OLDSMAR – According to Oldsmar’s new sustainability coordinator, Trista Brophy, the city has a long history of innovation and commitment when it comes to sustainability.

In addition to being the first community in the Tampa Bay area to implement single-stream recycling and the first to install electric charging stations, Oldsmar’s Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment Plant was the first of its kind in the state, and second in the country, to be LEED certified, and the city’s annual Drive Electric event is one of the biggest of its kind, not to mention one of the few, in the area.

But city officials aren’t resting on their laurels when it comes to promoting sustainability; Brophy said they are planning to roll out numerous new programs and initiatives designed to expand their efforts through community engagement.

“The city is trying to expand their sustainability efforts by increasing stakeholder and community engagement,” Brophy recently said via email. “As Florida increasingly faces more sea level rise and extreme weather events related to climate change, resiliency planning is paramount.”

Brophy said in order to help citizens “understand the fundamental concepts, latest information, and build the necessary skills to proactively address impacts for our coastal community, the city is offering many opportunities in the coming months.”

Those opportunities will include: a Florida-friendly landscaping class on Feb. 20 at Oldsmar Fire Rescue; a screening of “DIRT! The Movie” on March 28 at the Rawk Star Café; the annual Sustain the Bay Drive Electric event at City Hall on Saturday, March 31; and a water conservation art challenge, with the winning entrants to be honored at a City Council meeting on Tuesday, May 1. Brophy also noted the city recently received a Tampa Bay Estuary grant that will fund a rain garden designed to redirect runoff at Mobbly Bayou Preserve, and all the events and initiatives will be extensively promoted and covered via a new Facebook page dedicated to the city’s ongoing sustainability efforts.

“Overcoming the challenges that lie ahead in truly being a sustainable city, economically, socially, and environmentally, will require collective action from all stakeholders,” Brophy explained.

She noted the art contest is just one creative approach they came up with to help engage the community in what they are doing.

“This art challenge will empower a diverse group of community members to become water ambassadors by creating artwork that fosters long-term natural resource conservation efforts,” she said. “The art exhibit will allow all members of the community to study, explore, and gain a comprehensive understanding of water management, climate, and the importance of sustaining our water resources through in our everyday lives.”

Submission guidelines for the challenge are as follows: Art should highlight drinking water conservation themes or issues; art must be original and weigh less than 50 pounds with maximum dimensions of 4 feet high, 4 feet long, and 2 feet wide; mixed media types are accepted; art pieces can be dropped off to City Hall between April 16-20, and must be picked up between Monday, June 25, and Wednesday, June 27.

An opening reception will be held on Tuesday, May 1, from 5-7 p.m., and the artwork will be displayed May 1-June 22 in the City Hall lobby and hallways.

For more information, visit Facebook.com/SustainableOldsmar.