A Rising Tide of Advocacy at Tidally United

By: Jeff Moates

Sea Level Rise is a major issue in Florida. A recent piece by the Washington Post put the Tampa Bay area in the crosshairs of a major tropical event and detailed the amount of destruction that could occur should a Category 4 or 5 type storm make a direct hit. This had the locals talking, especially the area’s government and elected officials specifically about the issue of Sea Level Rise. FPAN staff has prioritized efforts to be a part of the conversation too. The Heritage Monitoring Scout program and its annual meeting, known as Tidally United, are important pieces of FPAN’s programmatic response to coming impacts on coastal archaeological and heritage sites.

Just this month, our colleagues from FPAN’s Southeast and Southwest Centers co-hosted the Second Annual Tidally United Summit in Hollywood, FL. For this go-around FPAN teamed up with the Tribal Historic Preservation Office of the Seminole Tribe of Florida and the Ah-Tha-Thi-Ki Museum to accommodate participants and attendees at the Tribal Learning Center.

The Summit commenced with a warm welcome from a Junior Tribal member and wrapped up with a succinct and poignant response from Betty Osceola, a member, farmer, and educator of the Miccosukee Tribe about Native People’s resiliency in South Florida. In between archaeologists, researchers, Tribal members, and members of the general public shared information and discussion about climate change, environmental and social justice, community, and efforts aimed at restoration and tracking changes at coastal sites.

Betty Osceola of the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians and Panther clan, addressing the importance of partnerships, community, and most importantly hope and positivity in facing the inevitable challenge of sea level rise and climate change.

 

Across the state of Florida the Heritage Monitoring Scout program is building capacity. Recent data show over 250 registered scouts are actively monitoring over 220 archaeological and heritage sites all along our extensive coastlines in Florida. We look forward to highlighting more of the scouts and monitoring projects at next year’s conference. In the coming year, we are excited to plan for and host the next Tidally United Summit in the Tampa Bay area and are looking to build on the successes of the first two conferences. Tidally United 2018 will continue the tradition of creating a space for stakeholders, community, and researchers to share information and learn more about how we can each have a role in shaping our quality of life here in Tampa Bay and across Florida.

Join us next year at Tidally United in the Tampa Bay area!

 

Jeff is the Director of the West Central Regional Center of the Florida Public Archaeology Network, located at the University of South Florida in Tampa. If you would like more information about the Heritage Monitoring Scout program or Tidally United please contact him at jmoates@usf.edu

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