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Sawmill Slough in Spring

January 2015

Outdoor Classroom Research Continues

Students building an outdoor classroomIn 2014, the Environmental Center awarded a Seed Grant to Dr. Erin Largo-Wight, associate professor in the Department of Public Health, to study the impact of outdoor classrooms at a local elementary school. The findings from this preliminary study were promising. The Environmental Center has continued its support of Dr. Largo-Wight's outdoor classroom research, which is now in the second phase. Last semester, the Environmental Center connected Dr. Largo-Wight with a capstone class from the Department of Construction Management. Throughout the semester, students from the capstone class designed a new, improved outdoor classroom for Seaside Community Charter School, and in December, they poured the concrete foundation. Children from the school were also involved in the project by impressing outlines of leaves into the fresh concrete. The new outdoor classroom will be finished in early 2015 when UNF students add benches and plenty of plants to give the new space some character. UNF faculty and students will utilize the space for ongoing research to study the impact of outdoor classrooms on learning outcomes and well-being among 

children. We will have more updates and photos as this exciting project develops!   

View an article about the research in the UNF publication Inside.

Environmental Center Receives Grants for Research in Sawmill Slough Preserve

The Environmental Center's Ecologist, Justin Lemmons, M.S., was recently awarded two grants to conduct studies in the Sawmill Slough Preserve located on the UNF campus.

Lemmons received a $1,000 Plant Conservation Grant from the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens to conduct the project “Pitcher Plant Prairie Restoration Focused on the FL Threatened Hooded Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia minor) and Crested Fringed Orchid (Platanthera cristata).” The project aims to bolster native populations of unique Florida threatened plants through canopy clearing and prescription burning in the UNF Sawmill Slough Preserve. Through restoration efforts, the research site will be managed for its unique habitat and biodiversity and provide opportunities for future research by students and faculty.

In addition Lemmons, in collaboration with Chuck Hubbuch, assistant director of Physical Facilities and Sawmill Slough Preserve curator, and Dr. Anthony Rossi, professor in the Department of Biology, received $750 in seed money from the Ixia Chapter of Florida Native Plant Society (FNPS) for a project to cultivate unique plants native to Duval County. The project will work with FNPS to promote beneficial native wildflowers, as well as desirable and imperiled species, for restoration and horticultural research.


Plants from Sawmill Slough Preserve

Visit the Environmental Center website for more information on research in the Sawmill Slough Preserve.

2015 Environmental Center Seed Grant Recipients

The Environmental Center is excited to announce the recipients of the 2015 Seed Grants. As a recipient, faculty are awarded grants of up to $6,000 for research projects related to the environment. Additionally, recipients are recognized as Environmental Center fellows for a term of two years. Seed Grants are available to faculty from any college and encourage interdisciplinary research.


Should we ‘Go Green!’ or ‘Police Pollution’: Using Regulatory Fit Theory to Craft Effective Pro-Environmental Messages

Drs. Curtis Phills, Paul Fuglestad and Heather Truelove, Department of Psychology

Climate scientists have a message: anthropogenic climate change and its negative consequences are real (IPCC, 2013). Unfortunately, the presentation of that message has not resulted in a large groundswell of support of pro-environmental initiatives (Gallup, 2014). Part of the reason for this may be that the message on climate change may not resonate with the general public on a motivational level. Regulatory fit theory (Higgins, 2000) proposes that elements of a message can be designed to induce a motivational “fit” such that people perceive the message as more resonant are in turn more likely to follow through with the message’s recommendations. Read the full abstract


In the Land of Mocama: Environmental and Cultural History of 1564

Dr. Robert L. Thunen, Department of Sociology, Anthropology, Social Work
This is a pilot study to examine the environmental, archaeological, historical and cartographic data for information on the St. Johns River from the mouth of the river to the end of Mill Cove (our study area). Specifically, I am interested in what the natural and cultural landscape was like in the year 1564—the year the French arrived and built La Caroline Colony. Read the full abstract

Visit the Environmental Center website for more information on Seed Grants and a list of past recipients.

Spring Textbook Collection Results

Textbook collectionAt the end of every semester, the Environmental Center collects unwanted textbooks in an effort to help keep them out of landfills. During the spring 2014 semester, we were able to collect 238 pounds of textbooks! These textbooks will be sent to Better World Books and will either be sold to help raise money for literacy programs, donated to charities or recycled. The Environmental Center organized year end collections, but remember you can drop off books in our office year round. Come see us in 

J.J. Daniel Hall, room 2200.

E-mail the Environmental Center for more information or to schedule a pickup (faculty only).

2015 RecycleMania Announcement

RecycleMania logoThe annual RecycleMania intercollegiate competition is right around the corner! RecycleMania is a friendly competition between college and university recycling programs to promote waste reduction activities to their campus communities. The competition runs eight weeks through February to March. 


Student from Caught Green HandedThe Environmental Center is organizing some great events, and we will have more to announce in the coming weeks. The first event will be a tour of Jacksonville’s recycling facility on Monday, Jan. 26. For event details, see the upcoming events section of the newsletter below.  


We are also happy to announce we will continue the popular “Caught Green Handed” campaign from last year. Every week during  RecycleMania, Environmental Center staff will be on the look out for students doing exhibiting sustainable behaviors such as recycling, filling a reusable water bottle at one of the many hydration stations on campus or using a reusable coffee mug at Starbucks. Each person “caught” will be awarded with a prize and featured on the Environmental Center’s Facebook page. Check out these photos from last year on our Facebook page. 

Environmental Center website for more information about RecycleMania.

Volunteer Opportunities

Reddie Point Preserve Reforestation

When: Saturday, Jan. 17, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Reddie Point Preserve  

Help the Timucuan Trail Parks Foundation and Greenscape of Jacksonville in a reforestation project at Reddie Point Preserve. Volunteers will be assisting with installing long leaf pine tublings and planting 55 oaks and 45 red cedars to enhance the park's entrance. Please bring bug spray, wear closed-toe shoes and bring a reusable water bottle to help reduce waste! Greenscape will provide tools. Visit the Greenscape of Jacksonville website for more information  


Planting at Camp Milton with 1,000 Trees Jax

When: Saturday, Jan. 24, from 9 a.m. to noon
Where: Camp Milton Historic Preserve 

1,000 Trees Jax, JaxParks and the Timucuan Trail Parks Foundation will work with volunteers to plant over 1,000 long leaf pine trees at Camp Milton Historic Preserve. Please bring bug spray, wear closed-toe shoes and bring a reusable water bottle to help reduce waste! Camp Milton is located adjacent to the Baldwin Trail, so bring a bike if you would like to enjoy a bike ride on this amazing trail following the planting. Visit the 1,000 Trees Jax Facebook page for event details. 


McCoy’s Creek Cleanup

When: Sunday, Jan. 25, from 10 a.m. to noon
Where: McCoy’s Creek Blvd. and Goodwin St.


Join the Rising Tides of St. Johns Riverkeeper for a fun cleanup along McCoy’s Creek, which flows directly into the St. Johns River. Rising Tides is a young professionals group for community-minded people who want to help support the St. Johns River and St. Johns Riverkeeper through membership and participation in a range of social activities. Bags and gloves will be provided, but please bring bug spray, wear closed-toe shoes and waterproof boots if possible. Kayaks are needed to help with the cleanup. No registration is required to participate. Visit the Rising Tides Facebook page for more information. 

Visit the Environmental Center website for more volunteer events.

Upcoming Events

Celebrating the Wild Side of Florida: Portals into Nature, Culture and Sense of Place

When: Sunday, Jan. 18, from 1-4 p.m.

Where: Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)

Sponsors: UNF Department of Art and Design, MOCA and Florida Humanities Council

Cost: Free 


Florida author Bill Belleville will give a compelling presentation on identifying our natural landscapes in Florida and understanding how other writers and artists have been inspired by them. Belleville will also emphasize the role freshwater springs have played here, both as habitats and as a "muse" for influencing the mythology of early Native Americans. He will be joined on stage by Jacksonville-based artist Jim Draper, whose painting was used for the cover of "The Peace of Blue: Water Journeys", Belleville's latest book. Visit the MOCA Jacksonville website for more details. MOCA is a cultural resource of the University of North Florida.


Evening with Dennis Bushnell, Chief Scientist NASA’s Langley Research Center

When: Thursday, Jan. 22, at 6 p.m.
Where: Jacksonville University Gooding Auditorium
Sponsors: US Green Building Council North Florida Chapter, Jacksonville University and Environmental Center
Cost: Free

Dennis Bushnell has 49 years of experience as a research scientist and is the chief scientist of NASA’s Langley Research Center, which has technical emphasis on atmospheric sciences. Bushnell is the author of 252 publications and major presentations and has been invited to speak at 350 invited lectures and seminars. The topic of Bushnell's presentation is unconventional solutions to climate change. Tickets are required for this free event, so please register by following this link. You can view a flyer for the event here.  


USGBC 20*40 talk with Chief Scientist of NASA’s Langley Research Center

When: Friday, Jan. 23, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Adam W. Herbert University Center 
Sponsors: US Green Building Council North Florida Chapter and Environmental Center

Cost: $15-25

The 20*40 talks are a dynamic series designed to unleash the creativity of our region and foster sustainability by the year 2040. The January luncheon will feature Dennis Bushnell, Chief Scientist of NASA's Langley Research Center, and he will speak on unconventional solutions to climate change. Visit the USGBC North Florida Chapter website for more information and to register for the event.


2015 Timucuan Science and History Symposium

When: Friday, Jan. 23, at 9 a.m.
Where: Ribault Club 
Sponsors: National Park Service, Timucuan Trail Parks Foundation and Florida State Parks
Cost: $10-35

The Timucuan Science and History Symposium is a showcase of research related to the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve. Presentations have an emphasis on the natural sciences, human ecology and the history and culture of Northeast Florida. Morning refreshments and lunch will be provided. Visit the National Park Service website for more information and to register for the event. 


Tour of Jacksonville Recycling Facility

When: Monday, Jan. 26, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: 7000 Imeson Road, Jacksonville, Fla. 32219
SponsorsUS Green Building Council North Florida Chapter and Republic Services
Cost: Free

As part of the UNF RecycleMania campaign, the Environmental Center would like to invite you to a free tour of Republic Service’s recycling center. The 70,000 sq. ft. LEED-certified facility was opened in 2012 and is Jacksonville's largest recycling facility. Republic Services will provide free lunch for attendees, but feel free to bring a bagged lunch. Please wear closed-toe shoes to participate in the tour. If you are interested in carpooling from UNF, please contact the Environmental Center. Visit the USGBC North Florida Chapter website for more information and to register for the event.


Cradle Creek and Castaway Island Field Trip

When: Saturday, Feb. 1, at 8 a.m.
Where: 2921 San Pablo Road South, Jacksonville, Fla. 
Sponsors: Duval Audubon Society
Cost: Free

Castaway Island Preserve protects more than 300 acres of coastal habitats along the meandering, estuarine San Pablo River. Cradle Creek Preserve offers a canopy of old-growth upland forests, saltwater marshes and panoramic views of the creeks that feed the Intracoastal Waterway. The Preserve provides habitat protection for endangered and threatened plant and animal species including the Least Tern, Bald Eagle and Wood Stork. Beginners and experienced birders will enjoy the extensive salt marsh and pine flatwoods comprising this preserve. Visit the Duval Audubon Society’s Meetup Page for more information.

Visit the Environmental Center website for more upcoming events.
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