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Sawmill Slough in Spring

September 2014

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.

Bowman pic

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 environment.  


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 Bowman TLO picwith 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. 


President Delaney ACUPCC

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

Students, 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 encouraged.


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. 29. 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

Cost: $5-25


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


Sierra Club

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, contact Jessica 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

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