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OBSERVE AND CONSERVE Cynthia Barnett believes that water conservation issues do not receive the attention they require in the modern media landscape. She expressed a belief that this can be changed, but that it must begin at an individual or grassroots level. Photos by Tyler Whitson and Arielle Scherr AUDUBON FLORIDA 2012 ASSEMBLY ATTENDEES TOUR SARASOTA'S SPECIAL PLACES AND LEARN WHY THEY NEED TO BE PROTECTED By Tyler Whitson Contributing Writer Every year that passes sees an increase in the importance of water conservation in Florida, not only to sustain human development but also to preserve and protect the landscapes and wildlife that are essential to maintaining a balance throughout the state's fragile eco- system. While the past few years have seen a number of major steps forward in the development of projects taking these concerns into account, citizens, environmental groups and legislators must remain persistent in their ongoing mis- sion to push the conservation agenda forward and into the future. This was the message of cautious optimism summed up by the official title, "Conserve Water to Sustain Life," presented by activists, journalists and politicians to attendees at Audubon Florida's 2012 Assembly, the major- ity of which took place at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Sarasota Oct. 26-27. The conference, which is held in a different location in Florida toward the end of every year, gives the organization's staff, members and supporters an opportunity to establish an agenda for the upcoming year, discuss the progress that has been made toward achieving the goals of the previous year, take education- al field trips, participate in workshops and in-

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