Author: flaqwaterstories

Upcoming Day of Discovery Focuses on Autism-friendly Experiences

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By Joe Guidry, former opinion editor, The Tampa Tribune In his recent State of the City speech Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn launched an “Autism Friendly Tampa” initiative, pledging that the city would work with the University of South Florida’s Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD) to better meet the needs of residents with autism. It is an admirable undertaking, and one that The Florida Aquarium has pursued for years with USF’s CARD. Buckhorn is […]

Tampa, Know Your Tortoises

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The Florida Aquarium’s e-newsletter recently ran this delightful photograph of Koko, a burrowing owl, riding on the back of a gopher tortoise. The species share the same habitat in the aquarium uplands display, but the photograph is as telling as it is cute. The lowly gopher tortoise carries a lot other creatures on its back – at least figuratively. Scientists say the burrows gopher tortoises dig provide a home or refuge for more than 350 wildlife […]

Getting Sea Turtles Back on Their Flippers

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By Joe Guidry, former opinion editor, the Tampa Tribune “It was 9 a.m. on a recent Monday.  Our Florida Aquarium Center for Conservation sea turtle release team climbed into two vehicles.  Our shelled comrades, Rosemary and Ginger, quietly rested in their transport carriers. Two hours later, our convoy arrived at Cape Canaveral Seashore and within 15 minutes the two healthy loggerhead sea turtles fitted with microchips swam out into the surf and out of sight. […]

Turning Feel-Good Words Into Action

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By Joe Guidry, former opinion editor, the Tampa Tribune The Florida Aquarium’s pioneering efforts to save coral reefs, which are dying at an alarming rate, is attracting a lot of news coverage, and rightly so. But those reports, such as The Tampa Bay Times’ recent Paul Guzzo story on The Florida Aquarium working with Cuban scientists to create greenhouses for growing coral that can eventually be replanted, represent more than just scientific progress. The Aquarium’s […]

A Well-Articulated “No” Protects Tampa Bay

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By Joe Guidry, former opinion editor, the Tampa Tribune Former Hillsborough County Commissioner Jan Platt was mocked by political opponents as “Commissioner No” because of how often she voted against development proposals that came before the Board. It was a nickname that ultimately most Hillsborough residents came to see as a badge of honor, as she fought an often-lonely battle against projects that posed a threat to public resources, particularly Tampa Bay. While she lost […]

Finding Wild Florida at Myakka

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By Joe Guidry, former opinion editor, the Tampa Tribune Unlike many aquariums that focus on sharks, dolphins and other offshore species, The Florida Aquarium, in telling the Florida water story, illustrates how intrinsically tied those coastal species are to swamps and wetlands far removed from the shore. It is a fascinating story, one that includes creatures that range from otters to tarpon, and makes one appreciate the remarkable diversity of Florida’s natural riches and understand […]

A Restored Tampa Bay—The Positive Side of the Regulatory Equation

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By Joe Guidry, former opinion editor, The Tampa Tribune To hear some elected officials tell it, regulations are the devil’s spawn – they destroy efficiency, increase prices and kill jobs. In fact, during the political season, the word regulations is almost always preceded by “job-killing.” There is some truth to the claim that bureaucratic red tape and command-and-control policies hamstring enterprise and deter innovation, the reason officials should take care when adopting new rules. But […]

The Singular Brand of Thom Stork

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By Joe Guidry, former opinion editor, The Tampa Tribune The story goes that Thom Stork’s first meeting with The Florida Aquarium staff after he was named CEO of the struggling attraction in 2002 was tense. The staff, who took their environmental-education mission seriously, worried the marketing whiz who’d spent most of his career generating buzz for the Anheuser-Busch Theme Parks wouldn’t appreciate their efforts. So, Thom began the meeting by asking, “All right, where are […]