The Environmental Center Turns 10 and Welcomes a New Director
The Environmental Center welcomes Dr. J. David Lambert
as the new director. Dr. Lambert is an associate professor in the Department of
Construction Management and brings years of leadership experience to the
Environmental Center, having served on its executive board from its beginning. Dr. Lambert has taught courses at UNF related to green construction,
environmental issues, sustainability, building codes and geographic information
systems. In addition, he has been the director of the Environmental Monitoring,
Mapping, Analysis, and Planning Systems Lab (ENMAPS Lab) and the Advanced
Weather Information Systems Lab (AWISLab). Both labs attracted considerable
external funding for their research agendas from more than 40 different local,
state, federal and international organizations. In 2004, he received the
national “NOAA Environmental Hero Award” for his contributions.
The Environmental Center and its programs and opportunities would not have been possible without the efforts of Dr. Lambert's predecessors. Dr.
Ray Bowman, a founding faculty member of UNF’s Department of Natural Sciences who currently serves as professor emeritus of chemistry, founded the Environmental Center in 2004. His
vision of a UNF Environmental Center developed over many years but only came
to realization with support from President John Delaney. The Center’s focus would
be stimulating multidisciplinary teaching and research related to the
Thanks to the leadership of Dr. Bowman, the
Environmental Center was able to develop a number of environmental education
and research projects. Highlights include the development of multidisciplinary Transformational
Learning Opportunities focused on the St. Johns River and an annual report of the
ecological health of the St. Johns River Lower Basin in collaboration with
Jacksonville University. The Environmental Center has also utilized the campus
as a laboratory by conducing a yearly waste audit led by students called
Garbage on the Green. Additionally, efforts began to catalog the flora and
fauna of the campus’ abundant natural areas to advance the campus as a resource
for local environmental education. Dr. Bowman also began development of a
regional environmental guidebook “Sandhills, Swamps & Sea Islands”
published in 2010.
After Dr. Bowman’s retirement in 2008, the University
hired Dr. Radha Pyati to serve as the new director. The Environmental Center continued to build upon its early success during the course of the next few years. The
Center’s signature programs including Garbage on the Green on Green, the St.
Johns River Transformational Learning Opportunity and the State of the River
Report for the Lower St. Johns River Basin have all continued to grow in scope
and size thanks to Dr. Pyati's guidance. The Campus Natural Resource Inventory (CNAI), which
was started by Dr. Bowman, expanded under the leadership of Dr. Pyati and with
support from the Sawmill Slough Preserve curator Chuck Hubbuch. Those efforts led to an expansion of the inventory and the hiring of a full-time ecologist.
During the same time, the Environmental Center helped
the University expand its sustainability efforts and gain national recognition.
With guidance from Dr. Pyati, the Environmental Center completed the first
greenhouse gas inventory for the campus in 2010. Those efforts eventually led
to the signing of the American College and University President’s Climate
Commitment by President Delaney in 2011 and the development of the UNF Climate
Action. For its efforts, the Princeton Review, Sierra Club and the Association for
the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education have all recognized UNF as
a leader in sustainability. In 2013, Dr. Pyati
stepped down as director to become chair of the Department of Chemistry.
As we start a new year and a new chapter, the
Environmental Center will continue to grow and develop new programs. We will be
looking for input from our all of our supporters and partners, so keep an eye
out for details!
Thank you for your support over the last 10 years,
Environmental Center Staff
Click here for more information and to register.
Environmental Center Photo Contest
faculty and staff are invited to submit any photos of plants, animals or
landscapes that specifically feature our beautiful UNF campus. Photos
highlighting the Sawmill Slough Preserve and campus horticulture are
Please submit your photos to the Environmental Center by e-mail no later than noon
Friday, Sept. 26. A maximum of three photos per person is allowed, and only one prize
per person will be awarded. Please include name of photographer, classification
(student, staff, faculty), major or department and the location of the photo.
Photo captions are optional.
All photos submitted will be uploaded
to a contest album on the Environmental Center’s Facebook page on Monday, Sept.
People will be allowed to vote on their favorite photos until noon
Friday, Oct. 10. First place and runner-up prizes will be awarded to
the top two photos with the most “likes” and an additional prize will be awarded
to the “judge's favorite.” Keep in mind that all photos will be uploaded to
Facebook and will be available publicly.
1st Facebook Choice – Free
Environmental Center T-shirt and $50 VISA gift card
2nd Facebook Choice – Free
Environmental Center T-shirt and $25 VISA gift card
Judge's Selection – Free Environmental Center
T-shirt and $25 VISA gift card
Hike the Sawmill Slough Preserve with the Sierra Club
When: Saturday, Sept. 6
Where: Sawmill Slough Preserve (meet in Lot 100 near Parking Services)
The Environmental Center staff will be leading an enjoyable hike through the Sawmill Slough Preserve, a
382-acre protected area on the University of North Florida campus, with the local Sierra Club group. The hike is free and open to everyone. You do not have to be a Sierra Club member to join us. We will hike through upland pines, turkey-oak woodlands and cypress swamps.
Bring bug spray and a reusable water bottle. No pets are allowed.
For more information, contact James Taylor.
Northeast Florida Green Chamber Luncheon
When: Friday, Sept. 12 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Adam W. Herbert University Center
The Northeast Florida Green Chamber creates a forum to meet others who share interests in sustainable
business, do business in a sustainable way, produce profit and promote the
growth of sustainable economies in the Southeast. This month’s speaker is Lisa
Rinaman, St. Johns Riverkeeper. Catch up on the work that the Riverkeepr is
doing to protect our vital river systems and learn about issues that affect our community.
Click here to register.
2014 Garbage on the Green, Save the Date!
Date: Wednesday, Oct. 22
Save the date for the eighth annual Garbage on
the Green. Last year, 130 volunteers helped sort almost
900 pounds of waste. Additionally, more than 200 students interacted with the 18
community groups that exhibited during the event. We are looking for student
leaders to help plan this year’s event, so contact the Environmental Center if you are interested.
Click here for more information about Garbage on the Green.
Career and Volunteer Opportunities
Project Clean Plate
Food waste is a serious issue and Project Clean
Plate helps spreads awareness about international hunger and engages students to
act locally to combat hunger, reduce waste, save energy and initiate real
change! Last year's results showed that, on average, patrons of Osprey Café
wasted more than 4,000 pounds of food every week. Our goal is to reduce that
number by encouraging the UNF community to only take what food they plan on
eating. Volunteers are needed in the Osprey Café Sept. 15-26
from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. All volunteers will receive free lunch at
the Osprey Café the day of volunteering. Interested volunteers can register here or contact the Environmental Center for more information.
Garbage on the Green
Volunteer to help with the annual Garbage on the Green waste audit
Wednesday, Oct. 22. In addition to helping at the event, volunteers are
needed to help plan and promote the event. For more information, please visit
the Garbage on the Green webpage or e-mail the
Environmental Center to get involved.
Green Apple Day of Service
The goal of Green Apple Day of Service (GADoS) is to transform all
schools into healthy, safe and productive learning environments through local
service projects. Last year, 203,677 volunteers helped do projects in 41
countries! GADoS takes place Sept. 27, but projects will be done throughout
the months of September and October. The U.S. Green Building Council North Florida Chapter and the Environmental Center are looking for student leaders to
help create GADoS projects for local schools. Contact the Environmental Center
for more details.
McCoys Creek Cleanup, St. Johns Riverkeeper Rising Tides
Come out and help the St. Johns Riverkeeper Rising Tides clean up McCoys Creek in downtown Jacksonville Saturday, Sept. 20. For more details click here.
The local Sierra Club group is looking for volunteers to help promote Florida’s Land and Water Legacy campaign. They need help at the upcoming events
including Downtown Art Walk, Riverside
Arts Market and Beaches Green Market. They are also looking
for volunteers to help with a tailgating recycling initiative at Jaguars home
games during the upcoming season. If you are interested in helping,
Fessenden for more details!
Visit the Environmental Center's website for more volunteer opportunities.
Happening in the Community
Saving the Florida Panther, Sierra Club
Florida panthers now only number 100 to 180, with vehicle collisions the No. 1 cause of death. The Sierra Club’s Florida Panther Campaign aims to protect their remaining habitat. Lead organizer Alexis Meyer will fill us in on the latest about what’s being done and how we can get involved in the campaign to save the Florida Panther. The event takes place Monday, Sept. 8, at 6:30 p.m. at the Lakewood Presbyterian Church. Click here for more details.
Amendment 1: Florida's Land and Water Legacy, Sierra Club
Join the Northeast Florida Sierra Club Wednesday, Sept. 10, at 6 p.m. in the Ponte Vedra Public Library for a presentation by Jessica Fessenden about the basics of Amendment 1, which would set aside funds for the protection and conservation of our natural resources in Florida. Click here for more details.
Presentation of "The Wildest Woman in America," Public Trust
On Wednesday, Sept, 17, at 7 p.m., the Public Trust will host a presentation of "The Wildest Woman in America" by Will Harlan. Harlan is the author of "Untamed - The Wildest Woman in America and the Fight of Cumberland Island," a book about Carol Ruckdeschel - a combination of Jane Goodall and Annie Oakley. The event is free and will be held at the Beaches Public Library in Neptune Beach.
Field Trip: Paynes Praire and Butterfly Forest, Duval Audubon Society
The Duval Audubon Society will be leading a field trip to Paynes Praire Sunday, Sept. 21. Click here for more details and to register.