15 Sep Tampa Bay’s Habitat Ambassador
Spotting Brandt Henningsen is easy. Tampa Bay’s habitat ambassador is two parts infectious enthusiasm, one part outdoor fashion icon in mud boots, blue jeans, and polarized sunglasses, and one part map-toting tour guide. His passion is getting folks knee-deep in the bay, inspiring them to preserve and reclaim Florida’s vanishing natural heritage.
In a long career with the Southwest Florida Water Management District, Brandt has directed Tampa Bay’s largest habitat restorations – Cockroach Bay, Clam Bayou, Terra Ceia, Rock Ponds – and been one of the bay’s most passionate cheerleaders.
“The bay’s remarkable turnaround has been decades in the making,” says Henningsen, senior scientist with the District’s SWIM program. “Seeing the progress we’ve made, the awe of nature prospering, constantly motivates me. But the job is never done. So it’s important that the next generation take up the torch and carry the work forward.
We have only one Tampa Bay. It’s our home. We have to take care of the bay so the bay can take care of us.”
Did you know? Marsh grasses are planted at restoration sites in Tampa Bay, while mangroves typically grow without a helping hand from humans as seeds float in with tides and take root.
Photo By: Peter Clark