Two "Champions of the Bay" Honored
Former Hillsborough County Commissioner Jan Platt and retiring Hillsborough EPC Director Rick Garrity were proclaimed "Champions of the Bay" Thursday in a luncheon sponsored by the Tampa Bay Estuary Program and the Agency on Bay Management.
Speakers shared personal memories of both leaders, highlighting their combined 80+ years of working to restore and protect Tampa Bay.
Jan Platt served four years on Tampa City Council and 24 years on the Hillsborough County Commission. She was a driving force in the creation of both the Agency on Bay Management in 1985 (and still an active member) and the Tampa Bay Estuary Program in 1991. She also advocated successfully for creation of a highly-acclaimed local land-buying program, now known in her honor as the Jan K. Platt Environmental Lands Acquisition and Protection Program.
Jan is also an avid angler who loves to fish in Tampa Bay. She has been a pivotal leader in tirelessly promoting actions that have restored more than 40,000 acres of seagrass in the bay -- a level not seen in 60 years.
Rick Garrity will retire on June 30 after nearly 15 years as Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Commission of Hillsborough. He will have more time for travel and wildlife-watching then!
Before taking the helm at EPC, Rick also served as Tampa's Urban Environmental Coordinator, Water Resource Team Administrator for Hillsborough, and the director of the state Department of Environmental Protection's Southwest office.
EPC's water quality monitoring program is one of the longest-running and more comprehensive in the nation. It has played a critical role in assessing the health of Tampa Bay and tracking progress toward meeting our restoration goals.
The luncheon featured remarks by past and present staff coordinators of the Agency on Bay Management, longtime environmental advocate Sally Thompson, and EPC staff members. All noted that Jan and Rick had been inspirations for others to become involved in protecting our local environment.
TBEP Executive Director Holly Greening presented Jan and Rick with beautiful awards and proclamations declaring them to be "Champions of the Bay."
Thank you, Jan and Rick!