Generally, when TECO team members spend time with Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful’s dedicated staff and volunteers, they’re building an oyster reef to refurbish a habit. Or removing invasive plant species by the ton. Or helping an ecosystem grow with new trees. Or some combination of all three – and many other things too.
On Dec. 6, it was all about hearty handshakes, smiles and photos in well-lit, air-conditioned room as Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful (KTBB) honored TECO for our help to restore McKay Bay, a large and critically valuable piece of the puzzle that creates a picture of the Tampa Bay area’s environmental magic.
The Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful Annual Awards Breakfast, at the Pepin Hospitality Center in Tampa, was an occasion to recognize outstanding partnerships in the community. With TECO, KTBB has a partnership that keeps growing – literally.
“TECO Energy has been an active volunteer group who has continuously stepped up to volunteer for various environmental projects specifically in the McKay Bay area,” said Debbie Evenson, executive director of KTBB, in remarks at the breakfast. “TECO [volunteers] … have removed over 25,000 lbs. of invasive plant species and thousands of lbs. of litter from the McKay Bay area. TECO Energy has also helped restore the shoreline at McKay Bay by planting 50 white mangrove trees.”
The result of this work – which you can see for yourself as you walk or ride your bicycle along the McKay Bay Greenway, part of the Great Florida Birding Trail – is a place where the native plants that call Florida home can thrive alongside the birds and other animals that belong there. It’s a place where mangroves can grow unhindered, enabling them to limit shoreline erosion. And with refurbished oyster bars, marine life can raise its young while the oysters’ natural filtration abilities produce cleaner water.
It’s good for you, good for economic development, good for Tampa Bay today and good for the future.
“Words can’t really sum up just how invaluable TECO’s experience with KTBB has been over the years,” said Stan Kroh, manager of Land and Stewardship Programs with Tampa Electric’s Environmental, Health & Safety (EHS) team. “The only thing better than doing something you really love is knowing that it’s making a positive difference in the world – and countless TECO volunteers across several departments, together with the drive of KTBB, have built the framework of a gift to the environment that will only keep giving.”