Press Release for Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Whole Foods Market Community 5% Day Benefits UNF Wildlife Sanctuary

Joanna Norris, Assistant Director

Department of Media Relations and Events

(904) 620-2102


The Whole Foods Market in Jacksonville has selected the Wildlife Sanctuary at the University of North Florida as a beneficiary of their Community 5 Percent Day on Wednesday, March 31, during their operating hours of 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. The market is located at 10601 San Jose Boulevard in Mandarin.


On designated days throughout the year, a total of five percent of the day’s net sales are donated to local non-profit organizations. Customers can help support the University’s Wildlife Sanctuary just by shopping on this day.


“The Whole Food Market strives to support charitable causes and community organizations on a regular basis throughout the year,” said Neda Yazdanpanah, Whole Foods Market, Florida Region. “We chose the Wildlife Sanctuary because of the many ways they give back to the public and the earth.”


The UNF Wildlife Sanctuary is comprised of the Robert W. Loftin Nature Trails, which are five trails that traverse more than 500 acres of natural habitat and are open to the public. It also includes the Sawmill Slough Preserve, which is the preservation of 365 acres of diverse habitat on UNF property. This designation encompasses part of the nature trails system and protects these lands in perpetuity for research and education.


The John M. Golden Environmental Educational Pavilion is located on the Wildlife Sanctuary and serves as the campus headquarters for environmental education programs on a wide variety of topics for preschool students to high school students. It’s also the home of UNF’s summer EcoCamp, a fun and educational day camp where kids from across the greater Jacksonville area come to enjoy the outdoors and to learn about the natural environment and local wildlife.


“UNF has one of the best natural assets of any Florida university and the  The Wildlife Sanctuary is thrilled to be the beneficiary of Whole Foods Market Community 5 Percent Day,” said Becky Purser, director of UNF’s Department of Recreation. “The event will benefit the entire Wildlife Sanctuary and will help support the upkeep for its infrastructure, educational signage and programs as well as the new Verb Garden Project.”


The VERB (vegetable and herb) garden project was made possible by the generous contribution of local business leader and UNF alumnus Bruce Ogier, president and CEO of Capital Analysts of Jacksonville , and his brother, Frederick Ogier. The Ogiers were thrilled to be part of the first-ever sustainable organic garden at the University.


UNF students initiated the organic community VERB garden at the sanctuary that honors ecological systems and grows healthy food. The garden project, which only uses certified organic seeds, is taken care of by UNF students and is being progressed by students on campus.


Students are seeking to expand their garden growing space, and the Whole Foods Market looks forward to working with the UNF Wildlife Sanctuary in future garden projects. “This will be a great place where school children can visit to learn about organic gardening, composting, sustainability practices and more,” said Yazdanpanah.


The VERB garden is also an educational resource as several free sustainability workshops are offered, including “Composting 101,” “Introduction to Organic Gardening” and “Save Your Seeds.”


This mission of the UNF Wildlife Sanctuary is to support University objectives by offering experiences that cultivate awareness of the natural world. The nature trail system on campus opened to the public in 1973 and by 1977 was recognized as National Recreation Trails by the Department of Interior.


For more information about the UNF Wildlife Sanctuary and the programs and services it offers, call (904) 620-1810 or go online at