One of the words commonly used to describe the neopagan traditions is "earth/nature-centered" but we sometimes struggle to walk the talk. It isn't enough to cast spells to heal the land, seek out animal and nature spirit guides, and pray. If we truly believe the Earth -- as planet and ecosystem -- is our Mother Goddess, we must act to preserve and restore Her balance. This is a call to action: neopagans in South Florida should become the fiercest defenders of our ancient and natural heritage.
Being born in Cuba, I had many opportunities to experience the nature and wildlife of the tropics as a child. That connection never left me, even as I became exposed to neopaganism in my college years, here in the United States. Finding Wicca gave me a spiritual, grounding practice. It was wish fulfillment and life-affirming at the same time. I graduated university as an anthropologist, but went on to teach middle school science around Palm Beach County. Teaching young minds about the natural wonders around them has reaffirmed a strong ecological dimension to my life and beliefs. I am now involved in reaching out to other pagans in the South Florida region, aiming to translate my joy and wonder of the Florida ecosystems into meaningful activism.
A conversation about swimmable, drinkable, fishable water.
Marty is a 6th generation Floridian, born and raised in Dade County. He served in the US Submarine Service and is SSN 637 class qualified to wear Dolphins. Stomping the Florida Everglades throughout his life, a hunter, a fisherman, environmentalist and clean water advocate, his understanding and study of Florida’s hydrology, geohydrology and ecology is a lifelong pursuit. Marty’s family has a long history of Community involvement, and his sense of Legacy is acute.
Marty believes everyone should serve their local Communities and he has served on the Trustee Steering Committee at Gilbert’s Bar House of Refuge, on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee at Stuart Feed Store Museum and a term on the Martin County Historical Preservation Board. Also served on several terms on the Board of Directors, and was Historian for the Lake Worth Pioneers Association. Marty has been involved with water issues since the early 1990’s including the St. Lucie Initiative, and the inception of the Rivers Coalition in 1998. An accomplished and respected historian, over the years he has made presentations and speeches teaching our Citizens and Children about our rich local history often in first person as his Great Great Grandfather Hannibal Dillingham Pierce, a Cousin of Lt. Col. Benjamin Pierce of the Fort fame.
Marty was selected as your Indian Riverkeeper Sept 2012 and has worked hard to educate and raise awareness about clean water. The mission of the Indian Riverkeeper is to protect and restore the waters of North America's most diverse estuary, the Indian River Lagoon, its tributaries, fisheries and habitats through advocacy, enforcement and citizen action.
Jean Sarmiento is creator of SunKeeper Solutions and co-founder of the Love the Everglades Movement. Together they have become a creative force in the realm of Environmental Advocacy.
SunKeeper Solutions is dedicated to the health of the Planet. They are achieving this through implementing Artistic strategies to solve Environmental problems. They specialize in Native Plants and Habitat Restoration – from Native landscapes in peoples homes to major remediation work within Wetlands. With partnerships in the Industry, no job is too big or too small.
Their services include Custom Artisanship, Living Walls, Solar Mosaics, Phytoremediation, Flood Mitigation, Water Towers, Invasive Species Removal, Edible Gardens and beyond. They are also available for Educational Workshops and Presentations.
Daniella Levine Cava was elected in 2014 to serve as the Miami-Dade County Commissioner representing District 8, which includes Palmetto Bay, Cutler Bay, Homestead, and unincorporated areas of South Dade including Redland, Falls, Princeton, Naranja, Leisure City and parts of West Kendall.
Commissioner Cava comes to elected office after having served as an advocate for South Florida residents and communities for over 30 years. She served special needs children and immigrants at Legal Services of Greater Miami, and then represented children in the child welfare system as Associate and Legal Director for the Guardian Ad Litem Program.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew, Commissioner Cava was recruited to create a new intake system for child abuse cases with the Department for Children and Families (DCF). Her efforts were concentrated on the neighborhoods of County Commission District 8 where she helped restore the lives and homes of those devastated by the storm. Due to her success with this special assignment, she was promoted to Manager for Foster Care, Adoptions and Child Welfare Legal Services.
In 1996 Commissioner Cava founded Catalyst Miami (former called Human Services Coalition of Dade County, to help low- and middle-income families through education and advocacy. Catalyst is an innovator in health and human services and an incubator for new approaches to community and economic development.
At Catalyst Miami, she launched the Prosperity Campaign in alliance with the business community, Chambers of Commerce, United Way, and local banks. The Prosperity Campaign helps people increase their income and savings, and has brought in hundreds of millions in income tax credits and other programs, money reinvested in the local economy. Catalyst helps approximately 5,000 people each year to become more self-sufficient. Catalyst is also a leader in civic engagement, training and supporting thousands of local residents to play a more active role in local government and community life.
Commissioner Cava has helped thousands improve their standard of living and enter the middle class. She has created hundreds of jobs through programs such as Public Allies, ReServe, and internships throughout the nonprofit and government sectors. Hundreds of new civic leaders have graduated from Catalyst's programs, including new immigrant leaders in Homestead. These graduates are now active members of school, community and civic life.
She has served on the Florida Bar Committee on Legal Needs of Children; the boards of League of Women Voters, Orange Bowl Foundation, North Dade Medical Foundation and the South Florida Health Information Initiative, and several national boards. She's won awards from the Commission on Ethics, Red Cross, American Society for Public Administration, ACLU, FIU, National Council of Jewish Women, League of Women Voters, People for the American Way and American Association of University Women, among
others. She graduated from Leadership Florida and was selected as one of 11 "leadership fellows" by the International Women's Forum in 1999.
She has been a trustee-level member of the Greater Miami Chamber for over a decade and a member of the Steering Committee for One Community One Goal. She also serves on two economic development advisory boards at Florida International University and the community healthcare advisory board at University of Miami.
Born in New York City, and raised across North and South America, her family stressed giving back and working to create equal opportunity. Commissioner Cava received her bachelor's degree in psychology with honors from Yale University and graduate degrees in law and social work from Columbia University. She came to South Florida in 1980 to join her husband, Dr. Robert Cava, a Miami native, who returned home to join his father in medical practice.
Daniella and Robert raised two children, Eliza and Edward Cava, in Miami-Dade, supported by strong networks of friends, families and co-workers. They welcomed Fanny, Daniella's beloved mother-in-law, and countless interns, family and friends to live in their home.
Al will be discussing the status of the globally imperiled Richmond Pine Rocklands - the last 2% of contiguous Pine Rocklands in Miami Dade County & the home to several endangered species including the Florida Bonneted Bat & the Florida Leafwing Butterfly to name a few. He will speak about how this once federal land was given to the University of Miami then sold to a West Palm Beach developer for the purpose of developing a water theme park, a 900 unit apartment complex, shopping complex, & a Walmart. He will discuss the multiple mishaps along the way with Miami-Dade County & the US Fish & Wildlife Service & the ongoing epic battle to save this land & endangered animals from extinction.
President of the Miami Pine Rocklands Coalition.
Retired Investigative Reporter and Digital Journalist who celebrated 40 years in local and network broadcasting based out of South Florida.
For over 30 years, FPL has run an industrial power complex at its Turkey Point Nuclear Plant site. FPL's flawed cooling canal system is now polluting groundwater and surface water in Biscayne Bay and beyond.
There has been inconsistent pressure on FPL and regulators to ensure a long-term solution to this unacceptable environmental situation that effectively protects the unique biodiversity and natural resources in Florida.
With your help we will build a case through the additional collection of data to gain a better understanding of the ongoing environmental damage in order to make FPL and regulators accountable.
Founding and Managing Member at Conservation Concepts LLC
"I strive to make our collective quality of life better in South Florida and I feel putting environmental protection and conservation of our resources at the forefront of everyone's mind is the best way to extend the time we have in paradise. Let's all understand that the health of the environment is inextricably linked to our economy and health."
Laura Reynolds is a Founding and Managing Member at Conservation Concepts LLC, an environmental consultant agency with the goal to educate, advocate and positively influence conservation in Florida on complex environmental issues.
Ms. Reynolds strives to integrate her solid scientific background with environmental policy and savvy negotiation skills in order to protect and restore Florida's environment. She serves as an instrumental tool suitable to conduct comprehensive environmental audits to determine compliance with environmental regulations ensuring this way a healthy future to Florida's citizens.
Ms. Reynolds is a former Executive Director at Tropical Audubon Society, a former Research Assistant and Adjunct Professor at Florida International University. Ms. Reynolds graduated from Jacksonville University in Marine Biology and Florida International University in Environmental Science. Some of her areas of expertise are in environmental conservation, resource management, leadership and grant writing.
THOMAS E. LODGE, PH.D., CEP
Thomas E. Lodge Ecological Advisors, Inc.
With over 40 years of environmental consulting experience, Dr. Lodge has been a self-employed ecologist since 2004. He graduated with Departmental Honors in Zoology from Ohio Wesleyan University (1966), and completed his Ph.D. in Biology at the University of Miami (1974) where his dissertation involved the physiological ecology of Everglades’ freshwater fishes. Chemistry, limnology, ecology, and ichthyology were the key areas of his formal education.
Dr. Lodge specializes in wetlands and their restoration. He has conducted projects pertaining to terrestrial, wetland, aquatic, and shallow-marine environments, including considerations for rare, threatened, and endangered species, water quality, and conditions such as noise and toxic contaminants. His experience includes developing and applying wetland assessment methodologies for determining appropriate mitigation for wetland impacts. In the early 1990s he authored a widely copied methodology, the Wetland Quality Index (WQI), which he developed to give a consistent, defensible equivalency between impacts and compensatory mitigation in southern Florida freshwater wetlands where small fishes and wading birds are key food-chain indicators. He regularly uses Florida’s Uniform Mitigation Wetland Method (UMAM) as well as other methodologies where required. The applications of his work have been in federal, state, and local wetland permitting as well as conservation projects. He has considerable experience as an expert witness and is a Certified Environmental Professional (CEP) under the National Association of Environmental Professionals.
He is author of The Everglades Handbook: Understanding the Ecosystem, and is currently preparing it 4th edition. The book has been widely used as an advanced high school and college text, and as well as a guide for lay people to understand the Everglades and its restoration. With a strong interest in wildlife photography, he is a regular speaker on the Everglades.
Learn more about this year's Speakers and their Presentations.
- About Us
- Take Action!
- Native Plants
- Blog En Espanol
- Everglades Awareness Concert
- Symposium 2017
- Summer Symposium 2016
- Summer Symposium 2015
- Summer Symposium 2014
- Walk for Mother Earth
- Videos: Filmgate 2014
- Music Video: THE RAVEN
- Board of Directors
- Donate Now!
- Contact Us