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2019 National Sustainability Summit &

National Extension Energy Summit


Check out the optional field tours scheduled for Tuesday, April 16, 2019.
Each tour is priced at $55/person and guests are welcome to attend. 

#1 Sea-to-Tap & the Energy-Water Nexus: Tampa Bay Water Desalination Facility

Get a behind-the-scenes tour of North America’s second largest seawater desalination plant, which captures millions of gallons per day of cooling water discharges from Tampa Electric’s Big Bend Power Station and turns it into potable water. The Tampa Bay Seawater Desalination facility is a drought-proof, alternative water supply that produces up to 25 million gallons per day of drinking water to the Tampa Bay region, meeting up to 10% of the region’s drinking water needs. Seawater coming into the plant goes through a rigorous pretreatment process, then freshwater is separated from the seawater using reverse osmosis. Participants will learn about the facility and desalination process, the environmental impacts of the plant, and the role of public-private partnerships in its construction and operation.

Time: 8:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Max/Min: This tour is limited to 30 participants and requires a minimum of 15.

Other Info: Tour price includes transportation to/from hotel and boxed lunch. Wear closed toed shoes and limit personal items due to security clearance checks.

#2 Morning Bay Paddle: Conservation Parks & Nature Preserves

Upper Tampa Bay Park. During the 2.5–3.5-mile paddling adventure you will learn about Tampa Bay, the largest open-water estuary in the State of Florida, and the diverse plants and wildlife it supports. We will also discuss Hillsborough County’s role in preserving the area’s natural lands and watersheds through a system of Conservation Parks and Nature Preserves. The Upper Tampa Bay Park, a 596-acre peninsular park, offers an abundance of wildlife and other ecological treasures for any devoted nature lover. The park protects valuable coastal habitat and ecological communities, including mangrove forests, salt marshes, freshwater marshes, coastal hammocks, and pine flatwoods. The shoreline and waters attract park wildlife and many other species, including roseate spoonbills, ospreys, otters, bottle nosed dolphins, and manatees. If time permits, participants will also tour the park’s nature center.

Time: 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Max/Min: This tour is limited to 24 participants and requires a minimum of 12.

Other Info: Tour price includes transportation to/from hotel, all gear for the kayak paddle, and lunch at the tour site. Wear lightweight, long-sleeved outdoor gear to provide protection from bugs and apply bug spray or repellent as needed. Bring sunglasses, hat, change of clothes, towel, waterproof bag, reusable water bottle, and wear closed-toe or water-friendly shoes.

#3 Seed-Solar-Suds: Hillsborough Hops to Craft Brews

Hop aboard and taste the local flavor on this field-to-brewery tour. Participants will learn about a collaborative venture among Hillsborough County’s Economic Development department, University of Florida researchers, and Central Florida breweries to establish the region as a top craft-beer destination. In the morning, visit the University of Florida’s Gulf Coast Research & Education Center where 14 varieties of hops are being tested to identify commercial varieties that will thrive in the region’s hot, humid climate. After a visit to a Tampa Electric Company solar farm, participants will travel to Coppertail Brewery in Ybor City to learn about their support of hops research, tour the facility, and enjoy a craft-beer tasting and lunch.


Time: 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Max/Min: This tour is limited to 30 participants and requires a minimum of 15.

Other Info: Tour price includes transportation to/from hotel and tasting, one drink ticket, and lunch at the local brewery. Casual clothes and comfortable shoes are recommended as the tour will include indoor and outdoor presentations. Bring sunglasses, a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated, and a hat if you wish.

#4 All Aboard: Tampa International Airport’s Sustainability Initiatives

Enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour of the Tampa International Airport and their modernization and state-of-the-art design for the future. Participants will learn about the history, design and unique features of the airport and air transportation in Tampa Bay, as well as the airport’s commitment to sustainability through the implementation of its Sustainable Management Plan in the operational and built environments. You’ll start in the Main Airport Terminal, visit the Airport Gallery, board the electric SkyConnect train to the economy parking garage to visit the solar installation, and hear about Phase 2 of the Airport Master Plan.

Time: 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Max/Min: This tour is limited to 25 participants and requires a minimum of 12.

Other Info: Tour price includes transportation to/from hotel and lunch at the airport.

#5 Tampa Riverwalk by Water Taxi

Glide down the beautiful Hillsborough River by water taxi along 2.4 miles of the Tampa Riverwalk. This tour will highlight sustainable designs incorporated in the walkable and bikeable Riverwalk from the Channelside District to Waterworks Park and beyond in the Tampa Heights area. Stops along the way will give you a glimpse at some of the innovations used to develop the downtown Tampa riverfront, which includes the redevelopment of several brownfield sites. The tour will conclude at Ulele/Armature Works where you will have time to enjoy a drink and explore the restored mixed-use warehouse space right along the riverfront. The water taxi tour is a unique and special way to experience the best the Riverwalk has to offer including art, culture, entertainment, and outdoor adventure.

Time: 1:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Max/Min: This tour is limited to 30 participants and requires a minimum of 15.

Other Info: Tour price includes transportation to/from hotel, water taxi ticket, and drinks/snacks at Ulele.

Special thanks to our local partners and sustainability champions Sheila McNamara and Michelle Jenkins for going above and beyond to lead the planning of these field tour opportunities!

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NSS+NEES 2019 was hosted by the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) 
and organized by the National Network for Sustainable Living Education (NNSLE), National Extension Energy Initiative (NEEI),
Climate Science Initiative (CSI), and Regional Rural Development Centers (RRDCs) in partnership with USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), Hillsborough County, and the Environmental Protection Commission of Hillsborough County.
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