Network Updates:

SSDN staff members Meg Jamison and Vanessa King head to New Orleans, LA to participate in the Undoing Racism Workshop with the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond

  • Through dialogue, reflection, role-playing, and strategic planning, the workshop will challenge us to analyze the structures of power and privilege that hinder social equity and prepares us to be more effective organizers for justice.

Network in Action:

New Green Minds Think Alike Podcast– Florida Sustainability Directors, Kris Stenger of Winter Park and Katrina Locke of Volusia County sit down to talk about Volusia Counties Southeast Sustainable Communities Fund (SSCF) project in the Spring Hill Community. Listen to Kris’s newest Green Minds Think Alike podcast to learn more about the project.

Sustainability in Our Communities:

Bright Cities Grant Program in Columbia, SC Helps Cities Protect Babies’ Brains & Boosts Sustainability: SSDN’s newsletter helped launch a partnership between Columbia SC and the Bright Cities grant program. And, their partnership activities are flourishing! “The link between health and sustainability is at the very core of Bright Cities. With one outstanding program, we were able to positively impact two of our City’s priorities: the health of our babies and a clean environment.” – Mayor Steve Benjamin, Columbia, SC. Bright Cities works collaboratively with US cities to help fund programs that reduce neurotoxic exposures in pregnant women and babies. With Columbia Sustainability Facilitator Mary Pat Baldauf’s leadership, Columbia city staff held cooking demonstrations to teach parents how to cook nutritious, affordable and non-toxic meals; worked with Columbia Water to include more health-protective language for parents of children under 2, including bottle-fed infants, and tested water samples from park drinking fountains for lead; planted trees; provided public education about safe gardening (e.g., testing soil for lead); and continue to make progress incorporating actions that protect babies’ brains in Columbia’s Climate Protection Action Campaign. If you have questions about how the Columbia project was designed and implemented, please contact Columbia’s Sustainability Facilitator Mary Pat Baldauf. If you would like to learn more about Bright Cities programs, please contact their Program Director Kyra Naumoff Shields.

Boca Raton’s City Council approved resolution to regulate single use plastic use: The new resolution is “encouraging the Florida Legislature to address the environmental impact of single-use plastic bags and polystyrene materials by developing meaningful regulations limiting the use of single-use plastic bags and polystyrene materials and/or by approving Senate Bill 12.”

The first Tampa Bay Regional Resiliency Coalition Leadership Summit took place early this month with hundreds of local leaders attending including Tampa Mayor, Jane Castor and Florida’s first Chief Resilience Officer, Julia Nesheiwat. Tampa Bay Times covered the summit, and provides a nice summary of the event and speakers in their article ‘Make or break moment.’ Tampa Bay leaders hold climate change summit.

Member Spotlight: Ashlee Painter, Sustainability Coordinator- Oldsmar, FL

I have been the Sustainability Coordinator for the City of Oldsmar for a year. My role in the city is varied and changes daily. My position is housed under utilities and public works, so I tend to spend more time on water and water conservation issues than most people. Incidentally, this works out well for me, as water security is one of my main passions.

My background is varied and has taken a very circuitous route to get to where I am. The sustainability field was never even a consideration until about 2 years ago. My background is in biology and marine biology, so I always planned on doing research and environmental education (dream job for years was to open a sea school on an island). On a whim, because all major life decisions should be made on a whim, I decided to go back to school to get a 2nd Master’s degree in Coastal Sustainability, quit my job, and jump head first into this new life of saving our oceans through land-based actions (I’m still a true marine biologist at heart).

As a self-proclaimed “water girl”, I love all things water. In my spare time I enjoy spending time outdoors kayaking, fishing, SCUBA diving, and hiking. I love to travel and experience new places…not just see them. I’ve lived on 3 continents, visited 5, and look forward to checking off the last 2.

News and Resources:

Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC) will be hosting a day-long Symposium in Raleigh, North Carolina, at the Raleigh Convention Center on March 30, 2020.  The GRHC Raleigh Symposium will serve as a platform for a policy dialogue, sharing of best practices and case studies from various green roof installations, and cover the range of economic, environmental and social benefits of green roofs and other types of green infrastructure. 

The Honnold Foundation is now accepting grant applications for the Spring 2020 Grant Cycle! The foundation provides unrestricted grant funding to organizations or projects that use solar energy to increase social and economic equity and reduce environmental impact.

America Planning Association (APA) is currently seeking project inquiries through an initial short-form application from communities interested in exploring nature-based and green infrastructure solutions through pre- and post-disaster recovery planning. The RFP is open until the three projects are selected. All projects must occur in 2020 and the CPAT process generally takes 9 months to a year to complete.

Job Opportunities:

Director of Development Services and Coastal Environmental Resiliency, City of New Smyrna Beach, FL

Climate Advisor, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Atlanta, GA

Call to Action:

SSDN members, be sure to mark your calendars for our 2020 Annual Meeting in Savannah, GA.

  • SSCF Workshop: May 3rd-4th
  • SSDN Annual Meeting: May 4th-6th