Cela Tega Conference Series

Cela Tega 2020

"The Estero Bay is in trouble: What Citizens can do to help"

Saturday, January 25th 2020
Cohen Student Union Ballroom 8AM to 8PM (map)
Florida Gulf Coast University
Fort Myers, FL 33965

Cela Tega 2020 – Agenda with YouTube Links

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Nora Demers, conference organizer at ndemers@fgcu.edu or 239-590-7211.

Cela Tega logo


Cela Tega is the southwest Florida native (i.e.: Calusa) term for "A view from high ground." We used it here to symbolize "overview."



The program is one which should be of interest to all residents of Southwest Florida, especially to our residents who want to help effect positive change in the health of the Estero Bay Region. We have long been aware of the problems of excess nutrients in out waters. The red tide and cyanobacteria blooms of 2018 brought the issue to the forefront of our collective minds.  Our beaches were littered with dead sea life; our rivers were full of a blue-green algae bloom that was releasing toxins into the environment, and likely fueling red tide even further.  The economic vitality of the region is based on a healthy environment for visitors and residents alike.  The need to address these problems has never been more immediate.  Attendees to this conference will hear from experts in science, policy and civic engagement. Our goal is to help residents obtain the knowledge, information and skills to be a positive influence in addressing these issues.  


Time: 8:30-9:00
  • Speaker: Jim Beever, Planner for the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council:
    Estero Bay Agency on Bay Management State of the Bay 2019

    Jim Beever Bio

Time: 9:00 - 10:30
  • Session I - What We Can Do to Reduce Harmful Algae Blooms
Time: 9:00-10:00 Panelists presentations
  • Jennifer Hecker, Executive Director for Coastal and Heartland National Estuary Partnership (CHNEP):
    Tracking and Reducing the Nutrient Pollution that fuelsHABs

    Jennifer Hecker Bio

  • Ernesto de la Vega, Lee County Hyacinth Control District (LCHCD):
    Unintended Consequences of the Fertilizer Ordinance on Lee County Storm Water Ponds

    Dr. Ernesto Lasso de la Vega Bio

  • Serge Thomas, Aquatic Ecologist,  Florida Gulf Coast University:
    Storm water retention ponds- research and management

    Dr. Serge Thomas Bio

  • Marisa Carrozzo, Conservancy of Southwest Florida:
    Making the case for a statewide stormwater rule
Time: 10:00-10:30
  • Q&A for panel
Time: 11:00-12:30
  • Session II - Moving Water to Help Our Wetlands, Estuaries, and Habitat Restoration
Time: 11:00-12:30  Panelists presentations
  • Dr. Bill Mitsch, Kapnick Everglades Wetlands Research Park[BROKEN LINK]:
    Troubled Waters: Sea turtles, plastics, red tide, Everglades, wetlands,wetlaculture and misguided policies in south Florida

    Dr. Bill Mitsch Bio

  • Dr. Shawn Clem, Research Director for Audubon Florida:
    The increasingly important role of inland wetlands in a developed landscape

    Dr. Shawn Clem Bio

  • Brad Cornell, Southwest Florida Policy Associate, Audubon Florida
    South Lee County Watershed Initiative

    Brad Cornell bio

  • Nicole Iadevaia,  Coastal and Heartland National Estuary Program (CHNEP):
    CHNEP Habitat Restoration Needs Plan for Estero Bay

    Nicole Iadevaia Bio

Time: 12:00-12:30
  • Q&A for panel
Time: 12:30-1:30 -  Lunch:
  • Keynote speaker, Mr Ralf Brooks, JD:
    "We are all in the same boat"*
    * Jacque Cousteau "The sea, the great unifier, is man's only hope. Now, as never before, the old phrase has a literal meaning: we are all in the same boat."
Time: 1:30-3:00
  • Session III - Policy
Time: 1:30 - 3:00
  • Phil Flood, Legislative Liaison, Regional Representative Ft. Myers Service Center of SFWMD: 
    Public Input to the South Florida Water Management District

    View Phil Flood Bio

  • Wayne Daltry, former Smart Growth and Regional Planning Council Director: 
    The Role of the Citizen in Upholding and Improving Public Environmental Policy,SWF

    Wayne Daltry Bio

  • Haley Busch for Jane West 1,000 Friends of Florida
    Managing Growth: The Land-Use and Water-Quality Nexus

    Jane West Bio

Time: 2:15 - 2:45
  •  Panel Q & A
Time: 3:15-4:45
  •  Session IV- Public Participation
Time: 3:15 - 4:45
  • Clara Anne Graham, League of Women Voters:
    Turning Information into Action
  • Maggy Hurchalla, Miz Lioness the aging icon:
    Can You be Sued for Trying to Save the World?
  • Nora Demers, Advisory Board(s) member: 
    Public participation on advisory boards, Opportunities and experiences

    Dr. Nora Demers Bio

  • Savannah Lacy, P.E. Lake Okeechobee Basin Manager US Army Corps of Engineers (Jacksonville Division):
    Public participation with the Army Corps of Engineers

    View Savanah Lacy Bio

Time: 4:00-4:30
  • Panel Q & A
  • Time: 10:30-10:55 AM - Networking Break
  • Time: 3:00-3:15 - Networking Break
Time: 5:00 - 6:00
  • Networking/cash bar (CC214)
Time: 6:00-7:30
  • 6:00-6:20: Dinner fundraiser (Cohen Ballroom) 
  • 6:30-7:30: Keynote Speaker: Craig Pittman author and investigative journalist: Cat Tails in the Estero Bay

    Craig Pittman Bio

Jan 26th 12:30-4:00 PM M/V River Queen Caloosahatchee River Tour

Cela Tega 2020 Conference Sponsors

Estero Bay SponsorEstero Bay Agency on Bay Management

Coastal Heartland logo

Coastal and Heartland National Estuary Partnership

FGCU logo

FGCU (Office of the President)
FGCU College of Arts & Sciences

Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council

Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council

Responsible Growth Management Coalition Inc

Responsible Growth Management Coalition

Vestermarine sponsor

Vester Marine Lab (FGCU)

Estero Bay Buddies Sponsor

EsteroBay Buddies

LWW Logo

League of Women Voters of Lee County

Natives of corkscrew sponsors

Natives of Corkscrew

Estuary Escape

Estuary Escape