Everglades Advocates from Across the State Head to Tallahassee for Everglades Action Day to Discuss Restoration Progress and Funding with Elected Officials

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   April 9, 2013
Contact:   Dawn Shirreffs, Everglades Coalition Co-Chair, C:305.546.6689 or dshirreffs@npca.org; Jennifer Hecker, Everglades Coalition Co-Chair, C:239.961.1900 or jennifer@conservancy.org


Everglades Advocates from Across the State Head to Tallahassee for Everglades Action Day to Discuss Restoration Progress and Funding with Elected Officials

Citizens raise awareness following up on Florida’s inaugural statewide Everglades Day

Tallahassee, FL – On April 7th, activities across Florida highlighted the first-ever statewide Everglades Day (#EvergladesDay) to underscore the state’s acknowledgement of the importance of a healthy Everglades ecosystem for a clean water supply and a strong economy.  Today, Everglades advocates from more than 12 counties will convene in Tallahassee to participate in Everglades Action Day to educate and engage state lawmakers on Everglades restoration issues.  Students, volunteers, and Florida residents will meet with their state elected officials to discuss the importance for funding Everglades restoration, environmental lands and water quality projects, responsible growth and transportation planning, and the importance for conserving and protecting sufficient clean water as an essential public resource for all Floridians.

“A healthy Everglades is a healthy economy with more than 100,000 jobs supported by the tourism, boating, real estate and fishing industries,” said Dawn Shirreffs, national co-chair for the Everglades Coalition.  “Last year, the Florida Legislature, including original Everglades Day cosponsors Senator David Simmons and former Representative Steve Perman, and Governor Scott recognized this important bipartisan issue by designating annual statewide Everglades Day on April 7. Now we need strong leadership and support from our state officials to build on this momentum and fund restoration and water quality projects,” added Shirreffs.  “According to an Ecosystem Services Study, Everglades restoration is a sound investment for Florida which could amount to up $46.5 billion in gains to Florida's economy.”

“I was pleased last year to sponsor legislation that designates April 7th as Everglades Day,” said State Senator David Simmons.  “The Everglades is a vital ecosystem and an important aspect of South Florida’s tourism, agricultural, real estate, and recreational economies.  Dedicating April 7th as Everglades Day provides an opportunity for all of us to recognize the Everglades for its local, as well as, global significance.”

For today’s first annual Everglades Action Day, participants representing Key West, West Palm, Port St. Lucie, Naples, St Petersburg, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Boynton Beach, Cape Coral, Gainesville and more, want to ensure that the Everglades ecosystem remains a top priority for elected officials and all Floridians.  In addition, Everglades Action Day activities will include a press conference hosted by Representative Mark Pafford and the Everglades Coalition at 9:30 am, 4th Floor Capitol Rotunda (House side).

“Today’s discussions will focus on a sustained fiscal and political commitment from our state partners for advancing Everglades restoration projects,” said Jennifer Hecker, state co-chair for the Everglades Coalition. “We must have support from our state elected officials if we are going to continue the momentum for restoration efforts needed to reverse the ecological degradation that threatens wildlife, our water supply, and South Florida economies that depend on this iconic natural resource.”

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About the Everglades Coalition:  The Everglades Coalition is an alliance of 57 local, state and national conservation and environmental organizations dedicated to full restoration of the Greater Everglades Ecosystem, from the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes into Lake Okeechobee, through the "River of Grass", out to Florida Bay and the Keys. For additional information, please visit our website at: www.evergladescoalition.org

About #EvergladesDay: April 2013 marks the first-ever celebration of Everglades Day across the state.  For years to come, this special observance will take place on April 7th, in honor of Everglades’ activist Marjory Stoneman Douglas’s birthday.  The state’s support for an official Everglades Day will ensure that the Everglades ecosystem remains a top priority for elected officials and all Floridians while honoring Douglas’ legacy for protecting the “River of Grass.”

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