St. Johns River Experience

The St. Johns River Experience (SJRE) is one of the cornerstone programs of the Environmental Center. The SJRE combines classroom work with field experiences. Throughout the semester, students will collect samples in the field, conduct lab work, hear from expert guest speakers and go on community field trips. The highlight of the SJRE is the spring break field experience, where students embark on a journey to explore the St. Johns River. Students will spend their days visiting the majestic springs that feed the river, hiking the watershed and canoeing its winding tributaries. Students who participate will gain a deeper understanding of the St. Johns River and have an opportunity to network with scientists and environmental professionals from around the state.  

  • What is the St. Johns River Experience? A unique teaching and learning experience that takes place on the St. Johns River, an American Heritage River
  • Is there a cost to participate? Yes, students must pay $350 to participate. A $100 non-refundable deposit will be due at the end of the fall semester. 
  • Is the St. Johns River Experience a class? This experience is not a typical class, but students are required to enroll in a 3-credit interdisciplinary course that will meet Wednesdays from 12-2:45 p.m. Students will also be required to participate in Saturday field trips, a full-immersion trip during spring break and participate in a community forum at the end of the semester.
  • What is required to participate? The St. Johns River Experience is open to all undergraduate students at UNF in good academic standing. Students who are interested in participating must have a very positive attitude, work well with diverse groups and be open to new experiences. Students will also need to be comfortable being outdoors for extended periods of time and be able to swim. 

A limited number of spots available and the application process is competitive. The deadline for applications is Monday, Oct. 30, 2017. All applicants will be interviewed in early November and decisions will be made by Monday, Nov. 13. 

 

St. Johns River Experience Student Application

St. Johns River Experience

The St. Johns River
Sunset on the St. Johns River Osprey pair nesting Alligator

The St. Johns River is one of Florida's most magnificent natural features and was designated by President Clinton as one of only 14 American Heritage Rivers. The St. Johns River is home to hundreds of species of birds, mammals, reptiles and fish including manatees, ospreys, bald eagles, alligators and many, many more. Students will experience the St. Johns River first hand and get a chance to view a wide range of habitats and wildlife throughout. After the experience, students will have deeper connection with the river, Florida and nature as a whole.  

Water Quality and Ecology
SJR Experience: Science 1 SJR Experience: Science 2 SJR Experience: Science 3

Understanding water quality is critical to understanding the health of the St. Johns River. Therefore, every student who enrolls in the St. Johns River Experience will participate in both field collections and laboratory work. Students will test water samples for a variety of parameters and present their findings to fellow students. In addition, students will learn from some of the leading scientists working on management and restoration efforts. 

Adventure
Students canoeing Group photo  Group on a boat

In order to fully appreciate the St. Johns River, a number of trips are planned throughout the watershed so students can fully experience the impressive river. Students will spend their days visiting springs and exploring tributaries that feed the St. Johns River. Many of these trips are off the beaten path and allow students to experience some of the most beautiful and unique natural features associated with the St. Johns River.    

Art, Music and Culture
Musician with guitar Students making art Silver Springs sign

The St. Johns River is not only beautiful, but it is also extremely rich with history and culture. Students will hear from artists and musicians who draw inspiration from the St. Johns River and even create some of the own art!

Guest Speakers
St. Johns Riverkeeper talking to students Scientists using maps Students with Dr. Knight

 Throughout the St. Johns River Experience, students will have opportunities to interact with experts from around the state. Each day will feature a different speaker, which means one day you could learn about the rich history and the next how pollution adversely affects the river.

Past Participants

2017    

SJR Experience 2017 Group Photo
  Trip Leaders 

James W. Taylor, Environmental Center

Dr. Rick Troendle, Department of Chemistry

Students
Cathy Black, Coastal Biology
Lacy Bocharski, Anthropology
Kyle Kenney, Coastal Biology
Kalee Gaskin, Public Health
Bella Genta, Coastal Biology
Sean Lahav, Political Science
Molly O'Brien, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Catherine Vernon, Psychology
Ashlen Ward, Coastal Biology
     
2016    
SJRE Group 2016  

Trip Leaders

James W. Taylor, Environmental Center

Dr. Rick Troendle, Department of Chemistry
Jake FitzRoy, Eco Adventure
Amy Brownfield, Coastal Biology Undergraduate

Students
Nikki Adams, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Matthew Dent, History
Billy Howard, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Kai Lister, Chemistry
Shawna Melby, 
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Katie Nicholson, Coastal Biology
Myranda Parker, 
Biology
Ali Schweers, Psychology 
Zachary Sincage, Economics
     
2015    
SJR Experience 2015 Group Photo   Trip Leaders
James W. Taylor, Environmental Center

Dr. Rick Troendle, Department of Chemistry
Jake FitzRoy, Eco Adventure

Students
Erin Basset, Biology
Jessica Potter, Psychology 
Danielle Tipley, Biology 
Nicole LLinas,  
 Biology 
Gina Alvarez, Biology
Daniel Woodhouse, History
Ahmad Marar, Biology 
Amy Brownfield, Coastal Biology and Chemistry
Heather Levy, Biology 
Kyle Reeve, Biology 
Alexandria Maye, Coastal Biology 
Brittanie Sullivan, Nutrition 
Morgan Matchatt, Biology 
     
2014    
SJR Experience 2014 Group Photo   Trip Leaders
James W. Taylor, Environmental Center

Dr. Rick Troendle, Department of Chemistry
Jake FitzRoy, Eco Adventure

Students
Natalie Cleaveland, Chemistry
Lindsey Kilbride, Communications, Multimedia Journal 
Alyssa Bourgoyne, Interdisciplinary Studies 
Page Valtinson, Fine Arts, Painting, Drawing, Printmaking 
Justin Hites, Interdisciplinary Studies
Danielle Tipley, Biology 
Dedra Gutel, Biology
     
2013    
SJR Experience 2013 Group Photo   Trip Leaders
James W. Taylor, Environmental Center
David Giradin, Retired SJRWMD Scientist
Dr. Ray Bowman, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry

Students
Jolie Schlieper, Biology 
Katie Borello, Political Science
Patrick Goodwin, Biology 
Emily Gerik, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology 
Julia Ondruska, International Studies, International Relations
Christine Storms, Biology 
Laura Bryant, Chemistry
Chase Long, Coastal Biology 
Kelley Johnson, Chemistry 
     
2012    
SJR Experience 2012 Group Photo   Trip Leaders
April Moore, Environmental Center
Derrick Robinson, Environmental Center
Dr. Radha Pyati, Department of Chemistry
David Girardin, Retired SJRWMD Scientist
Dr. Ray Bowman, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry

Students
Abdub Jirmo, Political Science 
Amanda Anderson, History and Sociology 
DeBowrah Stevens, Psychology 
Genevieve Day, Anthropology and History 
Jamie Rothaug, Biology and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology 
Jenny Greene, Anthropology 
Michele Gandee, Political Science 
Roni Clarke, Chemistry 
Sandra Milesevic, Political Science and Anthropology 
Taylor Boice, Coastal Biology 
     
2011    
SJR Experience 2011 Group Photo   Trip Leaders
April Moore, Environmental Center
Derrick Robinson, Environmental Center
Dr. Radha Pyati, Department of Chemistry
David Girardin, Retired SJRWMD Scientist
Dr. Ray Bowman, Physical Biochemistry 

Students
James Taylor, Sociology 
Patrick Moran, Biology
Dustin Hampton, Civil Engineering 
Mary Bishop, Spanish 
Coraline Moulin, International and Biology 
Amanda Anderson, History and Sociology 
Ashley Compaan, Chemistry 
     
2010    
SJR Experience 2010 Group Photo   Trip Leaders
April Moore, Environmental Center
Derrick Robinson, Environmental Center
Dr. Radha Pyati, Department of Chemistry
David Girardin, Retired SJRWMD Scientist
Dr. Ray Bowman, Physical Biochemistry 

Students
Adam Rowley
Colleen Herms
Erin Teague
Jessica Crowe
Katherine Anagnostou
Nicolette Chimato
Robert Heatherington 
Robert Neiberger
     
2009    
SJR Experience 2009 Group Photo   Trip Leaders
April Moore, Chemistry and Math 
 
Radha Pyati, Environmental Analytical Chemistry 
David Girardin, Biology and River Docent 
Ray Bowman, Physical Biochemistry

Students
Garrett Adamson, Elementary Education 
Scott Johnson, Civil Engineering 
Neda Kadkhodai, International Studies 
Chris Long, Chemistry 
Derrick Robinson, Economics and Communications 
Mathew Romans, Chemistry 
Charli Silverman, Biology 
     
2008    
SJR Experience 2008 Group Photo   Trip Leaders
Ray Bowman, Physical Biochemistry
April Moore, Chemistry and Math 
 
David Girardin, Biology and River Docent 

Students
Kristyn Galane
Mark Hebb
Liban Jirmo
Cheryl Pakidis
Britney Popp
     
2007    
SJR Experience 2007 Group Photo   Trip Leaders
Dr. Ray Bowman, Physical Biochemistry
Dr. Jace Hargis

Students
April Alexander-Ziembroski
Belinda Delzell
Cheryl Pakadis
David Cacace
Garrett Adamson
Kathy Schofield
Mark Fitzpatrick
Ruth Elsses
Shaina Moore
Corinthians Hughey