In a first for Guardians, program co-lead, Sarah Grasty, presented the program to several other outreach and education personnel from the wider Gulf of Mexico region. Her presentation gave an overview of the Guardians program and also highlighted the program elements that she, Kristen Kusek, and their partners have been hard at work developing.
During a nice spring morning in March, Guardians of the Gulf was one of three projects highlighted as part of St. Petersburg’s Smart City Initiative. Program leaders, Kristen Kusek and Sarah Grasty, had the opportunity to engage with several members of local government and leadership (including Mayer Ken Welch!) and demonstrate some of the elements of the program. Kusek was also invited to be part of a panel discussion, led my Mayor Welch, about the future of these Smart City projects and how they best benefit our community.
Guardians of the Gulf was a recipient of the 2020/2021 Bay Mini-Grant cycle, a funding opportunity offered by the Tampa Bay Estuary Program (TBEP). These funds were used to develop the activity booklets which supplemented our July 2021 mini-camp, and are also available for download on our website. In January 2022, Guardians Leaders, Sarah Grasty and Kristen Kusek, were invited to present at the TBEP Community Advisory Committee’s meeting to share more about the Guardians program and discuss the development of the activity booklets.
Over three days in late July 2021, 25 participants from the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Suncoast (BGCS) learned though experience about their connections to the coastal environment –and how their voices, knowledge and ideas are integral to solutions to coastal and climate changes. The first day’s events took place at the Royal Theater in South St. Petersburg where our Guardians enjoyed a variety of activities underscoring the importance of being resilient. On their second day, the Guardians visited the Florida Aquarium, and the week was capped off with a packed outdoor education experience at our Clam Bayou Marine Education Center. The camp was generously funded by the Duke Energy Foundation.
View the YouTube video here!
On March 3, 2021, the St. Petersburg Innovation District hosted the Smart City Showcase in which Guardians of the Gulf was one of four pilot projects highlighted in a virtual gathering of community members and leaders, including St. Petersburg mayor, Rick Kriseman, who kicked off the event.
From the Innovation’s website, “The city of St. Petersburg, led by the Innovation District, was selected to join US Ignite’s Smart Gigabyte Communities in early 2019. The Smart Communities program brings together cities around the country to share lessons learned while exploring how technology can be used to solve community challenges. Over the last two years, the Innovation District and community partners have worked on four pilot projects. Join us on March 3rd to learn about the goals of these projects and our progress so far.”
View the showcase presentation here!
The Guardians of the Gulf highlight is at 00:40:00-00:56:45.
You can also read a recap of the Showcase from the St. Pete Catalyst.
Though it was virtual in 2020, the St. Pete Science Festival wasn’t any less fun! Guardians Program Manager, Sarah Grasty, had the pleasure of virtually connecting with classrooms throughout the region to talk about how we’re all connected to the oceans.
Guardians of the Gulf, a St. Petersburg-based program for disadvantaged youth to learn about marine science, is among the 13 national winners of the IDC Smart Cities North America awards. Read the full article here.