Science and Environment Council Hosts Growing Green Reception

PHOTO ID: L-R David Shafer, Elizabeth Moore, Jon Thaxton, Jennifer Shafer, Jeff Vredenburg, Matt Sauer

Event celebrates the launch of the SEC’s December events, the EcoSummit and Green Living Expo

SARASOTA, FL – On June 9, the Science and Environment Council (SEC) and philanthropist Elizabeth Moore hosted the Growing Green Reception to announce details of two major events taking place in December: EcoSummit and Green Living Expo. Approximately 70 guests attended, representing interests across the region from Tampa Bay to Charlotte Harbor, including prominent members of the community, SEC sponsors and partners, elected officials, and the media.

The EcoSummit, which takes place Dec. 5-6 at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, is a lively and entertaining solutions-oriented experience with lectures, panel discussions, storytelling, and music. Dozens of national, regional, and local experts will share fascinating insights and innovations for recharging our environment and reducing our impacts. World-famous author Carl Hiaasen will lead a special evening of Florida environmental stories with local storytellers and music. Australian environmental thought leader and filmmaker Damon Gameau will kick off the EcoSummit with a keynote that re-envisions mankind’s relationship with Earth and how we find a new balance with nature.

The Green Living Expo, which takes place Dec. 2-3 at the Sarasota Municipal Auditorium, is a unique two-day trade show featuring sustainable products, services, and opportunities to get involved in local environmental issues. Meanwhile, outside at The Bay, Sarasota’s newest signature park along Sarasota’s bayfront, families can enjoy hands-on environmental activities and eco-tours from SEC’s partners. All activities will be free and open to the public.

During the Growing Green Reception, guests enjoyed elegant canapes, wines, and presentations by SEC leaders, partners, and sponsors. Event host and lead sponsor Elizabeth Moore welcomed the assembled with a heartfelt call to action to protect our natural environment. “Our environment is central to who we are, to our work and play, to our health and future. To preserve our quality of life, we must find a new balance with nature,” said Moore.

Next, Matt Sauer, Collaboration and Impact Officer for the Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation and the presenting sponsor, spoke of the important role of charitable foundations in supporting the environmental community of practice in their work to protect and restore the environment. Then City of Sarasota’s Sustainability Manager Jeffrey Vredenburg shared that as part of its commitment to the collaborative work of the SEC, the city would be the Host Sponsor of the dual events at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall and the Municipal Auditorium. Dr. Michael Crosby, CEO of Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium and vice-chair of the SEC board of directors, spoke of the important partnerships that thrive within the SEC’s network of 40 science-based environmental organizations and pledged Mote’s continuing support as one of SEC’s founding members.

Finally, Dr. Jennifer Shafer, SEC co-executive director, shared details of the upcoming December events. “We are so grateful to our sponsors and partners for joining us on this year’s adventure, which we hope will inspire community members to consider and adopt more sustainable practices in their homes and businesses,” said Dr. Shafer. “Our natural environment is the foundation of our economy and quality of life; by working together to educate and activate the community, we hope to bolster efforts to conserve and restore our treasured natural resources, for generations to come.”

Presenting Sponsor is the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation; EcoSummit Lead Sponsor is Elizabeth Moore; Gulf Coast Community Foundation is sponsoring the Florida Stories session with Carl Hiaasen; and the Venue Host is the City of Sarasota. Numerous sponsorships are available; to learn more, visit

About the Science and Environment Council

Incorporated in 2001, the Science and Environment Council is a not-for-profit consortium of the 40 leading science-based environmental, nonprofit and government organizations in Sarasota and Manatee counties. The Council’s network serves as a catalyst and multiplier to initiate and accomplish impactful projects no single organization could address on its own. SEC is a leader in Southwest Florida, convening discussions, informing policy, and enhancing public awareness about science-based conservation and sustainable practices to protect and restore our natural environment. One project of note is its comprehensive “Green Living Toolkit,” which can be found here: For more about the SEC and the 2023 EcoSummit+Expo, visit

Originally posted 2023-06-12 22:44:33.