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Sawmill Slough in Spring

November 2014

2015 St. Johns River TLO Application Deadline Extended

Group photo of students on the St. Johns River TLO

The St. Johns River Transformational Learning Opportunity (TLO) is a unique experience offered to all undergraduate students in good academic standing. Students who participate will embark on an eight-day journey during spring break along the St. Johns River, visiting the majestic springs that feed the river, going on canoe adventures and learning about its ecology and rich history from expert guest speakers. In addition to the St. Johns River, this trip includes stops at Silver Springs, the Ocklawaha River, Blue Spring, Wekiwa Springs, Rock Springs Run and much more! Students participating in the St. Johns River TLO will be required to enroll in a one-credit lab that meets Wednesdays from 1-3:50 p.m. Jan. 14 through April 15. This lab is open to all students and has no prerequisites. The application deadline has been extended to Friday, Nov. 7.   

Visit the St. Johns River TLO website for more information and to apply.

Faculty Seed Grant Applications

Applications for Environmental Center Seed Grants for up to $6,000, an increase from previous years, are available to faculty or teams of UNF personnel that include at least one tenure track faculty member. In addition to the financial increase, only two grants will be awarded this year. Seed Grants are intended to stimulate the creation of multidisciplinary research projects related to the environment. Funds may be used for faculty stipends, wages for students and expenses directly related to a proposed project and are allowable from education and general (E&G) funds. Applications will be accepted until noon Monday, Nov. 3. If you have questions, contact James Taylor.


Click here for more information and Seed Grant applications.

Garbage on the Green and Campus Sustainability Week Review

Group photo of Garbage on the Green organizers

Another successful Campus Sustainability Week is in the books! The perfect weather helped make this week especially awesome. Thanks, Nature! 


The week started off with a screening of the fun film WALL-E, which was shown outside on the Green. The amazing weather and great crowd made this a special evening. On Tuesday, the Environmental Center spoke to students, faculty and staff about installing electric vehicle charging stations on campus. The people we spoke to seemed rather optimistic about the idea and felt it was the right direction for UNF. They also provided suggestions on where the stations would be potentially located. If you are interested in learning more about this initiative, contact Environmental Center Student Assistant Kevin O’Halloran.


Photo of students conducting the Garbage on the Green waste audit

The eighth annual Garbage on the Green waste audit and Eco-Expo took place Wednesday and was a huge success! In total, 118 volunteers participated in Garbage on the Green and spent 260 hours conducting a campus waste audit. An awesome group of students from Atlantic Coast High School also joined in the fun! The audit results help UNF make informed decisions to improve recycling and reach the Florida’s 75 percent recycling goal by 2020. While results from this year's audit are not in yet, the 2013 Garbage on the Green results showed that 68 percent of everything collected was recyclable. Unfortunately, a large percentage of those recyclable items were found in the trash. In fact, more recyclables were found in the trash than actual trash last year!   

The week ended with a guided hike in the Sawmill Slough Preserve, led by Environmental Center Ecologist Justin Lemmons. The sun was shining and the weather was cool, which made for a gorgeous adventure. Many wildflowers were in bloom and gopher tortoises came 

Group photo of hikers in the Sawmill Slough Preserve

out to bask as hikers transitioned their way through different habitats. As students hiked around the Preserve, they learned about the unique natural asset and biodiversity at the tips of their fingers, as well as the importance of proper management and research, which helps maintain healthy ecosystems.   


The week of activities are organized by the Environmental Center, with support from the UNF Sustainability Committee and Physical Facilities. We would also like to thank Republic Services, Pepsi and Health Promotions for their support of Garbage on the Green. 


Click here to view photos from Garbage on the Green.

Environmental Center Photo Contest Winners

We had 41 spectacular submissions in the first Environmental Center Photo Contest! Thank you to everyone who submitted photos and voted. 


First place photo, a squirrel on a tree branch  Photograph of Najaf Abasov who submitted the winning photograph

The winning photograph was submitted by student Najaf Abasov, who is enrolled in the On Campus Transition Program. 


Second place photo, image of boardwalk in the Sawmill Slough Preserve

The second place photograph was submitted by Ambur D. Carter, an art education junior. 


Judge's selection photo, boardwalk in housing Photo of Emily Harezlak who submitted the judge's selection photograph

The judge's selection was submitted by Emily Harezlak, an elementary education senior. 

Click here to view all photos submitted in the Environmental Center photo contest.

Sunrise Yoga and Beach Cleanup

When: Wednesday, Nov. 5, from 7-9 a.m.

Where: Orange St. beach access in Neptune Beach


As part of UNF Volunteer Services’ Lend-A-Week, the Environmental Center is hosting a sunrise yoga session on the beach. Hillary McDonald, a certified Kripalu Yoga teacher and co-founder of FreshJax, will guide the yoga session. Please be sure to bring a yoga mat or beach towel. After being rejuvenated from yoga and some wonderful sunshine, we will help clean up the beach and surrounding area. 


We will be meeting at the Orange St. beach access at 6:45 a.m. All supplies for the cleanup will be provided. You can help show Osprey pride by wearing a UNF shirt for the cleanup. Carpooling will be available and will leave UNF at 6:15 a.m. If you would like to carpool, please contact James Taylor.   

Click here for more information about this event and other Lend-A-Wing events.

Presentation from Dr. Erin Largo-Wight, 2014 Seed Grant Recipient

When: Wednesday, Nov. 5, from 10-11 a.m.

Where: Social Sciences Building (Building 51), room 3102


Dr. Erin Largo-Wight, an associate professor in the Department of Public Health and a 2014 Environmental Center Seed Grant recipient, will discuss her recent study about the impact of outdoor classrooms. The presentation is hosted by the Center for Applied Research in Child and Adolescent Development (CARCAD) as part of their 2014 Lecture Series. 

US Green Building Council 20.40 Talks

When: Wednesday, Nov. 5, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Where: Adam W. Herbert University Center


Inspired by PechaKucha and TED Talks, US Green Building Council (USGBC) North Florida Chapter and the Environmental Center bring you 20*40 Talks, a dynamic series designed to unleash the creativity of our region and foster sustainability. Speakers for November include Mark Gelfo, LEED Fellow and director of sustainability, TLC Engineering for Architecture as he discusses Florida’s New Energy Code in Florida Bryan Blazek from Ted’s Montana Grill and Janice Fleet discussing the city of Green Cove Springs Sustainability Plan. 

Visit the USGBC North Florida Chapter website to register.

Duval Audubon EagleWatch Training on Campus

When: Saturday, Nov. 15, from 10 a.m. to noon


The Duval Audubon Society and Environmental Center will be hosting a training session for anyone interested in volunteering for the Audubon EagleWatch Program. Matt Smith, coordinator of the Florida EagleWatch Program, will lead the training. Audubon EagleWatch seeks information about Bald Eagles, active nest locations and possible disturbances or threats to nesting activities. The program is designed to educate volunteer participants in general eagle nesting biology, applicable laws, the identification of nest threats, monitoring techniques and the verification of previously unrecorded active eagle nests. The data is compiled and used to assist the state's mid-winter annual Bald Eagle Nesting Survey by documenting both urban and rural eagle nesting activity, successes and failures. The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service also utilizes EagleWatch data to enhance its conservation and law enforcement efforts. 


This event is free and open to the public. No registration is required.  

View the Duval Audubon Society's Meetup page for more events.

Career and Volunteer Opportunities

The Shrub Dig! with 1,000 Trees Jax

When: Saturday, Nov. 8, from 9 a.m. to noon

When: Beach and Peach Urban Park


JaxParks and 1,000 Trees Jax will work with volunteers to plant more than 300 native shrubs at Beach & Peach Urban Park. Shrub species include wax myrtle, beautyberry, saw palmetto and muhly grass. This planting is a part of a much broader plan to restore the natural upland and wetland communities found in the park. Please wear closed- toe shoes and long pants at the event. Bring a reusable water bottle to help reduce waste! R.S.V.P. by e-mailing 1,000 Trees Jax. You can also find out more information on 1,000 Trees Jax's Facebook page


Crosby Saturday - Bridge and Trail Maintenance

When: Saturday, Nov. 22, at 8 a.m.

Where427 Aquarius Concourse, Orange Park, FL


Join the Duval Audubon Society for their monthly volunteer event at the 500-acre Crosby Sanctuary in Orange Park. This month they will be working on the bridge and trails, but of course they will get some birding in as well. There will be opportunities to explore the sanctuary, as well as help with upcoming improvement projects, such as kiosks, bridge crossings, bird nest boxes, bird blind, landscaping, etc. This volunteer opportunity is open to everyone and no registration is required. Visit the Duval Audubon Society’s Meetup page for more information.  


McCoy's Creek Cleanup

When: Sunday, Nov. 23, from 10 a.m. to noon

WhereMcCoy’s Creek Blvd. and Goodwin St.


Join the Rising Tides of St. Johns Riverkeeper and the North Florida Land Trust for a fun cleanup along McCoy’s Creek, which flows directly into the St. Johns River. No registration needed. Wear closed-toes shoes and waterproof boots if you are able. Bags and Gloves will be provided. Kayaks are needed to help with the cleanup.  

Happening in the Community

Northeast Florida Green Chamber Field Trip and Picnic at Our Fertile Earth Farms

When: Friday, Nov. 7, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

WhereEdgewood Gardens

Join the Northeast Florida Green Chamber on the first Friday of each month for an informal gathering of like-minded professionals and individuals to share ideas about green business. This month’s meeting will feature a special tour of the amazing community garden created by Our Fertile Earth and the local residents in the Edgewood area. This will be a great time of education and networking, as well as a lovely outing for all. Food will be provided. The Environmental Center is covering the cost for UNF students to attend. Please show your Osprey pride by wearing a UNF shirt at the event! Deadline to register is Tuesday, Nov. 5. Click here to register for the event.


Guerilla Yoga Jax: Rolling Out on the River

When: Friday, Nov. 7, from 6-9 p.m.

WhereLady St. Johns, docked downtown

Join Guerilla Yoga Jax as we bring our love out to the St. John’s River for an evening of yoga, live music, veg-friendly snacks, and conscious community onboard the Annabelle Lee Riverboat. We’ll enjoy a sail along our iconic St. John’s River under the setting sun. After the practice, we’ll have a chance to enjoy the view and some fantastic local veg cuisine. Space for this event is limited because we have to observe capacity requirements on the boat! Make sure you sign up and reserve your spot. We’re offering practice passes as well as companion passes for those who just want to hang out and skip the practice. Tickets can be purchased on the St. Johns Riverkeeper website


River Reads Book Club

When: Tuesday, Nov. 18, from 6:30-7:30 p.m.

WhereJacksonville University's Marine Science Research Institute (MSRI)

The River Reads Book Group will offer engaging discussions of environmentally themed books, including our St. Johns River, water quality, Florida history and authors, Florida flora and fauna and current issues facing our state. This fall's book is the new release "The Peace of Blue" from Florida author Bill Belleville. 


First Coast Forum: Deepening the St. Johns River

When: Thursday, Nov. 13, from 8-9 p.m.

WhereWJCT Studios

Join WJCT for this one-hour televised town hall event dealing with the proposed dredging of the St. Johns River down to a depth of 47 feet to accommodate huge Panamax-ready ships. Jacksonville hopes to attract these large vessels after the widening of the Panama Canal. WJCT’s Melissa Ross and WJXT4 The Local Station and News4Jax’s Kent Justice will co-host this live event from WJCT Studios. Tickets are free, but space is limited. Reserve your seat on our website now.

Right Whale Festival

When: Saturday, Nov. 15, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

WhereSeawalk Pavillion in Jacksonville Beach, Florida


The Right Whale Festival celebrates the annual return of the endangered North Atlantic right whales and the beginning of right whale calving season off the coast of Northeast Florida and Georgia. It’s a fun and free outdoor event for all ages, and it’s also an opportunity to expand awareness about the threats to right whales, such as accidental ship strikes and entanglement in fishing gear. Less than 500 right whales exist today, and their home waters span the East Coast of the U.S. and parts of Canada. 

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