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10th Annual UF Law Public Interest Environmental Conference Focuses Feb. 19-21 on ‘Decade of Protecting an Eternity’

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Noted novelist and newspaper columnist Carl Hiaasen and major environmental issues facing Florida will share the agenda here Feb. 19-21, at the University of Florida Levin College of Law’s 10th Annual Public Interest Environmental Conference.

Entitled “Shaping Florida’s Future: A Decade of Protecting an Eternity,” the event will take place at UF’s J. Wayne Reitz Union and include state and national legal, academic and governmental officials. Focus will be on Florida’s water supply, marine and coastal problems, human health risks and land and development concerns.

Hiaasen, Miami-Herald columnist and author of nine best-selling novels, is noted for his strong pro-environmentalist stands which are reflected through his book’s characters. He will be keynote speaker on the 20th at a 7 p.m. banquet to be held at the UF Hilton Hotel & Conference Center.

Tulane University Professor of Law Oliver A. Houck will open the session at a 6 p.m. reception on the 19th at the Florida Museum of Natural History. Houck is former general counsel and vice president, National Wildlife Federation; a director of Defenders of Wildlife and the Environmental Law Institute; and a member of the Environmental Defense Fund litigation review board and committees of the National Science Foundation. Houck currently is consulting on the development of Cuba’s environmental law.

Among other participants are Lee Arnold of Colliers-Arnold/Colliers International, chair of the Florida Council of 100 Water Resources Taskforce; Dr. David Guggenheim, conservation policy vice president, Ocean Conservancy; Sonny Vergara, former executive director of SW Florida and St. Johns River Water Management Districts; Dr. Beverly Wright, Deep South Center for Environmental Justice; and attorney Jeanne Zokovitch, Legal Environmental Assistance Foundation.

Organizers of the event are students of the UF Environmental and Land Use Law Society, with sponsorship assistance from the law school’s Center for Governmental Responsibility, Florida Bar’s Environmental & Land Use Law Section, Law College Council, Law Center Association, UF Student Government, Jelks Family Foundation, and the law firms of Hopping Green & Sams, P.A., Tallahassee; Lewis Longman and Walker, P.A., Tallahassee / Jacksonville / West Palm Beach; and Rumberger Kirk & Caldwell, Orlando. Lawyers attending the conference are eligible for Continuing Legal Education credits.

Conference co-chairs are Erika Zimmerman, second-year student from Mandarin, and Ryan Osborne, 3L from Longwood. Detailed information on the conference, registration, speakers and panelists is available at

Media contacts: Chairs Erika Zimmerman & Ryan Osborne (352.392.2237)
Communications Chair Drew Melville (352.392.2237)

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