May 15, 2015
ORLANDO, Fla. – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection recently welcomed colleagues from South Korea and Australia as part of the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program. DEP has a long history of cultivating best business practices through the exchange of ideas with international partners.
“Florida has always been a leader in environmental protection,” stated Central District Director Jeff Prather. “The fact that environmental agency professionals from other countries are willing to travel to Florida to discuss similar challenges in their work and brainstorm ideas with us is a testament to our success as an agency.”
This past week, Stefan Kaufman from Australia’s Environment Protection Authority (EPA) visited the Central District to learn how DEP incorporates science as part of its decision-making process. A highlight of his two-day visit was a trip to Wekiwa Springs State Park to learn about park management, particularly, maintaining a balance between environmental protection and visitor satisfaction. Mr. Kaufman also accompanied department officials to Lake Minneola where they collected data for the Lake Vegetation Index, demonstrating the department’s water quality restoration plan process. Mr. Kaufman also participated in a roundtable discussion with district scientists and engineers about how science impacts policy and decision making.
In April, executive environmental professionals from South Korea also visited the DEP Central District Office in Orlando. Their visit included a roundtable discussion with DEP Central District Director Jeff Prather and representatives from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission about state government’s role in protecting natural resources and emergency response situations.
The DEP is recognized as an international leader in environmental protection and is an active participant in global discussions on state environmental management. Collaborative relationships with international organizations and environmental agencies help promote the exchange of ideas across the world, not only helping the department succeed, but also positively impacting citizens of countries worldwide.