Water-Related News

USF Library announces Tampa Bay Environmental Collections & Oral History Project

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« Tampa Bay Estuary Program director Holly Greening

The University of South Florida Tampa Library, Special Collections, is pleased to announce the availability of The Tampa Bay Environmental Collections, a one-of-a-kind, fully accessible digital library tying together extensive collections of data, imagery, and reports on the water quality and restoration of Tampa Bay. Curated acquisitions of The Tampa Bay Environmental Collections include the Bay Study Group Collection, the Skip Gandy Photography Collection, the Roy R. “Robin” Lewis III Papers, the National Audubon Society/Florida Audubon Society Records, and the Jan Platt Papers. Additional collections have been acquired and will be available in the future.

USF Library Special Collections also announces The Tampa Bay Environmental Oral History Project, made possible through the generous funding of TECO Energy. This group of oral history interviews with twenty scientists and community leaders who were actively engaged in studying the bay and surrounding coastal Florida during the mid-20th century, a crucial time in Florida’s environmental history, compliments the Tampa Bay Environmental Collection digital library. Digital Collections & Services (DCS) at the USF Tampa Library recorded the interviews, which are now accessible in an online exhibition “The Tampa Bay Estuary: An oral history of community collaboration to restore ecological integrity”, http://exhibits.lib.usf.edu/exhibits/show/ohp-tampabayestuary on the USF Library Digital and Special Collections web site. Each video interview is also accompanied by a textual transcription. The full-length video interviews are available on YouTube (see link below).

Further information about the Tampa Bay Environmental Collections and the Tampa Bay Environmental Oral History Project is available from Andy Huse, Associate Librarian, USF Library Special Collections, or Dr. Ann Hodgson, Assistant Professor, USF Library Special Collections.

Beyond offering an invaluable resource on its own, the TBOHP provides vital context and background for existing resources pertaining to the environmental quality of Tampa Bay. The contextualization of this information and its global access provide scholars and community leaders access to an unparalleled resources and knowledge of a success story that directly addresses food and water security, public health, and the protection of critical natural resources.

This important oral history project ensures that the science of Tampa Bay’s restoration is commemorated and made available to future researchers, policy makers, and community members for generations to come. A key component was the integration of the project into the University of South Florida Libraries’ existing resources, which are accessible to students, educators, and the public.

In addition to its historical relevance to the Tampa Bay region, this project carries implications for other coastal regions experiencing similar rapid growth and development. At the broader geographic perspective, the TBOHP is extraordinarily relevant to coastal communities around the world as a case study and a model for ‘lessons learned’ in the conservation of estuarine quality and ecological services. The values and functions provided by a healthy estuary are virtually unlimited, involving a suite of biological and human dimensions categories. The development of coastal communities is linked to ensuring the inhabitants protect a freely available supply of high quality water resources. Communities rely on water as the foundation of their lifestyle, and to ensure their way of livelihood. For coastal communities, ecological services involve aspects such as fisheries production, unpolluted water for residential, agricultural, and industrial uses, recreational opportunities, and visual and olfactory aesthetic appeal. Because historical aerial photographs (“a picture says a thousand words”) so richly support the project, it can be used readily to explain basic ecological concepts to students of varying ages and educational levels.

Check out USF's Tampa Bay Environmental Collections »

Additional Contact Information

Andy Huse

Associate Librarian,, USF Special Collections

4202 East Fowler Avenue
Tampa, FL - 33620


Ann Hodgson

Assistant Professor,, USF Special Collections

4202 East Fowler Avenue
Tampa, FL - 33620