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Sawmill Slough in Spring

February 2015

2015 RecycleMania Events

RecycleManiaThe annual RecycleMania intercollegiate recycling competition begins this month. The eight-week friendly competition between college and university recycling programs helps promote waste reduction activities on campus. As always, the Environmental Center has organized a schedule of great events to celebrate RecycleMania at UNF.

Bin WarsA new addition to RecycleMania this year is Bin Wars, a recycling bin design competition. Inspired by TRASHed Coachella, this event will harness the creativity of the student body to make uniquely designed recycling bins that will be used at special events on campus. The event is part of UNF's Homecoming, and the bins will be unveiled at UNF Art Walk Wednesday, Feb. 25, from 5-9 p.m.  

We will also be continuing the popular “Caught Green Handed” campaign from last year. Every week during RecycleMania, Environmental Center staff will be on the lookout for students, faculty and staff exhibiting sustainable habits like recycling, filling a reusable water bottle at one of the many hydration stations on campus or bringing a reusable coffee mug to Starbucks. Each person “caught” will be awarded with a prize and featured on the Environmental Center Facebook page. Check out these photos from last year. 

RecycleMania Schedule of Events

Wednesday, Feb. 18, at 6 p.m. Outdoor screening of “Plastic Paradise” on the Green. There will be free hot chocolate and snacks! Please bring a chair or blanket.
Wednesday, Feb. 25, from 5-9 p.m. First ever Bin Wars at UNF Art Walk.

Thursday, Feb. 26, from 9-11 a.m. Campus cleanup, volunteers needed! Free Sweet Theory and Bold Bean coffee for volunteers. 

Tuesday, Mar. 3, from 5-9 p.m. Student Arts Market hosted by the UNF Rotaract Club. Come out and help us create something beautiful.

Visit the Environmental Center's RecycleMania website for full event details.

2014 Garbage on the Green Results

2014 GoG Report The data collected during Garbage on the Green has been analyzed, and the results have been summarized in a final report. The data showed that 30 percent of the material found in the garbage receptacles by weight could have been recycled. In fact, only 23 percent of material found in trash receptacles was deemed appropriate for the landfill. Click here to view the report.    


Of the recyclable materials found in the garbage receptacles, plastics were the most prevalent. While mixed paper was placed in the correct bin 93 percent of the time, plastic materials were placed in the recycling only about 40 percent of the time.

GoG: Play Video PictureOverall the data indicated that UNF could recycle 60 percent of the materials in the waste stream. The campus recycling rate for the 2014-15 academic year was approximately 25 percent, indicating there is much room for improvement. The data also indicated that about 18 percent of the total weight was compostable materials. The University does not currently have a composting program in place but is exploring options to compost on campus.  


To help capture the excitement of Garbage on the Green, the Environmental Center created a video of the campus cleanup and waste audit. It showcases the 118 volunteers who put in a total of 260 hours of their time collecting 36 pounds of litter around campus and auditing nearly 760 pounds of waste. Click here to view the video. 

Click here for more information about Garbage on the Green.

Monthly Environmental Center Photo Contest

The Environmental Center hosted its first photo contest last semester, and students, faculty, staff and alumni submitted 41 amazing photos showcasing our beautiful and ecologically diverse campus. Due to the popularity of the photo contest, we will now be hosting monthly photo contests throughout the academic year.

Photo Contest CollageEach photo contest will have a different theme but will always focus on celebrating the beauty and importance of nature. Students, faculty, staff and alumni are allowed to submit up to two photos per contest. All photos submitted will be uploaded to a contest album on the Environmental Center Facebook page, and the number of likes will decide the sole winner of each contest. Keep in mind that all photos submitted will be uploaded to Facebook and will be publicly available. 


The theme for the February photo contest is "How do you enjoy the Sawmill Slough Preserve?" Send us photos of you and your friends hiking the trails, relaxing in the shade or however else you enjoy the on-campus nature preserve. Be creative and have fun! The photo that receives the most likes on Facebook will win a $25 VISA gift card, an Environmental Center T-shirt and a recycled can coozie.


Submit your photos by e-mail to unfecenter@gmail.com no later than Friday, Feb. 13. Please include the name of the photographer, classification (student, staff, faculty or alumni), major or department and the location of the photo. Descriptive captions of the photos are encouraged, but optional.

View details on the Environmental Center photo contest.

Student Employee Spotlight

Kevin O'Halloran

Kevin O'Halloran

Where are you from? Lakeland, Fla. 


What is your major? International studies with an urban studies minor

Why did you come to UNF, and what is your favorite part of campus? I came to UNF for a lot of reasons, but the top three would have to be for the beautiful campus, the great international studies program and the laid-back atmosphere.

What is your job title, and what do you do at the Environmental Center? I am a student assistant. I take on multiple projects that try to promote greater sustainability on the UNF campus and in greater Jacksonville. Some examples include developing a proposal to bring electric vehicle charging stations to campus and coordinating recycling programs.

How did you get involved with the Environmental Center? I took Dr. Lambert's Building Sustainable Cities class and heard there was an opening in the Center, so I applied.

What is your favorite Environmental Center activity? I really like going to Sustainability Committee meetings. It may sound boring, but I think it is fascinating interacting with the heads of UNF departments in order to bring about more sustainability on campus.

What is your favorite outdoor activity? I really enjoy hiking and kayaking!

What is your favorite type of animal and why? I have a few. My favorite Florida animal is an alligator. My favorite African animal is an elephant, and my favorite animal mascot is an osprey!

If you could go anywhere and do anything tomorrow, what would you do? I would fly to Kathmandu and explore the Buddhist temples of Nepal.

Are you involved in any hobbies, clubs or volunteer activities? I am in UNF Model United Nations, a student member of the U.S. Green Building Council North Florida Chapter, a member of the World Affairs Council and a brother of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity.

What are your plans after graduation? It is still a little up in the air, but I really want to pursue a job in the field of urban planning, either at a local nonprofit, in city government or for an international organization.

Learn about other Environmental Center student employees.

Volunteer Opportunities

9th Annual First Coast Air Potato Round-up

When: Saturday, Feb. 28, from 9 a.m. to noon   

Where: Various locations
Sponsor: Florida Invasive Species Partnership  

Volunteers are needed to help rid our natural areas of air potato vine and other invasive plants. Invasive species smother our native plants and are one of the greatest ecological threats to natural communities in Florida. No registration necessary unless you are bringing a large group. Just grab your garden gloves and head over to one of the many work sites. Click here for more information on volunteer locations.


UNF Campus Cleanup

When: Thursday, Feb. 25, from 9-11 a.m.
WhereStudent Union
Sponsors: Environmental Center 

Calling all fellow Ospreys! Come take part in a morning campus cleanup with your friends at the Environmental Center. If you would like to help keep our beautiful campus litter-free, then this is a perfect opportunity to help make a difference at UNF. Please meet in the Student Union breezeway anytime between 9 and 11 a.m. Volunteers will be provided free coffee from Bold Bean and snacks from Sweet Theory for their hard work! No registration is required. Contact Environmental Center Volunteer Coordinator Morgan Matchett for more information. 


McCoys Creek Cleanup 

When: Saturday, Feb. 28, at 10 a.m.
Where: Powers Park (Murray Hill)
Sponsors: St. Johns Riverkeeper and 1,000 Trees Jax


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 group for community-minded young professionals who want to help support the St. Johns River and St. Johns Riverkeeper through membership and participation in a range of social activities. No registration is needed for the cleanup. Please bring bug spray, wear closed-toe shoes and waterproof boots if you are able. Bags and gloves will be provided. Kayaks are needed to help with the cleanup. Visit the St. Johns Riverkeeper website for event details.

Visit the Environmental Center website for more volunteer events.

Upcoming Events

Water Education Festival at MOSH

When: Saturday, Feb. 7, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  

WhereMuseum of Science and History (MOSH)
SponsorsCity of JacksonvilleMOSH and St. Johns Riverkeeper 
Cost: Free and open to the public


Join the City of Jacksonville, MOSH and the St. Johns Riverkeeper for this free admission day. Guests will celebrate one of our most precious community resources, the St. Johns River, as they enjoy activities, presentations and a boat tour on the St. Johns RIver guided by Environmental Center Coordinator James Taylor. The boat tours are extremely popular and are first-come, first-served. Visit the MOSH website for event details


Sierra Club Program: Osceola National Forest 

When: Monday, Feb. 9, at 6 p.m.

Where: Lakewood Presbyterian Church 

Sponsor: Sierra Club Northeast Florida Group

Cost: Free and open to the public


James Vanderpool, an intern at the Osceola National Forest, will speak about the history of the forest, land management practices and recreational opportunities. He will also share information about upcoming public events, such as programs at the Olustee Battlefield given by Osceola National Park's archaeologists. James is finishing his internship with the Osceola National Forest and will share his knowledge about securing job opportunities with the U.S. Forest Service. Refreshments are provided, but please bring your own cup to reduce waste going to the landfill. Visit the Sierra Club Northeast Florida Group website for event details. 


Green Social at Aardwolf Brewery

When: Tuesday, Feb. 10, at 6 p.m. 

Where: Aardwolf Brewery

Sponsors: U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) North Florida Chapter
Cost: Free. This event is all ages.

Enjoy a local brew, ave food from a local food truck, network with a group of diverse professionals and hear presentations about the sustainability movement in Jacksonville! This month includes speakers from the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, Renew Jax and Traders Hill Farms. Registration is not required, but it is recommended if you want to hear about future events. Click here to register.  


Outdoor Screening of 'Plastic Paradise'    

When: Wednesday, Feb. 11, at 6 p.m.
Where: The Green 
Sponsors: Environmental Center
Cost: Free and open to the public

Join the Environmental Center on the Green for an outdoor screening of the documentary "Plastic Paradise." Every single piece of plastic that has ever been created since the 19th century is still somewhere on our planet. So if it never goes away, where does it end up? Thousands of miles away from civilization, Midway Atoll is in one of the most remote places on Earth, yet it has become ground zero for the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, syphoning plastics from three distant continents. Plastic Paradise is an eye-opening film that will make you question the ethics of our insatiable plastic consumption. 


This movie will be shown outside, so please remember to bring a blanket or chair to sit on. Hot chocolate, popcorn and other snacks will be provided. Please bring your own cup to help reduce waste! View details for this and other RecycleMania events here


Audubon Society Field Trip: GTM Research Reserve Inner Trails

When: Sunday, Feb. 15, from 7:30-11a.m

Where: Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve (GTM Research Reserve)
Sponsors: Duval Audubon Society
Cost: Free and open to the public


The GTM Research Reserve protects more than 73,000 acres, which is home to a wide variety of fish and wildlife, including 48 protected animals and eight protected plants. You can expect to see a variety of birds during the two-mile, round-trip hike. Dress for the weather, bring binoculars, snacks, a reusable water bottle and insect repellant. Visit the Duval Audubon's website for more details. The hike is limited to 20 people, so please reserve your spot by e-mailing Diane Reed.

Green Carpet Film Series Screening of ‘Chasing Ice’

When: Wednesday, Feb. 18, at 6 p.m.

Where: Sun-Ray Cinema
Sponsors: U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) North Florida Chapter and Environmental Center
Cost: $10 general admission; $7 students and seniors


The USGBC North Florida Chapter will be screening the highly acclaimed and Emmy award-winning documentary "Chasing Ice" at Sun-Ray Cinema. The film follows acclaimed environmental photographer James Balog as he heads to the Artic on a tricky assignment for National Geographic to capture images to help tell the story of Earth's changing climate. With a band of young adventurers in tow, Balog used revolutionary time-lapse cameras across the brutal Artic to capture a multi-year record of the world's changing glaciers. Visit the USGBC North Florida Chapter website to register.


2015 Florida Alternative Fuels Expo

When: Friday, Feb. 19, from 8:30-11:30 a.m.

Where: Adam W. Herbert University Center

Sponsor: North Florida Transportation Planning Organization (TPO)

Cost: Free, but registration required


This free expo is a great way to learn about types of alternative fuel vehicles and available funding. The North Florida TPO will present the Alternative Fuels, Vehicles and Infrastructure Master Plan. The North Florida TPO and JEA will announce a program for local businesses, nonprofit agencies and government entities in JEA’s service territory to apply for the award of a plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) charging station. Click here to register for the event.   

Visit the Environmental Center website for details on upcoming events.
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