Everglades Coalition Conference Features Audubon Science and Policy Leadership

Audubon staff as well as members of the state and national board from across Florida and the national office led the conference, gave talks, participated in critical discussions, and more.

The 39th annual Everglades Coalition Conference took place from January 25-27 in Bonita Springs. Mark Perry, executive director of Florida Oceanographic Society and our very own Kelly Cox, director of Everglades policy, were the extraordinary co-chairs for this year’s event. The weekend was filled with insightful conversation, engaging sessions, and opportunities to see old faces and meet new friends in the Everglades restoration community.

On Friday morning, National Audubon Society’s Marshall Johnson, chief conservation officer, kicked off the conference with an informative breakfast presentation. He covered the ways Audubon is protecting migratory species across the country and highlighted our work here specifically. Later in the day, Paul Gray, PhD, our Everglades science coordinator, facilitated an intriguing panel on private lands and conservation. The conversation included a range of speakers from civil servants to ranchers. 

All sessions inspired new ideas and connections, from talks on the Western Everglades and its unique threats, to restoring Biscayne and Florida Bays, to using art to engage people in Everglades conservation. Many were in attendance from government agencies like the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and South Florida Water Management District, Tribal leaders, non-governmental organizations, politicians, and more. It was a wellrounded event with keynote addresses from Shannon Estenoz, Assistant Secretary at the Department of Interior, Michael Connor, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who spoke during the dinner ceremonies. 

Tropical Audubon Society Vice President, Col. Terrence “Rock” Salt, was recognized for his contributions to Everglades restoration this conference. He was inducted into the Everglades Coalition Hall of Fame to commemorate his work leading the Army Corps of Engineers and advancing key projects like the Kissimmee River Restoration Project during his tenure as Colonel.

We look forward to next year’s event in Miami at the Miccosukee Casino and Resort. 

This article appeared in the Spring State of the Everglades report. Click here to learn more.

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