New Smyrna Beach

New Smyrna Beach - Blue Community Day

Location of Our Event in New Smyrna Beach, Florida - Brannon Center

Amazing. The Blue Community Team truly couldn't have asked for a better more productive event yesterday. With close to 200 in attendance, our Pilot program for assessing the sustainability plans and management of coastal communities and hotels was a tremendous success in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.

>>Unexpectedly, Volusia Country Florida proclaims October 2nd as "Blue Community Consortium Day"

>>Spring Hills Suites Marriott has become the first branded property in the world to be honored for its environmental efforts by a new program affiliated with the United Nations’ World Tourism Organization

>>The hotel was one of three New Smyrna Beach businesses to receive the honor Wednesday, alongside the Marine Discovery Center and Third Wave Café & Wine Bar.

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The New Smyrna Beach Area Visitors Bureau is a member of the Blue Community Consortium. The Blue Community Consortium seeks to protect oceans, coastal habitats and marine environments in Florida through implementing Blue Community and other sustainable tourism strategies. The Waves of Change Clue Community program is an opportunity for coastal communities to declair their own work to protect the oceans and promote ocean sustainability. The oceans are under increasing threats from pollution, overfishing, impacts of climate change including coral bleaching, acidification, and increased storm intensity. The Waves of Change campaign is responding to these issues with ocean clean-up programs, improving ocean literacy, supporting ocean champions, ecosystems restoration, and programs to adapt and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

Unless policies for protection of the oceans and promotion of ocean sustainability are increased, coastal communities are likely to experience adverse impacts. The Blue Community program is a place for learning and sharing those best practices, which mitigate those impacts. It currently has 12 strategies in place to protect coastal habitats and marine environments:

  1. Improve building design - build more sustainably and for disaster reduction
  2. Promote mass transportation - reduce carbon emissions
  3. Reduce energy use
  4. Water conservation
  5. Improve waste management
  6. Reduce use of plastic
  7. Promote local Organic or Hydroponic food
  8. Promote sustainable seafood
  9. Protect coastal habitat and cultural heritage
  10. Clean marina initiative
  11. Education
  12. Planning, policy and management

Press for Blue Community Day in New Smyrna Beach

SpringHill Suites New Smyrna Beach has landed an environmental award by a United Nations-backed organization.

A New Smyrna Beach hotel has become the first branded property in the world to be honored for its environmental efforts by a new program affiliated with the United Nations’ World Tourism Organization.

The oceanside Springhill Suites by Marriott on Wednesday will receive what’s known as the Blue Community Award, which recognizes businesses that encourage and promote environmental practices.

The hotel received high marks for being energy and water efficiency, showcasing local artists and locally sourcing its buffet food.

“The fact that this is a brand hotel makes us hopeful the model will work,” said David Randle, director for the Blue Community Award.

The hotel will be one of three New Smyrna Beach businesses to receive the honor Wednesday, alongside the Marine Discovery Center and Third Wave Café & Wine Bar.

Sheri McHenry, Springhill Suites by Marriott co-owner, said she had sustainability in mind when the hotel opened early last year.

“We are not fanatics, but we live in an area where the ocean, rivers and the estuary are local treasures so we want to be protective of it,” said McHenry, who has lived in the region 12 years.

Among the hotel’s features are eco-friendly washer-extractors in place of conventional washers and dryers, collection of runoff water on-site, extra insulation between floors and underground parking.

The Blue Community Consortium, which hands out the award and consults with the United Nations’ Economic and Social Council, has a stated mission of protecting and restoring coastal habitats and marine environments. The award props up companies that enhance that work.

Randle hopes to expand the award and eventually honor a hotel in Orlando’s huge market, which includes more than 500 properties.

Randle said he has been working with the city’s Director of Sustainability and Resilience Chris Castro on a framework for Orlando’s participation in the program.

Bringing Orlando on board with the program could be a major step in helping the newly minted certification grow, Randle said.


“Orlando has the opportunity to be a global leader and literally change the world,” he said. “I don’t say that as a cliché. We can bring Orlando models and good work to the UN and to the world.”

Randle said being environmentally conscious is a task he hopes more people undertake.

“We only have one planet,” he said. “There is no Planet B.”