Sustainable Sarasota

Conference Update

All in all, the conference was attended by more than 360 interested adults and students who represented six Sarasota County schools and several universities.  A total of 21 speakers gave presentations at the conference.  You can enhance your knowledge on one of the most critical issues of our time and future by viewing their slide presentations on our conference web site.


Tom Halbert, Past President
Sarasota Sister Cities

Sarasota County Sustainability Workshop


The Keynote Speakers have been announced and a tentative Agenda is now available for the 8th Annual Sustainable Communities Workshop, to be held on Dec. 18, 2013.  Please register now to attend this exciting workshop.

Businesses and organizations are also invited to consider partnering in presenting this important workshop asExhbitors and Sponsors.  The 2013 Sustainable Communities Workshop theme is "Investing in Our Future." Please support this goal and have your commitment to community sustainability recognized. 

Register Now!
 Join attendees from across the region at the 8th Annual Sustainable Communities Workshop on from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 18, 2013 at the Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida Event and Conference Center. The $30 registration fee includes continental breakfast, lunch and afternoon "Local Food Showcase." The student rate is $20.

Workshop Sponsors 
Sponsors are in an ideal position to offer information and services to residents, businesses, organizations, and government agency workshop attendees. 

Sponsors will be recognized, based on their level of support, on the workshop's promotional material, website and at the event. Further information on sponsorship opportunities and the application form are available on the Workshop Website.  

Workshop Exhibitors 
The 2013 Sustainable Communities Workshop invites businesses to offer their products, services, and programs as exhibitors at this year's workshop. Showcase your sustainable solutions for water, energy, and infrastructure demands, renewable and alternative energy, resource conservation, electric vehicles, recycling, reuse, clean tech, green business, ecotourism, local food, health improvements and housing choices.  Exhibitors may sell resource conserving, local products, as this event will be promoted as an opportunity for holiday shopping.   
Exhibitor space is available for a fee of $75 upon approval, and includes two complimentary registrations. Information and the application are on the Workshop Website.

Keynote Speakers
Carol Peppe Hewitt
"Financing our Foodshed: Rethinking How We Pay for our Food"
Carol Peppe Hewitt is an author, business owner, social entrepreneur, and a pioneer in the Slow Money movement. Since founding Slow Money NC in 2010, she has catalyzed more than 90 low-interest loans to nearly 50 small farmers and local food businesses in North Carolina, with a goal of building resilience in local foodsheds.
Her book, "Financing Our Foodshed: Growing Local Food With Slow Money,"tells the compelling, real life stories of 22 Slow Money entrepreneurs who grow, process, distribute, and sell local food, as well as the generous people in their communities who became their lenders.
Trish Riley
"Greening Your Business: Working Together Toward a Sustainable Future"
Trish Riley is an award-winning journalist and author. Her books include: The Complete Idiot's Guides to Green Living and Greening Your Business; and The Explorer's Guide to South Florida, Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Miami and the Keys. Her articles have appeared in Hemispheres, The Miami Herald, South Florida Business Journal, Natural Health, Natural Home and E/The Environmental Magazine.
Riley publishes, an environmental news site and resource to help build sustainable communities. She founded the Gainesville Chapter of Green Drinks and Cinema Verde, Gainesville's environmental film and arts festival.

Sarasota County prohibits discrimination in all services, programs or activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, marital status, familial status, religion, or genetic information.  Persons with disabilities who require assistance or alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.), or who wish to file a complaint, should contact: Sarasota County ADA/ Civil Rights Coordinator, 1660 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota, Florida 34236, Phone: 941-861-5000, TTY: 7-1-1 or1-800-955-8771, Email:
Please note: The listing of a sponsoring company's name will not constitute an endorsement by Sarasota County or other organizing partners. 
November 21, 2013
Sustainable Communities Workshop
Register now for the
December 18, 2013
Quick Links


Facebook iconTwitterYouTube 

Thanks from Antonio Zonta

Dear Sarasota Sister City Association, dear USF, dear Friends and Colleagues

First of all I want to thank the Sister City Association and the USF for the warm hospitality that I was offered in Sarasota, and for the faultless organization and the high scientific level of the conference.

But I also remember the wonderful experience that has allowed me to meet new colleagues and make new friends: I really hope that we can keep in touch and find new opportunities to meet.

Thanks so much to all of you and take care!
Grazie a tutti e un grande saluto!

Antonio Zonta

Director of the Building and Estate Department 
Province of Treviso

Haifa Professor at Sustainability Conference

Professor Ori Lahav with Sarasota Sister Cities Tel Monde Director Linda Rosenbluth 
at Museum of Whimsey amongst the “hands of friendship” sculptors

The Sarasota Sister Cities Association recently organized and hosted an International Conference on “Sustainability through Renewable Energy & Aquaculture” at the University of South Florida-Sarasota/Manatee, Nov 13-15, 2013.  Representatives from six of our eight sister cities and from all four area Colleges and Universities gave presentations at the conference. Over 300 people were in attendance. 

The theme for Day 1 of the conference was Sustainability Concepts and Practices and in this session Professor Ori Lahav, the Sister City delegate for Tel Mond, Israel, provided an enlightening presentation on “Improving the Quality of Desalinated Seawater”.  Dr. Lahav is an Associate Professor of Environmental, Water and Agricultural Engineering at Technion-the Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel.  His research interests focus on water quality and aquacultural engineering. He has received several significant awards for research innovation and academic excellence in this field. Dr. Lahav arrived from Durham, NC where he is currently on sabbatical leave at Duke University.  

Professor Lahav was thrilled to be a part of the program and is planning to develop cooperative work with Dr. Kevan Main, the Director of the Mote Marine Laboratory, Aquaculture Facility in Sarasota. Dr. Main’s presentation at the conference was on “Opportunities to Conserve Our Fisheries and Ocean Resources Using Sustainable Aquaculture”.  Forty percent of the seafood consumed worldwide is from aquaculture. Water quality is a very important factor for production of healthy seafood from aquaculture and cooperation between these two institutions will provide new insights for future developments in aquaculture. 

Our Thanks and Acknowledgement

The Sustainability Conference held November 13-15, 2013 was a great success with interesting and informative presentations made by experts from all over the world. The importance of sustainable activities are obvious in everything from our energy resources to our food supply. 

Our thanks to Ray Young and his committee who did an outstanding job.  We, also, thank our outstanding presenters who spoke to the conference.  It is rare that a conference of this caliber can be developed by a Sister Cities Organization. We thank the University of South Florida Sarasota/Manatee for their participation and support.

Beth Ruyle Hullinger, President Sarasota Sister Cities.

Sandy Murray, Scotland


Can I pass my thanks for your hospitality and the chance to meet you last week, it was a great experience. I hope we can build on what was started at the meetings and look forward to help in any way I can. Just to keep you informed it is freezing here in not so sunny Scotland L!

Thanks again and take care.


Sandy Murray CEng FIMechE BEng (Hons) DEM
Assistant Head of School (Rosyth Campus)
Fife College
Wood Road
Rosyth Business Park
KY11 2EA
Tel: 01383 559144 (ext 5144)

Merida - Humberto Cervera Comments

Dear Sarasota Sister Cities Association and USF-S/M:

Now that we are back and more or less organized after taking care of the pending work, due to a week's absence, we want to thank you all of you, and those whose addresses we don't have, for your warm hospitality and the invaluable experience the International Conference provided to the Merida delegation.

Fernando Herrera and myself are truly grateful and hope that as a result of our visit, the wonderful people we met, the variety and importance of the topics presented,we can establish solid links with all the sister cities and develop projects of common interest in the near future.

Looking forward to seeing you again, perhaps in Merida, we send you our best wishes for all the great work you do.

Muchísimas gracias,

Humberto Cervera

Great Conference

The Sustainability Conference was a great success.  Speakers from six of our Sister Cities made fine presentations.  We all learned a great deal about sustainability and will take this knowledge back to our part of the world for implementation.

Poster Session

Students presenting their sustainability posters at the conference.

The International Sarasota Sister City Conference on Sustainability will be held at the University of South Florida-Sarasota/Manatee, November 13-15, 2013. The Public is welcome to join us for Outstanding Presentations by Experts from around the World.

The conference will be of interest to a wide segment of the public from Students and Teachers to Government employees and Business Owners. Get the latest information on sustainable communities, sustainable tourism, sustainable business innovation, solar energy and sustainable aquaculture. The cost of the conference is only $75.00 and free for students. 

The Conference is sponsored by the Sister Cities Association of Sarasota and the University of South Florida Sarasota / Manatee. Sarasota a great place to visit and we look forward to meeting you at the conference.

Dr. Ray Young
Conference Director

International Sustainability Conference
To Be Held At The
University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee

Sister Cities Association of Sarasota has teamed with the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee to host a major three-day conference on “Sustainability Through Renewable Energy & Aquaculture” Nov. 13-15, 2013 in USFSM's Selby Auditorium, 8350 N. Tamiami Trail.  
The goal of the conference is to bring together both professionals and students from Florida and internationally with Sarasota’s Sister Cities in a forum based on Sustainability.  “One of the major missions of Sarasota Sister Cities Association (SCAS) is to foster international relationships through exchanges in areas of business, culture and education,” stated SCAS President Beth Ruyle Hullinger. “SCAS’s objective is to develop respect, understanding and cooperation through citizen diplomacy.”
The conference will focus on three individual topics:
  • Sustainability, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Nov. 13
  • Renewable Energy Alternatives, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Nov. 14
  • Sustainability of Ocean & Water Resources, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Nov. 15

Topics covered will include:
  • Sustainability - exploring sustainability concepts; sustainable communities; sustainability management; sustainable agriculture, and water sustainability.
  • Renewable Energy Alternatives - exploring new developments in solar energy; photovoltaics; fuels from biomass, and ocean wave technology.
  • Sustainability of Ocean Resources - exploring closed circuit, non-polluting aquaculture, aquaculture practices and aquaculture of giant prawns, sturgeon, and caviar.

Information on speakers:

The conference will involve presentations by international universities from five of Sarasota’s Sister Cities (Dunfermline, Scotland; Merida, Mexico; Perpignan, France, Tel Mond, Israel and Xiamen, China); seven Florida universities or colleges; three regional businesses; plus the Florida Department of Energy; the U.S. Department of Agriculture; the National Oceanographic & Atmospheric Agency and Mote Marine Laboratory. 

The introductory speaker for the Sustainability sessions Nov. 13 will be Patrick Sheehan, director of Florida’s Office of Energy in Tallahassee. Other speakers for this session will represent the Institute for Eco-Municipality Educations & Assistance in Cambridge, MA and Umea Sweden; The Walt Disney Company, Orlando; the Patel School of Global Sustainability at the University of South Florida (Tampa); State College of Florida; New College of Florida; the University of Florida; and Ringling College of Art & Design.

Keynote speaker for the Renewable Energy sessions on Nov. 14 will be Energy Consultant and Lecturer Michael Alexy. Other presentations will be made by representatives of the University of Perpignan of Perpignan, France; the Florida Solar Energy Center of the University of Central Florida; the U.S. Department of Agriculture; the Brilliant Harvest Company, Sarasota; Carnegie College & Whitlock Energy Collaboration Center of Dunfermline, Scotland, and Safrema Energy of Lakewood Ranch.

Keynote speaker for the Sustainability of Ocean & Water Resources sessions on Nov. 15 will be Russell Dunn of the National Oceanographic & Atmospheric Agency (NOAA). Other presentations will be made by representatives of the University of the Yucatan of Merida, Mexico; Jimei University of Xiamen, China; the Israeli Institute of Technology; Mote Marine Laboratories, and Florida Organic Aquaculture of Jupiter, FL.

Attendance is open to the public, but requires registration. Full registration for the 3-day conference is $75. An option for attending select daily sessions is $30 per day. Lunch is included for those with paid registrations on Nov 13 and 14. College and high school students may register at no cost. Lunch will not be provided to college or high school students registered to attend the sessions at no cost.

Details on registration will be available Oct 1 at:


About Sarasota Sister Cities (SCAS)

We have friends in places you have never been
The mission of Sister Cities Association of Sarasota, Inc. (SCAS) is to foster international relationships between Sarasota and cities that have similar interests by creating exchanges in areas of culture, education, tourism, business and government. SCAS’s objective is to develop respect, understanding and cooperation through citizen diplomacy. To accomplish this mission we develop relationships with people in cities that have cultural, education, tourism and business environments similar to Sarasota’s. Working outside the realm of government, but with its support, we encourage and facilitate cultural and education exchanges, business opportunities and increased tourism.

About University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee (USFSM)
The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee is a comprehensive, four-year university for those interested in pursuing a baccalaureate or master’s degree, professional certification, or continuing education credit. USFSM offers the prestige of a nationally ranked research university with the convenience of a hometown location, including classes in North Port and Manatee County.

Media Contact:

Tom Halbert
Immediate Past President
Sister Cities Association of Sarasota
941-485-8596 (Primary)
941-4160-0486 (Cell)

Conference Contact:
Ray Young
Vice President - Education
Sister Cities Association of Sarasota

Program Agenda

International Conference
Sustainability Through Renewable Energy & Aquaculture
Sarasota Sister Cities Association
University of South Florida-Sarasota/Manatee
November 13-15, 2013

Morning Session
 8:00-9:00 am Conference Check-In
 9:00 Introduction – Dr. Raymond A. Young, Sarasota Sister Cities Assn.
         Welcoming Remarks
         Patrick Sheehan
         Director, Florida Office of Energy, Dept of Agriculture & Consumerism
 9:30 Keynote Address: Sustainability Business Innovation
         Prof. Sharon Hanna-West
         School of Sustainability, University of South Florida-Tampa
10:00 Issues for Sustainable Management
         Prof. Adrienne Gould-Choquette, State College of Florida-Venice
10:30 Break
11:00 The Eco-Municipality Movement in Sweden and the USA
          Sarah James & Torbj√∂rn Lahti, Institute for Eco-Muncipality Education      
                               & Assistance, Cambridge, MA & Umea, Sweden
11:30 Sustainable Communities
          Prof. David Brain, New College of Florida, Sarasota
12:00  Programs for Sustainable Buildings in Treviso Province, Italy
Antonio Zonta, Treviso Province Administration, Treviso, Italy
12:30-1:30  Lunch
Afternoon Session
 1:30   The Walt Disney Company: A Case Study in Sustainable Tourism
            Dr. David Randle, Patel School of Global Sustainability, USF-Tampa
 2:00    Valuing Nature's Service – Green Infrastructure and Economics of
 Ecosystem Services, Prof. Tim Rumage, Ringling College of Art & Design
 2:30    Improving the Quality of Desalinated Seawater
            Prof. Ori Lahav, Technion-Israel Inst. of Technology (Haifa, Israel)
 3:00    Energy Solutions With Sustainable Agriculture Practices
            Roy Beckford , University of Florida-Extension, Ft Myers, FL

Morning Session
 9:00   Opening – Nan Summers, USF-Sarasota/Manatee
           Keynote Address: Solar Power Plants and Energy Storage for Global Energy    
Dr Elias Stefanakos, Director, Clean Energy Research Center,
           University of South Florida-Tampa
 9:30   Solar Energy Storage
           Prof. Xavier Py, Vice President, University of Perpignan (Perpignan, France)      
10:00  Retrofit Your Home & Drive for Free and PV on Your Roof & Pay
           Dr. James Fenton, Florida Solar Energy Ctr, Univ. of Central Florida
10:30  Break
11:00  Energy from Biomass
           Dr. Thomas Elder, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, (Pineville, Louisiana)
11:30  Transition to a Renewable Energy Economy
            Bill Johnson, Brilliant Harvest Co., Sarasota

12:00-1:00  Lunch

Afternoon Session
  1:00   Facing the Energy Skills Challenge
            Prof. Sandy Murray, Carnegie College & Whitlock Energy
            Collaboration Center (Dunfermline, Scotland)
 1:30    Energy from Ocean Currents
            Bruno Andreis, Safrema Energy LLC, Lakewood Ranch, FL
  2:00   Poster Session
Morning Session
   9:00   Opening Prof. Erin Martin, USF-Sarasota/Manatee
             Welcoming Remarks: Dr. Jane Rose, Dean, Arts & Science
  Keynote Address: U.S. National Perspectives on Sustainable
  Fisheries and Aquaculture
  Russell Dunn, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration - Tampa
  9:30    The Yucatan Fishery Resources: Trends and Perspectives to Sustainability
             Prof. Carlos Gonzalez-Salas & Prof. Humberto Cervera,
  Autonomous Univ. of the Yucatan, Merida, Mexico
10:00    Opportunities to Conserve Our Fisheries and Ocean Resources
  using Sustainable Aquaculture
  Dr. Kevan Main, Mote Marine Laboratory, Sarasota, FL
10:30    Break
11:00    Characteristics and Developmental Trends of China’s Fisheries and
  Dr. Qian Ma, Mote Marine Laboratory and Yellow Sea Fisheries Research
  Institute, Qingdao, China
11:30    Florida Shellfish Aquaculture
             Leslie N. Sturmer, University of Florida IFAS, Cedar Key, FL & Dr. John Scarpa,
  Harbor Branch Oceanographic Inst. at Florida Atlantic Univ., Ft. Pierce, FL
12:00    Sustainability and Profits in Aquaculture
             Clifford Morris & Jose Manzo – Florida Organic Aquaculture, Fellsmere, FL
12:30    Closing Remarks & Presentations - Dr. Raymond A. Young, Sarasota Sister
  Cities Assn.

Appreciation is Expressed to our Conference Sponsors

Walmart Corp. & Huisking Foundation

Special Thanks to the
 Sarasota Chamber of Commerce
and the
Green Business Leadership Council
for assistance with the event