For Good: Tampa church hosts forum on regional water crisis, leadership

Palma Ceia Presbyterian Church will host an environmental forum to learn about the status of the region’s water systems, including the ongoing red tide crisis, and to discuss ways to protect them, on Sunday, Oct. 14. Members of the public are invited. 

“The current state of the water is a regular news story,” says John DeBevoise, pastor of Palma Ceia Presbyterian Church. “The initiative comes out of the trouble with water that we encounter directly, and is coupled with the historical commitment people of faith have to be stewards of resources. The congregation felt a call to discern what might be appropriately called from us in this crisis. What does faithfulness look like in this moment?”

“We start by gathering, not with presumptions. We are gathering to listen and to discern.”

The forum will begin at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday with presentations from two speakers: Mallory Lykes Dimmitt, President of the Florida Wildlife Corridor, and Ed Sherwood, Executive Director of the Tampa Bay Estuary Program

The speakers are among the region’s leading experts in wildlife conservation and marine biology, respectively. Beyond her work with the Florida Wildlife Corridor, Lykes Dimmitt helps to oversee the sustainable agriculture and conservation activities of Lykes Bros., Inc, which manages over 575,000 acres of land in Florida. She also received a Doris Duke Conservation Fellowship from Duke University.

Sherwood has been with the Tampa Bay Estuary Program for more than a decade and coordinates efforts to improve the health of Tampa Bay’s waters. Since 1991, the Estuary Program has contributed to dozens of projects that have restored thousands of acres of habitat across Tampa Bay and plays a leading role in protecting the region’s habitats against rising sea levels.

Following the presentations, the forum will host questions and dialogue, and invite attendees to brainstorm ways to respond to the crisis. 

The forum will conclude at 6 p.m. with prayer. 

Where: Palma Ceia Presbyterian Church (Fellowship Hall), located at 3501 San Jose St. in Tampa (at the corner of San Jose and Himes Avenue, across the street from Plant High School)

When: Sunday, October 14, from 4:30-6:30 p.m.
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Read more articles by Zac Taylor.

Zac Taylor, Ph.D., is a Research Fellow at KU Leuven in Belgium, where he studies climate change adaptation in cities, with a focus on real estate and finance. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Leeds in the UK and holds degrees in urban planning from U.C. Berkeley and the London School of Economics. You can reach him on twitter @zacjtaylor.