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USGS Celebrates 10th Annual Open House in St. Petersburg, Florida

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Jack Kindinger welcomes everyone as he kicks off a short ceremony celebrating the 10th annual USGS Open House at the center in St. Petersburg, Florida
Above: Jack Kindinger (at podium) welcomes everyone as he kicks off a short ceremony celebrating the 10th annual USGS Open House at the center in St. Petersburg, Florida. In background (left to right): Lisa Robbins, City Council Chairman James Bennett, Peter Betzer, Mayor Rick Baker, and USGS staff Susan Wadyka and Erik Lahti. [larger version]

Michelle Todd, James Bennett, Lisa Robbins, and Peter Betzer
Above: (Left to right) Michelle Todd, James Bennett, Lisa Robbins, and Peter Betzer share a sweet moment. [larger version]

The Mayor of St. Petersburg, other community leaders, scientific partners, the general public, and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) staff from the Florida Integrated Science Center (FISC) office in St. Petersburg celebrated the center's 10th annual Open House on Wednesday, November 5, 2008. A short ceremony commemorated the event, which drew more than 400 visitors. Jack Kindinger, Associate Center Director, welcomed everyone and recognized distinguished guests, including St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker and City Council Chairman James Bennett; Shahra Anderson, representing Senator Bill Nelson's office; Michelle Todd with Florida Governor Charlie Crist's office; City of Clearwater Councilman George Cretekos; St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership President Peter Betzer; USGS FISC Director Barry Rosen; and Chris D'Elia, Professor of Environmental Science and Policy at the University of South Florida (USF) St. Petersburg, among other guests.

Kindinger introduced Lisa Robbins, who began the Open House tradition 10 years ago when she was the Center Director. Robbins shared memories about the modest open-house beginnings and reflected on how the event has grown over the years. Students who visited open-house events as fourth graders during years past are now returning as student interns and scientists. "Through activities like this one, we are really making an impact," Robbins said. She also acknowledged the importance of the vision and the community support from such partners as the USF College of Marine Science and the Downtown Partnership. Robbins introduced Peter Betzer, "an important figure who worked to make the vision a reality. Peter was a key individual who helped bring the USGS to St. Petersburg 20 years ago."

"A lot has happened in the past 20 years," said Betzer, former Dean of the College of Marine Science, who has been a key participant in making the community vision come to life. He added to Robbins' reflections on changes that have taken place in the past 20 years since the USGS was established here. Betzer noted that the USGS provided a critical piece of the puzzle as downtown leaders worked toward creating a first-class marine-science center in St. Petersburg. "We are now more successful in luring other related science and technology to the area because of the strong presence of the C.W. Bill Young Marine Science Complex and all of the partners it includes [see Sound Waves article, "USGS St. Petersburg Office Dedicates New Building to Congressman C.W. Bill Young"]. It takes good city leadership to follow through and make all of these things happen."

Betzer introduced Mayor Baker, pointing out that he was recently recognized by Governing magazine as "2008's Mayor of the Year" (see URL http://www.governing.com/poy/2008/baker.htm) One of Mayor Baker's hallmarks is his support of education. The USGS participates in many of his initiatives, such as being a corporate partner for Bay Point Elementary Magnet School (see Sound Waves article, "USGS and Local Florida Elementary School Receive Mayor's Top Apple Award"). Mayor Baker recognized that he depends on many others to make things happen and introduced City Council Chairman James Bennett. The two shared praise for the USGS as a community partner and recognized the importance of the scientific work conducted here, which benefits the entire region. Bennett remarked that he brings his daughter to the Open House every year.

After the ceremony, cupcakes were served, and everyone took the opportunity to visit more than 40 displays highlighting scientific work by the USGS and many of its partners (see related article, "FISC's 10th Annual Open House" this issue).

Related Sound Waves Stories
FISC's 10th Annual Open House
Jan. / Feb. 2009
USGS St. Petersburg Office Dedicates New Building to Congressman C.W. Bill Young
June 2008
USGS and Local Florida Elementary School Receive Mayor's Top Apple Award
October 2005

Related Web Sites
FISC - St. Petersburg
Public Officials of the Year
Governing Magazine

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cover story:
Prehistoric Climate Can Help Forecast Future Changes

Escalating Endangerment for North American Freshwater and Diadromous Fish

Outreach USGS Celebtrates 10th Annual Open House in Florida

FISC Scientists Out and About Sharing Science

Meetings Northeast Florida Environmental Law Summit

Awards Amy Draut Wins SEPM 2009 James Lee Wilson Award

Staff Africanized Honeybees in the Florida Everglades

Publications Reversing Coral Reef Decline in Hawai‘i

Jan. / Feb. 2009 Publications List

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Updated December 02, 2016 @ 12:09 PM (JSS)