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Army Corps Colonel featured at Conservation Forum on Feb. 24

By Staff | Feb 18, 2010

Col. Alfred A. Pantano, Jr.

Colonel Alfred A. Pantano, Jr., District Commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District will be a featured panelist at the Second Annual Conservation Forum at BIG ARTS, sponsored by SCCF, BIG ARTS and the Everglades Foundation on Wednesday, Feb. 24 at 7:30 p.m.

Col. Pantano assumed command of the Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District in July of 2009. He recently graduated from the United States Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pa. Prior to this assignment, he served as the Chief of Staff of the United States Army Engineer School at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. He commanded the 94th Engineer Combat Battalion (Heavy) in Germany, Iraq and at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.

In addition, Col. Pantano has long been interested in the Everglades. For his Master’s in Strategic Studies degree, he prepared a strategic research paper, “Everglades: The Catalyst To Combat The World Water Crisis.”

Also featured on the panel will be Dr. Thomas Van Lent, Senior Scientist for the Everglades Foundation; and Rae Ann Wessel, SCCF Natural Resource Policy Director who has brought the voice of the west coast and our estuary to the discussions and decision-makers. Kirk Fordham, CEO of the Everglades Foundation, will moderate the panel discussion.

Dr. Lent has a distinguished career as a scientist and engineer. He graduated from South Dakota State University before attending the University of Minnesota and Stanford University, where he received master’s and doctorate’s degrees respectively. He has also worked at the South Florida Water Management District, Everglades National Park and as an assistant professor at South Dakota State University. Van Lent is a resident of the Florida Keys.

Wessel is a limnologist and marine scientist with 27 years of experience working in the environmental field in South Florida. For 19 years, she managed her own environmental consulting firm, Ecosystem Specialists, working both in the field and with regulations at the local, regional, state and federal levels.

Fordham is a veteran political operative, having worked on numerous House and Senate campaigns. He currently serves as chief executive officer of the Everglades Foundation. Previously, Fordham worked as head of Rock Creek Strategies, his own public affairs and government relations firm.

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn more about the Army Corps’ work in Florida and the status of federal funding for Everglades Restoration projects.

The program, “Everglades Restoration 360: Get The Big Picture At BIG ARTS,” will include brief presentations by Col. Pantano, Dr. Van Lent and Wessel, followed by an interactive public participation panel discussion and question and answer session moderated by Fordham.

Following the presentation, attendees are invited to a wine and cheese reception on the Gainer Veranda, sponsored by BIG ARTS.

Join us for this unique opportunity to hear from Colonel Pantano, learn how Everglades Restoration impacts the Caloosahatchee and our estuary, ask questions about Everglades Restoration and Federal participation in the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP).

The program will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 24 beginning at 7:30 p.m. at BIG ARTS’ Schein Hall. Tickets are $15 for adults; $5 for students. BIG ARTS is located at 900 Dunlop Road on Sanibel. Tickets are available at BIG ARTS or by phone at 395-0900.

For more information on the program, please call SCCF at 472-2329.