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Sawmill Slough in Spring

March 2015

Digital Archive of the Sawmill Slough Preserve

Digital Archive CollageAfter years of hard work, the Environmental Center is pleased to launch the Digital Archive of the Sawmill Slough Preserve. Please visit the Archive and take a look at the unique natural assets our beautiful campus has to offer. The Digital Archive highlights the importance of the Preserve through a "slough" of information including species inventory lists, history, scientific research, species of concern, habitats and management practices. 


The Digital Archive was developed by Dr. Stuart Chalk, associate professor of chemistry, in collaboration with Chuck Hubbuch, Preserve curator, and Justin Lemmons, Environmental Center ecologist. Many Environmental Center student research assistants have also helped build the inventories and Archive.  

The Archive is a scientific and educational resource for sharing information Volunteer Kacie Smithabout the unique diversity and years of research and management efforts on the Preserve. Inventory lists are continuing to grow, and researchers and interested individuals are encouraged to contribute and become actively involved in the process. Original inventory lists are available as PDFs, or you can browse alphabetically through the interactive lists, and observe photos from the Preserve and links to other resourceful websites. One can also access online PDFs of published scientific research articles by UNF faculty and students. Another unique feature of the Archive is the downloadable PDF version of the book "Fight On! A Thirty-Year History of the Sawmill Slough Conservation Club" that was written by original club members.  


The Preserve is a wonderful resource worth showing off and protecting. It acts as a living laboratory for University curricula and research, as well as educational programming and recreational activities. The Preserve is rich in biodiversity and history and remains one of the most unique aspects of the UNF campus. 


If you have any questions about the Digital Archive or the Sawmill Slough Preserve, please contact Justin Lemmons, Environmental Center ecologist.

Click here to visit the Digital Archive of the Sawmill Slough Preserve.

Environmental Center Student Spotlight

Civil Engineering major, Caitlin Kengle

Caitlin Kengle

Where are you from? Boynton Beach, Fla.


What is your major? Civil engineering


What is your job title? Sustainability research assistant


What do you do at the Environmental Center? I mainly work on analyzing campus waste data and creating educational graphics, fliers and displays for the Center to use. 


Why did you come to UNF and what is your favorite part of campus? I came to UNF because I liked the atmosphere. I felt the faculty actually wanted me as a member of the student body and wanted me to succeed. 


How did you get involved with the Environmental Center? I started by volunteering last spring. I saw an e-mail from the Honors Program that a student position opened up, so I applied.


What is your favorite Environmental Center activity? I really enjoy the weekly staff meetings. I am not able to attend every event we put on, so I can hear about the events from the people who organize them. 


What is your favorite outdoor activity? I enjoy walking. You can see so much of the world around you if you spend a couple of hours just observing.


What is you favorite type of animal and why? Foxes. I do not really know why, but I want to have one as a pet. I already have a fox as part of a tattoo and plenty of other stuff. 


If you could go anywhere and do anything tomorrow, what would you do? I would go back in time and spend the day with Hunter S. Thompson. He is currently one of my biggest inspirations, and I feel like a day with him would be more than enough to change my life. 


Are you involved with any hobbies, clubs and volunteer activities? Aside from the Center, I am most involved with the UNF Honors Program. I am trying to get more involved with the freshman class as a mentor, as the first year of college is such a pivotal point in a person's life. Other than that, I try to spend my time doing something constructive like reading the news or going to the gym.


What are your plans after graduation? I plan on taking my Fundamentals of Engineering exam during the Spring 2017 semester, then getting a job as a civil engineer. I intend on working toward getting my professional engineering license. I do not know where or for how long, but that is what I plan on doing right after graduation.  

Learn more about Environmental Center student employees

Environmental Center Photo Contest

Student holding a photo of the Sawmill Slough Preserve for the contestThank you to everyone who submitted photos for February's photo contest, "How do you enjoy the Sawmill Slough Preserve?" We had a number of great submissions from people enjoying the beautiful natural areas on campus. The winning photo was submitted by photography student Rachel Hiers. 


Because of spring break, the next photo contest will open between now and April 17. The theme for this contest round is "Spring is Blooming!" Send us photos of plants and trees from the Sawmill Slough Preserve, Robert W. Loftin Nature Trails and other on-campus natural areas. No photos from the core of campus will be considered for this contest.  


All students, faculty, staff and alumni are allowed to submit up to two photos. Please include the name of the photographer, classification (student, faculty, staff or alumni), major or department and the location the photo was taken. Descriptive captions are encouraged, but not required. Please submit your photos by e-mail to unfecenter@gmail.com no later than 5 p.m. Friday, Apr. 17.


All photos submitted will be uploaded to a contest album on the Environmental Center's Facebook page. Keep in mind all photos uploaded to Facebook will become publicly available. Voting will be open from Monday, Apr. 20 to Friday Apr. 24 and the number of likes will determine the sole winner of the contest. The winner will receive two free day passes for entry into any Florida State Park and an Environmental Center T-shirt. 

View complete photo contest details.

Give Springs a Break

The Florida Springs Institute has announced the dates for their annual Give Springs a Break event at Ginnie Springs. Students from colleges and across the state will be meeting at the iconic park from Friday, April 10, through Sunday, April 12, to learn about springs, network with other students and, of course, enjoy the wild side of Florida! The event will feature two nights camping, swimming in the springs, floating down the river, campfires and educational talks about Florida springs. 


Last year, we Ospreys swooped in and stole the show! Despite being one of the smaller universities attending, we had the largest group of students at the inaugural event. We hope to repeat and have another great group of students attend this year. The event is geared toward students enrolled in environmental degree programs but is open to anyone interested in learning more about Florida springs. 


The all-inclusive weekend costs $65 per student, but one-night and day passes are available. The Environmental Center will be offering a limited number of scholarships to current UNF students. The scholarships are available to students who can participate for the entire weekend. The deadline to apply for a scholarship is Friday, March 27. Interested students may contact James Taylor.   


Give Springs a Break Group Photo

Click here for event details and registration.

Timucuan Preserve Student Research Grants
Research grants are available to undergraduate and graduate students who are engaged, or desire to be engaged, in research activities in the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve. It is is anticipated that research grants in the $1,000 and $500 increments will be funded each year. The awards support student stipends, student travel and/or project costs. This program is highly competitive and limited in the number of grant awards. The deadline to apply is Saturday, March 14.

Click here for grant details and instructions on how to apply.

Volunteer Opporunities

St. Johns River Celebration

When: Saturday, March 21, 8 a.m. to noon

Where: Various locations, click here for details
Sponsors: St. Johns Riverkeeper, City of Jacksonville and Keep Jacksonville Beautiful


Join hundreds of volunteers around Jacksonville remove litter and debris from parks, boat ramps and neighborhoods. Registration not required. Volunteers will receive a free T-shirt and food voucher at the Riverside Arts Market, while supplies last. Click here for more information. 


Pottsburg Creek Cleanup

When: Saturday, March 21, 9 a.m. to noon

Where: Meet at All Wet Sports

Sponsor: Rising Tides of the St. Johns Riverkeeper


Join the Rising Tides for a fun cleanup of Pottsburg Creek, which flows directly into the St. Johns River. This cleanup is 100 percent water-based, so a kayak, canoe or small boat is required. A limited number of kayaks will be available for rent from All Wet Sports, so call early to reserve. No registration is required. Bags and gloves will be provided. Click here for more information. 


Crosby Sanctuary Volunteer Day 

When: Saturday, March 28, 8 a.m. to noon

Where: 427 Aquarius Concourse, Orange Park

Sponsor: Duval Audubon Society


The Duval Audubon Society hosts monthly work days at Crosby Sanctuary in Orange Park. Birding starts at 8 a.m., and volunteer projects start at 9 a.m. Click here for more information. 


St. Johns River Alliance Needs Volunteers for One Spark

When: Volunteer shifts available Wednesday, April 8, through Sunday, April 12, between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m.

Where: Downtown Jacksonville

Sponsor: St. Johns River Alliance


The St. Johns River Alliance is looking for volunteers to help spread the word about the St. Johns River Blueway at One Spark. The St. Johns River was recently designated a blueway, which makes the 310-mile river the longest paddling trail in Florida. The River Alliance will have a booth in downtown Jacksonville featuring kayaks, maps and a photo display showing visitors how and where to access the beautiful St. Johns River. If you are interested in volunteering contact Andrea Conover or (904) 859.8993. 

Find more volunteer opportunities.

Upcoming Events

The Elements Present Adult Swim at MOSH

When: Saturday, March 14, from 8-11 p.m.

WhereMuseum of Science and History (MOSH)

Cost: $20

SponsorsThe Elements of MOSH


All kids out of the pool, because the adults are taking over MOSH! The Elements, the MOSH young professionals group, will be taking over the museum and there are no kids allowed because it's our turn to play. Enjoy beer and wine, a DJ and a scavenger hunt. Prepare to have your mind blown in the Planetarium and be sure to partake in a MOSH classic - liquid nitrogen ice cream! Click here for more information. 


Florida Native Plant Society General Meeting

When: Thursday, March 26, at 6:30 p.m.
WhereRegency Square Library
Cost: Free and open to the public

SponsorIxia Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society  


The Ixia Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society invites you to their monthly general meeting. The meeting will feature a screening of a recent TEDx talk by Warren Anderson entitled "Belonging to the Universe." There will also be a mystery plant identification session and attendees are invited to bring in plant leaves and flowers. Click here for more information.   


Explore Tree Hill Nature Center

When: Saturday, March 28, at 10 a.m.

WhereTree Hill Nature Center

Cost: $4 Adults, $3 Seniors, college students and military

SponsorSierra Club Northeast Florida Group 


Explore this special nature preserve in the center of Jacksonville with its 50 acres, walking trails, nature exhibits and three ecosystems. Take a short walk on the trails, then learn about the Center's varied natural history and ecology from Mark Mummaw, a naturalist who is also the executive director of the Preserve. Please bring insect repellent, sun tan lotion and a reusable water bottle. Click here for more information. 


Distinguished Voices Lecture Series: 'Water Securities'

When: Tuesday, March 24, at 7 p.m.

WhereAdam W. Herbert University Center 

Cost: Free, but requires an e-Ticket

Sponsors: UNF and World Affairs Council of Jacksonville


James G. Workman is a leader in the design and creation of natural resource conservation markets for fresh water and marine fisheries. He is the author of "Heart of Dryness: How the Last Bushman Can Help Us Endure the Coming Age of Permanent Drought," awarded best book of the year by the Society of Environmental Journalists, and is currently co-authoring a book with the working title "The Sea Change: How to Transform the Way We Govern, Value and Harvest the Wild." Click here for more information.


USGBC Green Social at Aardwolf Brewery

When: Tuesday, March 31, from 6-8 p.m.

WhereAardwolf Brewing Company

Cost: Free and open to the public. This an all-ages event. 

SponsorUS Green Building Council North Florida Chapter and Aardwolf Brewing Company


One Spark 2015 is almost here, and the US Green Building Council is excited to bring you a sneak preview of "green" creators for this year's crowdfunding festival! Join us as we welcome One Spark staff to kick-off environmental project presentations. Click here to register. 

Find more on upcoming events.
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