When People Think Deeply About Higher Waters

When People Think Deeply About Higher Waters

Posted on February 06, 2023 by Tom Tryon, consultant with The Patterson Foundation

Editor's Note: Tom Tryon is a consultant for the Higher Waters: Suncoast Quality of Life at The Patterson Foundation and can be reached at thomastryonfla@gmail.com and @TomTryon.

“I hadn’t thought about that,” she said.

Spoken words, music to my ears.

The occasion was the aftermath of my first-time presentation at the Florida Philanthropic Network’s annual summit on Feb. 2.

Kiarra Louis and I, supported by Rachel Hettinger, talked about The Patterson Foundation’s Higher Waters: Suncoast Quality of Life initiative. The presentation was titled "Higher Waters: How Funders Can Engage Coastal and Inland Communities in a Hot Topic."

We discussed two main points: The need for coastal communities to plan for continually rising seas and the importance of recognizing that the inland flooding threats, whether caused by heavy rainfall or rising rivers, should not be ignored.

Following the presentation, one of the attendees told me she found our discussion illuminating. She not only works in Hillsborough County, but her longtime family home is located in urban Tampa – near a relatively narrow stretch of the Hillsborough River that feeds the substantial waters of Hillsborough Bay.

She had not viewed sea-level rise and its impacts on the river – and the historic, nearby neighborhoods – until our presentation. Upon returning home from the conference, she planned to examine potential impacts of flooding on her family home and the surrounding area.

New awareness of the dual dangers of Higher Waters: mission accomplished.

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