Everglades!

Authors’ contact information: Kimberly.Pearce@dep.state.fl.us and michel.gielazyn@noaa.gov 

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