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Press Release:

MEDIA CONTACT: Christine Dardet

FAU to Host ‘Risk and Response: Sea Level Rise Summit’

BOCA RATON, FL (May 18, 2012) – Florida Atlantic University's Florida Center for Environmental Studies within the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science will host a "Risk and Response: Sea Level Rise Summit" on Wednesday, June 20 from 3 to 5 p.m., as well as on Thursday, June 21 and Friday, June 22 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Boca Raton Marriott, 5150 Town Center Circle, Boca Raton.

The purpose of the summit is to share the ongoing responses and adaptation planning of agencies, institutions and civic society to sea level rise and compare the Florida situation and response with other vulnerable localities in the U.S. and worldwide.

"Florida's coastal ecosystems and inland water systems are uniquely vulnerable to sea level rise," said Leonard Berry, Ph.D., director of the Florida Center for Environmental Studies at FAU."Projections for sea level rise risk in Florida – even for the short-range future – suggest a steadily growing threat to Florida's infrastructure and ecological treasures. United efforts between academia, agencies and organizations, along with the general public, via dialogue and research, are more likely to produce benefits and change for our region and our future than independent work."

South Florida is one of the world's most vulnerable areas to climate change, especially sea level rise. The potential adaptation to sea level rise is complicated by the porous limestone geology of the region, permitting salt water intrusion into important aquifers. The low level terrain in many areas makes even a relatively small sea level rise problematic.

FAU's Sea Level Rise Summit will host a reception where local and national professionals and researchers, VIPs and journalists may network and view more than 40 posters and displays that highlight collaborative efforts, research and new and innovative projects surrounding sea level rise, its impacts on urban and natural areas, adn methods for education and outreach.  The reception will be followed by a special viewing of the award-winning film, "There Once Was an Island."

The full two days of summit activities will include seven facilitated panel sessions covering such topics as the economic implications of sea level rise, impacts on the built environment, and collaborative and educational efforts. The summit will close with Nobel Peace Prize winner Michael Mann leading a facilitated discussion with participants that will provide recommendations and actionable steps to move participants forward in their efforts to affect change in their organizations and lives. Mann is a physicist and climatologist who is currently director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University, and he was a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore in 2007.  Recommendations will be incorporated into a summary report and disseminated widely via the Center for Environmental Studies' website, extensive data base, and social media outlets.

The Sea Level Rise Summit is supported in part by the Flora Family Foundation, Florida Sea Grant, U.S. Geological Survey, Wells Fargo, Renaissance Reinsurance, Patel School for Global Sustainability, Natural Resources Defense Council and Florida Atlantic University. The event is open to the general public, agencies, decision makers, businesses, planners, researchers, risk management offices, and other interested parties. The registration cost is $200 until June 12, and on-site registration will cost $225. Registration includes materials, all sessions and panels, Thursday evening's Tropical Green Reception, and two breakfasts, two lunches and all breaks.

For more information or to register, contact Mary Beth Hartman at 561-799-8553 or, or visit


About Florida Atlantic University:
Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University serves more than 29,000 undergraduate and graduate students on seven campuses and sites. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. For more information, visit

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