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USF Researchers Featured in Student Conservation Film

Two USF College of Marine Science researchers and a College of Engineering professor take part in student film selected for Blue Ocean Film Festival.

The film Tampa Bay Water Story, created by Katy Hennig, a graduate of the Digital Journalism and Design program at University of South Florida St. Petersburg, has earned an Honorable Mention and selected to be screened at the Blue Ocean Film Festival, November 10-13. The International film festival is an annual water conservation summit, showcasing films from a variety of filmmakers around water sustainability and conservation. 

Tampa Bay Water Story explores the history of Tampa Bay, and why it’s key to create awareness about preservation by taking a look at the successful conservation efforts that go into maintaining a healthy and vibrant coastal ecosystem. Tampa Bay Water Story highlights the successful collaboration of a multitude of entities that brought the bay back to health over thirty years of dedicated work. The film focuses on water, one of our most precious resources here on earth and especially here in Florida. Through interviews with a USF engineer, two USF marine scientists and a former Hillsborough County Commissioner and environmental advocate, the film looks at connecting the community with scientists and inspiring conservation. 

The film showcases how art can be used in ways to encourage awareness and remind us that we all play a role in keeping water clean and healthy for ourselves, as well as generations to come. Keeping Florida water clean requires collaborative efforts and innovative solutions as population grows and demands increase. 

Water Wise - Daniel Yeh, Ph.D.

Engineering solutions to water issues, Daniel Yeh, PhD, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at University of South Florida, describes the importance of education around taking a multifaceted approach to develop new ways of preserving and conserving our resources for generations to come.

Multiple disciplines working together to engineer solutions to water concerns facing Florida during a time that preemptive steps are the only way to slow the effects of climate change, Yeh describes the collaborative nature of creating sustainable alternatives for storm water runoff. Incorporating bio-retention ponds into urban environments allows the rainwater to gather in a dedicated area that works to filter and clean water before it makes it to the Bay. USF brought together landscape architects, engineers, botanists and urban planners to develop a bio-retention pond that is an optimal environment for rainwater to enter and be filtered before it reaches the Hillsborough River and eventually, Tampa Bay.

Bay Imaging - Frank Muller-Karger, Ph.D.

Monitoring the Bay from multiple angles; combining data gathered from satellite imagery, boats, and buoys helps scientists develop a clear picture of the health of the Bay. In order to develop solutions to potential problems from pollution, storm water runoff and development, USF Marine scientists collaborate to tell the story of Tampa Bay. 

Frank Muller-Karger, PhD, studies satellite imagery of coastal zones to determine changes in water conditions. Muller-Karger is dedicated to the education around water resources and looks for ways to present the information in a way that we all can understand. By studying coastal zones, or the areas where most of the population resides, Muller-Karger can develop patterns that tell the story about our waterways. In order to maintain the delicate balance of how we as a community interact with the Bay, continued research on changing winds, tides, temperature and turbidity can allow processes to be put in place that protect the Tampa Bay estuary.

Bay History - Albert Hine, Ph.D.

Geological Oceanographer Albert Hine, Ph.D., explores Tampa Bay by studying the geological development of the Florida peninsula, over long periods of time. He explains that we can all learn how to preserve the health of our waterways for the future by looking at the past. Hine’s research is on the coastal ocean, or areas where water meets land. Hine collects fossils and uses the pieces as visual learning tools to describe how Florida formed and believes that our appreciation for beauty helps remind us of the importance of protecting our natural environment.

Bay Champion - Jan Platt

Former Hillsborough County Commissioner Jan Kaminis Platt grew up in St. Petersburg, Florida, and spent her childhood fishing, wading and sailing though the Tampa Bay waters. Her love and passion for protecting the environment only increased as she entered into public service, becoming one of the strongest advocates for environmental preservation that the Tampa Bay area has ever seen. 

Jan Platt is the only one to be the chairperson of three major regional offices monitoring the health of the Tampa Bay environment; The Agency on Bay Management, Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council and West Coast Regional Water Supply Authority. Platt also developed the Environmental Land Program, which has allowed the county to purchase more than 61,000 acres for preservation since the program began.

View a trailer for Tampa Bay Water Story

Katy Hennig is the Manager of Digital News and Social Media for USF Health at the University of South Florida. The film Tampa Bay Water Story was created for her graduate studies in the Digital Journalism and Design program at University of South Florida, St. Petersburg.

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