SEJ's 21st Annual Conference Agenda — Saturday





Agenda Coverage Registration Lodging/Transportation Español About Miami



As a journalism organization that believes in an open society, SEJ each year welcomes a diverse group of attendees to our annual conference. Attendees include representatives of business, government and environmental groups, as well as working journalists, academics and students.

Because non-journalists are here, you may see or hear presentations or responses to presentations that you might not expect from mainstream journalists. The presentations and any responses do not necessarily reflect the views of SEJ or any of its members.

As our guest, you should respect our interest in open discussions of environmental issues by thanking all participants in sessions you attend and not disrupting presentations of views you disagree with.

Finally, please respect our rule that SEJ members are given preference during question-and-answer sessions.

All sessions, as well as registration, exhibits and breaks, will be at the InterContinental Miami Hotel,
100 Chopin Plaza, unless otherwise indicated.

Note: The conference agenda is a rough draft only. All information is subject to change. Please check back often for updates and information on event times, speakers, etc. 


Saturday, October 22, 2011



7:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Sign up for Mini-Tours at the nearby SEJ table. If you didn’t sign up ahead of time for the Saturday evening party, or Sunday morning breakfast, there may still be room — please check with registration.

Location: Outside the Grand Ballroom (near elevators)


SEJ Information Table

Sign up here for Mini-Tours. Find information about membership and services, pick up copies of SEJournal, TipSheet, FOI WatchDog, and other publications.

Location: Outside the Grand Ballroom (near elevators)


Books and Books

9:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Visit Books and Books, Miami’s independent, locally owned bookstore, on site in SEJ’s exhibit area, where you will find a variety of books for sale, written by SEJ members, invited speakers and University of Miami professors.

Location: Ballroom Foyer in front of the Oxford room


Exhibitor Displays

Browse through the wealth of information offered by our independent exhibitors. Talk with experts about their hopes for new environmentally friendly innovations. Learn about educational opportunities. Add to your list of sources. Step outside to test-drive prototype alternative-fuel vehicles. Also in the conference area: Don't miss SEJ's Reading Room with our members' work on display.

Location: Mezzanine



7:00 - 8:45 a.m.
Location: Grand Ballroom


Dig, Investigate, Get Results! — An NAHJ Workshop

7:30 - 10:15 a.m.

This panel, organized by the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, runs concurrent with the Breakfast Breakout Sessions and Concurrent Sessions 3 below.


This session is for journalists who want to build their investigative reporting skills. Learn how to develop a “documents state of mind”; navigate public records; dig up “hard-to-get” information; do background checks and pick the right “characters” to make a good investigative story; and how to make it visual to produce high-impact local and national stories. This workshop will have a focus on environmental investigative reporting for print and for television. Attendees will leave ready with ideas for quick-hit investigations, better knowledge of available datasets, tips on the art of source development, and how to use the Internet as an investigative tool. Coverage.

Manny Garcia, Executive Editor, El Nuevo Herald; and President, Investigative Reporters and Editors
Pia Malbran, Investigative Producer, CBS News
Mc Nelly Torres, Associate Director, Florida Center for Investigative Reporting

Room: Chopin Ballroom


Breakfast Breakout Sessions

7:30 – 8:45 a.m.

1. Someone to Watch Over Us: Mapping Earth from Space
We're all familiar with the breathtaking images of Earth from space. But few know the complicated process to produce them. This eye-opening show-and-tell session will feature the latest technology in Earth-observing satellites. We'll learn how maps are made in real time, what the colors mean in the infrared spectrum, and how scientists program and use satellites to highlight biomass, deforestation, pollution, water temperature, etc. We'll also learn about a Colombian private compnay that builds and launches nano satellites, effectively positioning that country on the way to commercial space, and opening the door to future satellite observations of the region's environment. Coverage.

Moderator: Angela Posada-Swafford, U.S. Senior Science Editor, MUY INTERESANTE Magazine

Andres Alfonso, Founder, Sequoia Space
Hans Graber, Professor, Applied Marine Physics, and Executive Director, Center for Southeastern Tropical Advanced Remote Sensing (CSTARS), and Associate Dean for Infrastructure, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami
Steven Platnick, Earth Observing System Senior Project Scientist, Code 610, Goddard Space Flight Center, National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Room: Theater

2. Shark Attack: "Humankind at Its Worst"
Are we turning the corner on shark plundering? People are still killing an estimated 70 million sharks a year, primarily for shark fin soup. Jean-Michel Cousteau once said "shark finning is humankind at its worst." America and other countries have made strides in combating it. But, despite growing efforts from Asian and Western NGOs, the consumption of shark fin soup in the growing Asian economies is still seen as prestigious. Activism is now taking hold. Infiltrators. Celebrity outcries. More is known now about the chain of impacts that occur when the apex predators are largely removed. Species in some regions are 97 percent gone. This panel will also examine the sensational misnomers embraced by major media during summertime "shark week." Hear from several of the world's top authorities on a variety of aspects about the continued plundering of sharks. Coverage.

Moderator: Michael Williams, Investigative Reporter/Anchor, WPTV West Palm Beach

Fabien Cousteau, Plant A Fish
Matt Rand, Director, Global Shark Conservation, Pew Environment Group, The Pew Charitable Trusts
Christine Shepard, Multimedia Specialist, R.J. Dunlap Marine Conservation Program, University of Miami
Mahmood Shivji, Associate Professor, Oceanographic Center and Director, Guy Harvey Research Institute, Nova Southeastern University
Luke Tipple, Managing Director, Shark-Free Marina Initiative

Room: Sandringham


Beverage Break

8:45 - 9:00 a.m.

Location: Mezzanine near registration


Concurrent Sessions 3

9:00 - 10:15 a.m.

Entrepreneur’s Pitch Slam: Bring Your Ideas to Investors
Stories are important. But in today's evolving journalism world, so are business models. In fact, maybe it's time for more journalists to spend some of their creativity and energy figuring out how to keep the news business alive. What's your news-based business idea? Pitch it to a panel of experts who will give feedback and help us all learn about entrepreneurship. We need more people with journalistic values playing the information-based business game.

Moderator: Emilia Askari, Independent Journalist/Adjunct Professor/Graduate Student, University of Michigan

Sean Carlson, Manager, News Industry Relations, Google (invited)
Bobby Ghoshal, Founder, FLUD News (invited)
Michael Manes, Vice President, Journalism and Media Innovation, Knight Foundation (invited)
Mahendra Ramsinghani, Managing Director, First Step Fund (invited)

Room: Theater

Cuba Begins Oil Drilling 40 Miles Off U.S. Shores
If you think the BP spill did serious damage to fishing and tourism, imagine an unregulated drilling project just 40-50 miles up-current from South Florida pristine beaches and world-renowned fishing industry. Cuba is scheduled to begin drilling just weeks after the SEJ conference. Will the U.S. be able to influence its safety standards despite the U.S. embargo and 50 years of tension? Could the Castro brothers use the project as a political tool in their volatile relationship with Cuba's stated arch enemy? There are new efforts under way right now to create a dialogue between Cuba, the US and Mexico. And panelists will give us an insider's analysis of America's vulnerable position. Coverage.

Moderator: Helen Aguirre Ferre, Co-host "Prohibido Callarse," WQBA 1140 AM Univision Radio (Miami); and Host of "Issues," WPBT2, PBS Affiliate (Miami)

David Guggenheim, the "Ocean Doctor;" Senior Fellow, The Ocean Foundation; and Director, Cuba Marine Research & Conservation Program
Jorge Piñón, Oil and Gas Expert and Visiting Research Fellow, Cuban Research Institute, Latin American and Caribbean Center, Florida International University
John Proni, Executive Director, Applied Research Center, Florida International University; and former Director, Ocean Chemistry Division, Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Daniel Whittle, Cuba Program Director, Environmental Defense Fund

Room: Sandringham

An Alarming Update: Coral Reefs and Ocean Acidification
Coral is, experts say, the first animal community to be measurably impacted by climate change. And their status is in rapid change right now. Reefs are morphing from being the bellwether of the health in coastal habitat to the bellwether of climate change in the sea. They are hit with three things: acidifying oceans, warming temperatures, and more intense hurricanes — while fighting non-point source pollution and fertilizer runoff. Globally, the percent of healthy reefs continues to plummet. The SEJ conference this year sits amid one of the largest living reefs in the world, and the economic engine for fishing, tourism and coastal protection. Some of America's earliest marine protected areas sit in South Florida waters. Coral scientists are now considering protective measures that just a few years ago would have seemed outlandishly desperate, such as infusing less resilient corals with what makes others more resilient. Curiously, there are signs of hope. America's only protected species of coral is making an unexpected comeback. The coral ecosystems are out of sight and miles from inland media markets. Yet they affect everyone on the planet and have a story more timely now than ever before. Coverage.

Moderator: James Fahn, Executive Director, Earth Journalism Network and Country Director of Thailand, Internews Network

Andrew Baker, Associate Professor, Marine Biology & Fisheries, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami; and Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation
Mark Eakin, Coordinator, Coral Reef Watch, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Laurence McCook, Acting Director and Chief Scientist, Science Coordination Group, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
Jacqueline Savitz, Senior Scientist and Senior Campaign Director, Oceana

Room: Windsor

Clean Water Act: Who’s in Charge?
Often under court orders and legal pressure from activists, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been more aggressive lately in seeking to protect the nation's rivers, lakes and coastal waters. But the agency's actions to reduce water pollution in Florida have angered industry and state officials, who contend the feds are overreaching and threatening jobs. Similar disputes are brewing over federal involvement in protecting Appalachian streams from mountaintop mining and in restoring the Chesapeake Bay. Panelists will examine the roots of these controversies and what's at stake. Coverage.

Moderator: Tim Wheeler, Reporter, The Baltimore Sun

Drew Bartlett, Director, Division of Environmental Assessment & Restoration, Florida Department of Environmental Protection
David Guest, Managing Attorney, Florida Office, Earthjustice
Don Parrish, Senior Director, Regulatory Relations, American Farm Bureau Federation
Robert Sussman, Senior Policy Counsel to the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Room: Balmoral

The World's Most Aggressive Restoration Project: The Everglades


The late journalist Marjory Stoneman Douglas said "The Everglades is a test. If we pass it, we may get to keep the planet." It's a truly incredible place. Restoring what remains of the Everglades is in progress, while costing well over $10 billion and rising. But the coalition of interest groups that launched the grandest environmental restoration project demonstrated the economic as well as environmental benefits. New budget fights — tinged with political viewpoints — are threatening continued funding at the state and federal level. Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann proposed drilling for oil in the Everglades. This fiery panel will dissect the latest twists and turns on this planetary test. Coverage.


Moderator: Michael Putney, Journalist, WPLG ABC Miami; and Columnist, Miami Herald

Shannon Estenoz, Director, Everglades Restoration Initiatives, U.S. Department of the Interior
Kirk Fordham, Chief Executive Officer, Everglades Foundation
Charlie Crist, former Florida Governor (invited)
Pepe Fanjul, Florida Crystals (invited)
Dexter Lehtinen, former U.S. Attorney and former Miccosukee Indian tribe counsel

Room: Escorial

Critters and Climate Change: Winners and Losers
Climate change impacts on animals are often framed in terms of “winners and losers.” Yet one recent study projects that one in ten species may go extinct due to climate change by 2100 on our current emissions trajectory. Another has found that under these conditions, many ecosystems will need to shift about a quarter-mile per year for species to survive successfully. Given that science indicates climate change effects to be primarily negative rather than positive, will there be species that are truly winners? Is the winners and losers framing apt? We'll discuss climate change impacts on a range of species, along with conservation and mitigation strategies. Coverage.

Moderator: Elizabeth Grossman, Freelance Writer

Kassie Siegel, Climate Law Institute Director and Senior Counsel, Center for Biological Diversity
Paul Tritaik, Wildlife Refuge Manager, J.N. "Ding" Darling NWR Complex
Jake Weltzin, Executive Director, USA National Phenology Network, U.S. Geological Survey

Room: Alhambra

Kids These Days… Looking Out for Their Own Future

Left to right: Nicole Martinez, Melissa Quintana, Maddie Cowen, and Larissa Weinstein are featured in "Dreaming in Green." © Photo by Lynne Cherry.

Youth today are creative and successful in fighting climate change — creating and implementing projects, garnering support from scientists, teachers, parents and peers, reducing greenhouse gases and influencing their communities. The "Green Team" conducted an energy audit that saved their school $53,000. Jordan Howard is involved in "Clean Canteens," "Clean Plate Club," "Green My Parents" and National Wildlife Federation’s Eco Schools Program. The panelists starred in the films "Dreaming in Green" and "Green Ambassadors," part of the Young Voices for the Planet documentary series. As Alec Loorz says in "Kids-vs-Global-Warming," "Kids have power!" Coverage.

Moderator: Lynne Cherry, Producer/Director, Young Voices for the Planet and Author/Illustrator, The Great Kapok Tree

Erich Christian, Environmental Science and Policy Student, Florida State University
Maddi Cowen and Larissa Weinstein, Stars, “Dreaming in Green,” and Students, Coral Gables High School (Miami)
Jordan Howard, Star, “Green Ambassadors;” Participant, “Clean Canteens,” “Clean Plate Club,” and National Wildlife Federation’s Eco Schools Program; and Co-author, Green My Parents
Sean Russell, Project Director, "Stow It - Don't Throw It" Monofilament Fishing Line Recycling Project

Room: Michelangelo

Media Critics Dissect Science and Environmental Journalism
There has been a lot of fretting about the state of science and environmental journalism in recent years. “Mainstream” news outlets have cut specialized reporters and sections, reducing coverage of those beats. But a variety of new science and environment websites have sprung up to try to fill the void. Panelists will survey this fragmented media landscape, pointing out its shining stars and black holes in order to assess what has been gained and lost, and where the industry stands on balance. Coverage.

Moderator: Curtis Brainard, Science Editor, The Observatory, Columbia Journalism Review

Pere Estupinyà, Spanish-language Blogger, Knight Science Journalism Tracker
Paul Raeburn, Blogger, Knight Science Journalism Tracker
Bud Ward, Editor, The Yale Forum on Climate Change & the Media

Room: Raphael


Beverage Break and News Conference Podium

10:15 - 10:45 a.m.
The News Podium is a first-time effort by SEJ to offer a "soap box" to businesses, non-government organizations, and government bodies to present their potentially newsworthy plans, products and perspectives to the world's largest gathering of environmental journalists. SEJ provides a microphone and floor space; content of the presentations is entirely the responsibility of the convening organizations. (A News Podium flyer is available at the Registration Desk.)

All conference attendees are welcome to attend, but SEJ’s longstanding rules of engagement apply: The journalist-members of SEJ get priority in asking questions.

Convener: U.S. Forest Service

U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell will present and take questions on the Forest Service's new Planning Rule, which will set guidelines for how America's 155 national forests will be managed for years to come. USFS received over 300,000 public comments on the rule, which is due to be finalized later this year. Chief Tidwell is a 33-year veteran of the Forest Service. His career has included stints in the field and in Washington DC as a district ranger, regional forester, forest supervisor and legislative affairs specialist. Coverage.

Location: Mezzanine East near registration 


Concurrent Sessions 4

10:45 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

DocumentCloud, Google Ocean and Google Earth: Data Tools You Need Now (And They're Free!)
It's raining data. This session demonstrates some great new ways to handle it. DocumentCloud can help you make sense of large sets of primary source docs, from court filings, transcripts, testimony and legislation, to minutes, memos and correspondence. DocumentCloud allows journalists to annotate, analyze, create lists of people and places in documents, and publish to a team or the public, free of charge. Google Ocean and Google Earth help journalists and scientists work with complex information about marine science and water conservation, animate data and bring stories to life. Handouts will highlight other great tools for tapping social networks, mapping, crowd-sourcing, and crowd-funding. Coverage.

Moderator: Dan Fagin, Associate Professor and Director of the Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program, New York University

Amanda Hickman, Program Director, DocumentCloud
Charlotte Vick, Google Content Manager, "Explore the Ocean," Sylvia Earle Alliance

Room: Theater

Caribbean Environment: From Cuba’s "Paradise" to Haiti’s Nightmare
From deforestation and pollution, to overpopulation, loss of resources and lack of protection, many of the Caribbean nations face serious environmental problems now, and worse in the future. With 95 percent reef loss, Haiti lacks fish to feed its population. The largest fish found in those waters in recent years was six inches long. Reef Check has begun a project in Haiti to start a conservation area there, and is training people, which means they first need to learn how to swim. Cuba lives between an invasive species nightmare and a temporary botanical safe haven, but for how long? Puerto Rico's overdevelopment threatens to pave the entire island. We'll examine the present situation and any remediation efforts being undertaken in this area, so crucial for tourism and the fishing industry. Coverage.

Moderator: Susan Soltero, Univision.Net (Puerto Rico)

David Guggenheim, the "Ocean Doctor;" Senior Fellow, The Ocean Foundation; and Director, Cuba Marine Research & Conservation Program
Gregor Hodgson, Founder and Executive Director, Reef Check
Nadine Patrice, Executive Director, Operation Green Leaves Inc.

Room: Sandringham

Deep-sea Exploration: Drugs, Damages, and Other Discoveries
The deep-sea is the largest livable habitat on the planet and offers the greatest potential for new discoveries, yet remains ridiculously unexplored. Access is the greatest challenge, but advances such as a deep-sea observatory in the Monterey Bay Canyon and telepresence exploration offer new opportunities. Panelists will share deep thoughts on new hydrothermal vents in the Pacific, potential pharmaceuticals, and the good and bad news about the Deepwater Horizon's effects on the seafloor. Coverage.

Moderator: Mark Schrope, Freelance Journalist

Michael Perfit, Marine Geologist, and Professor and Chair, Department of Geological Sciences, University of Florida
Tim Shank, Oceanographer, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Edith Widder, President, Ocean Research and Conservation Association
Amy Wright, Director, Marine Drug Discovery, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, Florida Atlantic University

Room: Windsor

Does the Environment Impact Ethnic Groups Disproportionately? Does Anyone Care?
We'll look at how members of various minority groups perceive, prioritize, and respond differently to environmental issues that affect their communities — how “environmental justice” needs differ from one community to another and how social/economic justice, food justice and health justice issues play an integral role in addressing environmental issues particularly in minority and low-income communities. We'll address the lack of significant minority participation at all levels in the larger environmental community, especially leadership; what some groups are doing to address this issue; and how this lack of participation may affect everything from policy decisions, environmental news coverage in general and specifically environmental justice coverage. Coverage.

Moderator: Ayana Meade, Freelance Journalist

Marcelo Bonta, Founder and Executive Director, Center for Diversity & the Environment
Steve Curwood, Host and Executive Producer, “Living On Earth,” Public Radio International
Paola Elorza, Meteorologist and Environmental Reporter, Univision-WLTV
Richard Gragg, Associate Professor and Chair, FAMU Environment and Sustainability Council, School of the Environment, Center for Environmental Equity and Justice, Florida A&M University

Room: Balmoral

Invasive Species: Pets or Pests — Can We Keep Our Critters Contained?
Burmese pythons in the Everglades, Nile monitors in the suburbs, lionfish on the reefs. Across the country, similar pictures emerge. Gambian pouch rats carry monkeypox. The exotic pet trade has boomed since the 1990s, owing partly to Internet trade, lax import laws, and social values placed on unusual pets. When these pets end up in the wild, they can devastate our native wildlife. How can we prevent disease and ecological disasters? Will educating the public be enough? Can the pet industry regulate itself? Do we need better federal laws? Coverage.

Moderator: Susan Jewell, Wildlife Biologist and Author, Exploring Wild South Florida

Lad Akins, Director of Operations, Reef Environmental Education Foundation
Peter Jenkins, Executive Director, Center for Invasive Species Prevention
Marshall Meyers, Senior Advisor, Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council
Lori Williams, Executive Director, National Invasive Species Council

Room: Escorial

Energy Subsidies: Where’s the Money Going?
Tax credits, grants, tax deductions, liability caps, low-cost financing, and more: Governments intervene in energy markets in many ways. Which fuels get the most support, and how do those measures affect U.S. energy policy? What’s the argument for energy subsidies? Shouldn’t all fuels compete on a level playing field — or is there no such thing? And should energy subsidies be on deficit-cutting hit lists? Panelists will discuss the rationales behind different types of energy subsidies, the politics that keep them in force, and prospects for reform. Coverage.

Moderator: Jennifer Weeks, Freelance Writer

Paul Bledsoe, Senior Advisor, Bipartisan Policy Center
Peter Kelley, Vice President, Public Affairs, American Wind Energy Association
John Pendergrass, Senior Attorney, Environmental Law Institute
Kathleen Sgamma, Director of Government & Public Affairs, Western Energy Alliance

Room: Alhambra

Water, Water Everywhere…
A decade into what was supposed to be the century of water, what happened? In the United States, shrinking rivers and reservoirs reveal that not only the arid West, but also parts of the wet East are reaching their water limits. Still, most of the nation still pours relatively cheap, potable water onto lawns. On the global scale, climate change is effectively “water change,” yet the Copenhagen accord and other efforts pay relatively little attention to the most immediate threat of a changing climate. In this panel, journalists will hear how to go beyond the crisis-coverage of flood and drought to analyze how well or poorly their cities, states, regions and countries are dealing with water. Panelists include authorities on global and Western-U.S. water trends, along with an East coast expert who’ll fill us in on new thinking about wastewater just in time for the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act. Coverage.

Moderator: Cynthia Barnett, Senior Writer, Florida Trend Magazine; and Author, Blue Revolution: Unmaking America's Water Crisis and Mirage: Florida and the Vanishing Water of the Eastern U.S.

Peter Gleick, President, Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security; and Author, The World’s Water
Valerie Nelson, Director, Water Alliance
Bradley Udall, Research Faculty, University of Colorado; and Principal Investigator, NOAA-CU Western Water Assessment

Room: Raphael

Letting the Sunshine In: Florida's Solar Innovations
Innovators in Florida have taken bold steps to tap the Sunshine State's most plentiful energy resource. In 2009 the City of Gainesville introduced North America's first feed-in tariff for solar energy, providing the same guaranteed price premiums that drove Spain and Germany's world-leading solar scale-ups. And last year Florida Power and Light created the largest solar steam-generating operation to come online in the U.S. in two decades. Yet overall Florida has just 4 percent of U.S. solar capacity in a state whose solar potential is second only to the desert southwest and California's. The latter has twice Florida's population and 13 times more solar generation installed. Must Florida's solar innovators do more at home before they can have nationwide impact? Coverage.

Moderator: Peter Fairley, Independent Journalist

Peter DeNapoli, Manager, Eastern Region, SolarWorld USA
Pegeen Hanrahan, Environmental Engineer; and former Mayor, Gainesville
Adam Hasner, Republican Candidate, U.S. Senate; and former Majority Leader, Florida House (invited)
Julie Patel, Reporter, Sun Sentinel

Room: Chopin Ballroom


Lunch and Plenary — Flood, Sweat and Fears: Climate Change and Extremes

Noon - 2:00 p.m.


Climate change goes extreme and gnarly. In 2010, we saw one weather system that killed thousands of people with a record heat wave in Russia and cataclysmic flooding in Pakistan. Some have tried to connect it to climate change. Could it have happened without climate change? And speaking of flooding, Miami and South Florida would be mostly gone with a meter of sea-level rise. When scientists talk about a four- or five-degree temperature increase, that’s a change in averages. Where it really hits home is the extremes — flooding, storms, heat waves, precipitation — and in the slow and steady increase in sea-level rise. We’ll look at both in an area that could be considered ground zero for climate extremes and impacts from elevated sea levels. Coverage.

Moderator: Seth Borenstein, Science Writer, The Associated Press

Margaret Davidson, Director, Coastal Services Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Kerry Emanuel, Professor of Atmospheric Science, Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Sharlene Leurig, Senior Manager, Insurance Program, Ceres
Harold Wanless, Professor and Chair of Geological Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Miami

Room: Grand Ballroom


Mini-Tour Adventures

2:15 - 5:15 p.m.

Sign up on-site for the tour of your choice near the SEJ Information Table beginning Wednesday afternoon.

Tours will begin loading outside the front entrance of the Intercontinental Hotel immediately following the Saturday lunch plenary, and depart promptly at 2:15 p.m. SEJ staff and volunteers will be outside the hotel's front entrance to help you find your bus — all staged and numbered like below.

Tour 8 will not have a bus — look for the tour leaders holding up an 8 sign out toward the water outside the hotel's front entrance.

Seats have already been reserved for the tour leaders and speakers on the bus, i.e., tour leaders and speakers DO NOT sign the sheets!

  1. From Field to Table: Food Security and the Farmworker Experience
    Just miles from the hustle and bustle of cosmopolitan Miami lies Homestead, one of a number of Florida farm communities helping to provide much of the nation's winter harvest. Despite their proximity to the big city, getting healthy, affordable produce isn't easy for many low-income communities in the region, or even for the very farmworkers who pick the fruits and vegetables. We'll tour one innovative pilot farm/farmers' market/residential project for the homeless, which is trying to create sustainable harvests using organic methods and permaculture while addressing issues of access for low-income communities. We'll meet with farmworkers and their advocates to hear about the environmental hazards they face in providing the food we eat, and their own efforts to "go local" as part of a larger domestic fair-trade movement.

    Tour Leaders: Juan Carlos Perez-Duthie, Freelance Journalist; Laura Wides-Munoz, Hispanic Affairs Reporter, The Associated Press

    Speakers: Melissa Contreras, President, Urban Oasis Project; Cristina González, Outreach Coordinator, Earth Learning; Bambi Liss, Chef and Farmer Apprentice, Earth Learning; Jason Long, Farmer Apprentice, Earth Learning; Tirso Moreno, General Coordinator, Farmworker Association of Florida

    Attendee Cap: 50

  2. A Bigger Bottom: Sea-Kayaking off Virginia Key
    Kayak the shores of Virginia Key to see what's at risk as the Port of Miami prepares to broaden and deepen its bottom. This barrier island shelters sea grass and coral reefs in the shadow of downtown Miami. Its future vitality is threatened by ambitious plans to blast, deepen and dredge the Port of Miami to accommodate a new generation of bigger cruise and cargo ships. Concerns range from the impacts of blasting and dumping of dredge waste on the key to an increased likelihood of oil spills and grounding. Participants should be prepared for an afternoon in a sit-on-top kayak. Wear attire appropriate for a day in the water — waterproof footwear, sunblock, and a hat. Please bring a bottle of water. A waterproof gear bag, diving mask and snorkel are optional to bring.
    Fee is $15 for kayak rental — please bring cash.

    Tour Leaders: Carlton Ward Jr., Conservation Photographer; Nadia White, Assistant Professor, School of Journalism, University of Montana

    Speakers: Mike Gibaldi, Chairman, Surfrider Foundation, Miami Chapter; Blanca Mesa, Sierra Club Miami; Laura Reynolds, Tropical Audubon

    Attendee Cap: 30

  3. Wildlife Trade at the Port of Miami
    Ever wonder where all the seized illegal wildlife items end up? Come and see just what crazy creatures are brought into the country, legally and illegally. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Port of Miami Wildlife Inspection Program supports one of the largest designated import and export ports in the nation for live and perishable wildlife. Miami has more international flights than any other U.S. airport and has more South American flights than all U.S. airports combined, and is the top port of entry in the nation for venomous reptiles. It also handles birds, mammals, fish, and corals. Wildlife Inspectors here process 10,000-15,000 shipments per year, facilitating the legal trade and intercepting illegal trade.

    Tour Leaders: Michael Casey, Gulf Correspondent, The Associated Press, Dubai Media City; Laurel Neme, Author, Animal Investigators: How the World's First Wildlife Forensics Lab is Solving Crimes and Saving Endangered Species; and Host, "The WildLife" Radio Show

    Speakers: Sylvia Gaudio, Wildlife Inspector; Eva Lara, Wildlife Inspector; Tom MacKenzie, Media Relations Specialist; Sarita Valentin, Wildlife Inspector; Vicky Vina, Supervisory Wildlife Inspector; all with U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

    Attendee Cap: 28

  4. How South Beach Does Golf in Green Style
    Visit the links where the glamorous people play golf: The Miami Beach Golf Club. Surrounded by stylish homes in the heart of Miami Beach, the course is unique in Miami for using brackish water to irrigate paspalum grass, which can stand the salt. Learn the course's history and why it changed its turf. Find out where golf is headed as demands for greener practices increase. If time allows, we'll cross the street to visit the stunning Holocaust Memorial or practice our putts and drives in the sun.  Coverage.

    Tour Leaders: Perry Beeman, Reporter, The Des Moines Register; Jim Harper, Columnist, Biscayne Times

    Speakers: Steve Farrell, Director of Golf Operations, Miami Beach Golf Club; Jeff Hunt, Director of Marketing, Miami Beach Golf Club; Greg Lyman, Director of Environmental Programs, Golf Course Superintendents Association of America; Rick Reeves, Superintendent, Miami Beach Golf Club

    Attendee Cap: 50

  5. Can Baseball Go Green?

    600 Brickell, Florida's first Platinum LEED building.
    © Photo by Chuck Quirmbach.

    Deftly coinciding with the World Series, SEJ takes you out to the new baseball stadium being built for the Florida Marlins. The Marlins hope their new ballpark will become the first retractable-roof, Silver-LEED-Certified stadium in the nation. On the way to the stadium, we'll tour a 40-story office building that was Florida's first Platinum LEED building, and see how this high-rise went high-tech. We'll be in a construction site at the stadium, so long pants and hard-sole closed-toed shoes (no tennis shoes or sandals!!) are required. Coverage.

    Tour Leaders: Kenny Malone, Reporter, WLRN-Miami Herald News; Chuck Quirmbach
Environment Reporter/Producer, 
Wisconsin Public Radio

    Speakers: Pat Delano, Senior Project Manager, Hunt/Moss Joint Venture; Claude Delorme, Executive Vice President of Ballpark Development, Florida Marlins; JeanMarie Ferrara, Vice President of Public Affairs, Wragg and Casas Public Relations; Carolina Perrina de Diego, Director, Business Communications, Florida Marlins; Tracy Story, President of Management and Leasing, Foram Group

    Attendee Cap: 50

  6. Advances in Aquaculture
    Many wild fisheries are in steady decline, with aquaculture already accounting for about half of all seafood that goes to market. Yet many aquaculture practices devastate the marine environment due to pollution, disease and fishmeal production. Fortunately, scientists and aquaculturists have made incredible advances towards environmentally responsible farming. Join us as we tour the Aquaculture facility at the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. Here, researchers are experimenting with new aquaculture techniques, such as less polluting offshore, open ocean nets and new aquaculture species, like black-fin tuna. Also hear from experts with the Monterey Bay Aquarium and more.

    Tour Leaders: Cassandra Brooks, News Director, Last Ocean Project; Rebecca Kessler, Science and Environmental Journalist

    Speakers: Daniel Benetti, Professor and Director of Aquaculture, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami; Lisa Krimsky, Florida Sea Grant Extension Agent, Miami Dade County; Mike Sutton, Vice President and Director of the Center for the Future of the Oceans, Monterey Bay Aquarium

    Attendee Cap: 50

  7. Sustainable Landscape and Animal Encounters at Jungle Island
    Jungle Island is a commercial theme park with about 1,100 tropical birds and 2,000 varieties of plants and flowers on about 20 acres between downtown Miami and South Beach. This two-part tour will include a talk and walk through the park with Horticulture Vice President Jeff Shimonski. Jeff will explain Jungle Island's cost-effective, sustainable landscape development process from inception (10 years ago) to today — integrated pest management, plant health care programs, and "hurricane horticulture" tree management. Journalists will also experience the Jungle Encounter, a children's educational program where animal trainers offer interaction opportunities with animals. Animals on the island include tiger, black panther, lynx, spotted leopard, cougar, liger, orangutan, chimpanzee, Binturong, gibbon, Capuchin, lemur.

    Tour Leaders: Lynne Cherry, Producer/Director, Young Voices on Climate Change Author/Illustrator, The Great Kapok Tree, A River Ran Wild and 30 other children's books; Charlotte Kidd, Freelance Journalist and Horticulture Educator, Mid-Atlantic Regional Editor for the National Gardening Association

    Speakers: Jason Chatfield, General Curator; Ashley Serrate, Public Relations Manager; Jeff Shimonski, Vice President – Horticulture; all with Jungle Island

    Attendee Cap: 22

  8. New Insights Into Caribbean Reefs: Dockside Tour
    We'll take you aboard the state-of-art research vessel, the Golden Shadow, and hear from scientists who map and study the fascinating yet fragile world of the coral reef. The Golden Shadow is a 220-foot working yacht — complete with on-board seaplane — that will have just returned from its latest research mission in the Bahamas. We'll tour the research vessel and get an introduction to the science and research of the Global Reef Expedition, as well as a rare look at the life and lodgings of marine explorers. The Golden Shadow's work is sponsored by the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation.

    Tour Leaders: Kellyn Betts, Freelance Journalist; Robin Sussingham, Reporter/Producer, WUSF

    Speakers: Jeremy Kerr, 
Doctoral Student, National Coral Reef Institute, Nova Southeastern University; Sam Purkis, Professor, National Coral Reef Institute, Nova Southeastern University; Capt. Philip Renaud, Executive Director,
 Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation; Amanda Williams,
 Analyst, Marine Science Geographic Information Systems,
 Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation

    Attendee Cap: 28


NAHJ Afternoon Panel Sessions

Concurrent with Mini-Tours, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists will have panel sessions at the InterContinental that are open to SEJ conference attendees who don't take a tour:

  • Journalism Challenges in the Galápagos (2:00 - 3:00 p.m., Sandringham Room)
    The Galápagos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the world’s last Edens, now stand at a critical crossroad: to join a head-on collision with 21st Century development values — or to educate its residents how to conserve the rich biodiversity that makes the archipelago so famous. For the first time at SEJ a group of Galápagos journalists will explore the need to create professional and uncensored media outlets and help Galapagueños become better informed about what’s at stake: increasing threats to the islands’ unique wildlife and other natural resources; a tsunami of tourists; a surge in local population without sufficient infrastructure; the introduction of invasive species, and tighter government controls in recent years over press freedom.
  • Video for Print Reporters (in English & Spanish, 3:00 - 6:00 p.m., Windsor Room) and
  • More sessions TBA

For details, see the NAHJ program flyer at the Registration Desk.


Dinner, Awards, Eco-Fashion Show and After-Parties

Pre-registration and $35 fee required (includes the Sustainable Chefs panel, seafood and vegetarian-fare dinner, awards ceremony, eco-fashion show and after-parties).

Shuttle buses to Eden Restaurant will begin running at 5:30 p.m. from in front of the InterContinental and continue until 6:30 p.m. Catch a ride back to the InterContinental at 11:00 p.m. Buses will stage in front of the Setai Hotel and take conference goers and newly minted fashionistas back to the InterContinental. If you’d prefer an earlier (or later) ride back, a cab will cost you $20 - $25: Central Cab (South Beach), (305) 532-5555.

Sustainable Chefs: Reducing the Footprint of Your Dinner Plate
6:00 - 8:30 p.m.

Of all the "certified" and "sustainable" consumer initiatives — from wood furniture to aquarium fish — perhaps sustainable seafood is the most pervasive. And it can link every consumer in every city with protecting the world's oceans and its overfished species. But there are competing sustainable seafood initiatives that disagree on some aspects. Arguably the world's leader on this issue, the Monterey Bay Aquarium's "Seafood Watch program" is assisting with an extraordinary seafood dinner for SEJ attendees at one of South Beach's most sustainable restaurants, Eden. During this lively and less formal panel discussion held under the stars and swaying palms in Eden's outdoor courtyard, we'll hear from top experts on this issue as we eat away at delicious, sustainably harvested seafood and locally grown produce. We'll talk with celebrity chefs who sometimes anger customers but stick to their commitment to order sustainably. And we'll examine the Marine Stewardship Council's standards, which some scientists allege are not strong enough.

Ashley Ahearn, NPR Seattle
Jeff Burnside, NBC Miami

Chris Mann, Senior Officer, Pew Environment Group, The Pew Charitable Trusts
Jaimy Norris, Sustainable Seafood Specialist, Ocean Conservancy
Mike Sutton, Vice President, Monterey Bay Aquarium

This dinner is sponsored and organized by the Monterey Bay Aquarium, in cooperation with numerous Miami-area restaurants and chefs and food providers, including: Timone Balloo – Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill; Allen Susser – Chef Allen’s; Matthew Duryea – Eden; Paula DaSilva -- 1500°; Alejandro Pinero – Sustain. For a full list of sponsoring restaurants and chefs, and more details about the evening program, please see the Sustainable Seafood Dinner flyer at the Monterey Bay Aquarium exhibit table near registration.

Location: Eden Restaurant

A Night to Remember: SEJ’s Annual Awards Ceremony, an Eco-Fashion Show and After-Parties
8:30 - 11:00 p.m.

It’s Fashion Week in Miami and you’re invited to join us for a night of glitz and glamour with an environmental twist! Following the sustainable dinner and discussion at Eden restaurant (see above), we'll stroll across the street to the Setai Hotel, VIP-central for fashion week, for the main events — our presentation of SEJ’s Annual Awards for Reporting on the Environment, followed by a fashion show like none before. Some of the fashion world’s hottest designers, selected because of their trendsetting sustainable business practices, will gather to show their latest lines of eco-friendly threads. After the show, we're lining up nightclub options to mix and mingle with celebrities and fashionistas in SEJ’s first-ever After-Parties!

See the awards presentation intros on vimeo, linked from the 10th SEJ Awards for Reporting on the Environment winners page.

Jeff Burnside, NBC Miami
Vanessa Hauc, Environment Reporter, Telemundo Network





Wednesday, October 19
Thursday, October 20
Friday, October 21
Sunday, October 23