Miami: We hold the future in our hands
This weekend I had the pleasure of attending Tropical Audubon Society’s Environmental Leadership Workshop. The purpose of the workshop was to give citizens the skills necessary to be successful in environmental advocacy. The powerful speaker line-up boasted various environmental leaders including, former Dade County Commissioner Katy Sorenson, Senator Dwight Bullard, and of course Laura Reynolds, the director of TAS. Participants attended a series of lectures including diversity in conservation, smart growth, Everglades restoration and grassroots organizing. Not to mention the workshop’s stunning backdrop, Deering Estate at Cutler.
My favorite lecture was given by Maria Nardi, Chief of Planning and Research in the Miami Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department. She discussed Dade County’s Open Space Master Plan, which proposes some amazing additions to improve Miami’s green spaces. The master plan includes the creation of a western buffer zone, which is essentially a linear wall of parks designed as a corridor to increase trail accessibility and recreational use. The plan also proposes a lovely system of connecting parks a.k.a. an ”emerald necklace”.
One other exciting component of the master plan is to create parks at our city transit stations. I think this is an excellent opportunity, not only to draw more people to use public transportation, but to possibly incorporate vertical gardens and green walls into the community.
It was inspiring to hear about local issues from citizens just like myself and from those who have made a career out of activism. There were leaders representing the inner city community of Overtown and from the Miccosukee Tribe—hearing these leaders speak resonated with me and certainly humanized our city’s environmental issues.
The TAS workshop came at the perfect time to lift me out of the discouragement I feel as a result of post-grad job searching. I can’t remember a time when I felt this connected to the environmental cause here in Miami and it really reinforced my drive to make something happen.
I recommend this workshop to anyone interested in learning about South Florida’s conservation issues. I think TAS is planning on making this an annual event and I encourage everyone to participate next year!
In the meantime, please join me at the next conservation meeting hosted by TAS at the Doc Thomas House. Meetings are held the 4th Wednesday of the month (October 23rd, 7:30pm). Call 305-667-7337 for more info. Thanks for reading!