Student Spotlight: Kelly Rhoden
Kelly Rhoden, senior
Where are you from? Charleston, S.C.
What is your major? Public health
Why did you come to UNF? I came to UNF because the campus was close to the beach and has a beautiful nature preserve on campus.
What is your job title and what do you do at the Environmental Center? I am a student coordinator assisting with volunteer recruitment and outreach. I help students get connected with activities offered by the Environmental Center and community organizations.
How did you get involved with the Environmental Center? I received an e-mail about an open position within the Environmental Center and was extremely interested, so I applied!
What is your favorite Environmental Center activity? I enjoy Garbage on the Green because it involves the entire campus and there is always free food!
What is your favorite outdoor activity? I love anything involving the ocean! Swimming, surfing and even running on the beach.
What is your favorite animal and why? Sea turtles are my favorite because they get to swim and eat all day.
If you could go anywhere and do anything tomorrow, what would you do? I would travel around the world and try to visit every country that I can. I love food, so traveling and eating around the world would sounds amazing.
Are you involved with any hobbies, clubs or volunteer activities? I am a member of Zeta Tau Alpha. I also am a regular volunteer at the radiology department at the Mayo Clinic.
What are your plans after graduation? I plan on traveling or attending graduate school at UNF.
Learn more about Environmental Center student employees
Jacksonville Environmental Symposium
The ninth annual Jacksonville Environmental Symposium took place at the Adam W. Herbert University Center Friday, Aug. 14. The symposium is organized by the Environmental Protection Board of the City of Jacksonville and Environmental Center and brings together members of the community to interact with regulatory agencies responsible for developing and implementing environmental policy.
The symposium featured the release of the eighth annual State of the River Report on the lower St. Johns River Basin. The report shows there are positive signs of the waterway's health improving but reveals there are concerns of deterioration, as well as some indicators — some good and some unsatisfactory — that have not changed much over the years.
The State of the River Report is a collaboration among UNF, Jacksonville University and Valdosta State University and is supported by the Environmental Protection Board. UNF River Report team members include Dr. Radha Pyati, chair and associate professor of chemistry; Dr. Stuart Chalk, associate professor of chemistry; Dr. Brian Zoellner, assistant professor and Graduate Program director; and Dr. Peter Bacopoulos, assistant professor of civil engineering. JU team members include Dr. Lucinda Sonnenberg, director of the Millar Wilson Laboratory for Chemical Research and research professor of chemistry; Dr. Nisse Goldberg, associate professor of biology/marine science; Dr. Gerard Pinto, research scientist; and Dr. Anthony Ouellette, associate professor and co-chair of the Biology Department. The Valdosta State University team member is Dr. Gretchen Bielmyer-Fraser, associate professor of biology.
There were also a number of breakout sessions throughout the day focusing on a variety of topics, including water quality, sustainable businesses and catalytic urban infill. The lunch session included a keynote by Earl Benton, CEO of Champion Brands and the EPB Environmental Awards. The new mayor even stopped by to say a few words. The symposium concluded with an interactive discussion on community resiliency to risks associated with a rise in sea level hosted by the Northeast Florida Regional Council.
Thank you to the UNF Environmental Center student volunteers who came out to help make this event so spectacular!
More information on the 2015 Jacksonville Environmental Symposium
October is Campus Sustainability Month
Building on the success of Campus Sustainability Week, the Environmental Center is proud to announce that October is now Campus Sustainability Month — an entire month of environmental and sustainability related programs and activities. The anchor event for the month is Garbage on the Green, an annual waste audit utilizing more than 100 volunteers. Students interested in volunteering should fill out the volunteer registration form. Other events we are planning include workshops, cleanups, a tour of Jacksonville's largest recycling facility and a fun screening of the Disney-Pixar film "Finding Nemo" to celebrate and discuss the importance of clean, healthy oceans. More details to come soon!
The purpose of Campus Sustainability Month is to educate students, faculty and staff about sustainability initiatives happening on campus and in Northeast Florida. The University of North Florida was built with the value of "responsibility to the natural environment," and its incredibly beautiful campus reflects its continued commitment. The University is home to the 382-acre Sawmill Slough Preserve with its rich diversity of flora and fauna and 12 buildings that have been LEED-certified for their environmentally conscious design. For its efforts, the University has been recognized by organizations such as the Princeton Review, Sierra Club, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education and National Wildlife Federation.
More information on Campus Sustainability Month
Swoopin' Up the Butts
Sponsors: Environmental Center, Department of Health Promotion and Volunteer Services
When: Fridays at noon
Where: Dates and locations for each cleanup are below
Did you know cigarette butts are a significant type of pollution? Not only are cigarette butts the most common type of litter found on roadways and beaches, they also contain many harsh toxins that can leach into the environment and be harmful to wildlife. Cigarette butts are made of cellulose acetate — a form of plastic — and never decompose, persisting in the environment for years.
As part of the Smoke-Free Campus Initiative, which began Saturday, Aug. 1, the University has removed all ash receptacles from campus. In an effort to ensure our campus remains beautiful and litter-free, the Environmental Center is teaming up with Health Promotion and Volunteer Services to organize weekly cigarette butt cleanups. Together we will be Swoopin' up the Butts!
There is no registrations required. All students, faculty and staff are encouraged to get outside and participate. For our new Ospreys, this is a great opportunity to meet new people and learn about the campus. All supplies for the cleanup and water will be provided for volunteers. Prizes will be awarded to the volunteer who collects the most butts!
Event details and other volunteer opportunities
Green Carpet Film Series
Sponsors: U.S. Green Building Council North Florida Chapter and Environmental Center
When: Tuesday, Sept. 15, at 6 p.m.
Where: Corazon Cinema and Café, St. Augustine
Cost: $7 Students and seniors; $10 General admission
Is it possible to live completely waste free? Come out to Corazan Cinema and Café for a screening of "The Clean Bin Project." In this multi-award winning, festival favorite, partners Jen and Grant go head to head in a competition to see who can swear off consumerism and produce the least amount of garbage. Their light-hearted competition is set against a darker examination of the problem of waste. The Clean Bin Project features laugh out loud moments, stop motion animation and unforgettable imagery. Witness the competition where less is more, and be inspired!
Green Carpet Film event details and registration
Florida Audubon EagleWatch Training
Sponsors: Florida Audubon, Audubon Center for Birds of Prey, Duval Audubon, Eco Adventures and Environmental Center
When: Saturday, Sept. 19, from 10 a.m. to noon
Where: Building 54, J.M. Golden Environmental Pavilion
Did you know Florida has one the largest populations of nesting bald eagles in the United States? Eagles mate for life, and individual pairs typically return to the same nesting territory year after year. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission maintains data on bald eagle nests, and there is a substantial number of eagle nests in Northeast Florida. Tracking and protecting active nests are important to ensure the survival of our national bird.
Matt Smith, EagleWatch coordinator, will be on campus to conduct training for Florida Audubon's EagleWatch program. This is a unique opportunity to become involved with a group of citizen scientists who monitor eagle nests throughout Florida during nesting season, which is October to May. The training program is designed to educate volunteer participants in eagle nesting biology, applicable state and federal laws, the identification of nest threats and monitoring techniques.
This program is open to everyone and requires no previous experience or in-depth knowledge of birds. No registration is required. Parking in Lot 100 is free on the weekends.
EagleWatch training event details
Environmental Center Faculty Social and Seed Grant Presentations
Sponsor: Environmental Center
When: Thursday, Sept. 24, from 4-6 p.m.
Where: Building 2, UNF Gallery of Art, Room 1001
Join the Environmental Center for a social in the UNF Gallery of Art. This fun event is designed to give faculty an opportunity to network with each other and the Environmental Center staff and board members in the hopes of developing collaborative relationships. While the social is intended for faculty, it is open to all students, faculty and staff. Beer, wine and hors d'oeuvres will be served.
The event will also feature brief presentations by the 2015 Seed Grant recipients and details on the 2016 request for proposals. Seed Grants are intended to support environmentally related research that subsequently results in the preparation and submission of a proposal to an external funding agency. The grants are competitively awarded to the most meritorious proposals, but there is an emphasis in projects that create effective collaborations between faculty members and students from diverse disciplines. Visit the Environmental Center website for more information on Seed Grants.
2015 Seed Grant Recipients
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
In the Land of the Mocama: Environmental and Cultural History of 1564
Dr. Robert Thunen, Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work
More information on Seed Grants
Fall Bamboo Festival
Sponsors: American Bamboo Society, Southeast Chapter and Environmental Center
When: Saturday, Sept. 26, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: Osprey Plaza, Student Union (will be hosted inside the Student Union in case of inclement weather)
Cost: Free and open to the public. Parking is free on Saturday.
Come out to Osprey Plaza for the American Bamboo Society, Southeast Chapter's annual bamboo festival. The organization chose to host their event on the University of North Florida because of its environmentally beautiful campus and commitment to sustainability. The event will feature workshops, vendors and a campus landscaping tour with Chuck Hubbuch, assistant director of UNF Physical Facilities.
Fall Bamboo Festival event details
20.40 Talks: Solar and Renewable Energy
Sponsors: U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) North Florida Chapter and Environmental Center
When: Tuesday, Sept. 29, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Building 43, Adam W. Herbert University Center, room 1058
Cost: $15 Students; $20 USGBC Member and web participants; $25 Non-members
Inspired by PechaKucha and TedTalks, the USGBC North Florida Chapter presents 20.40 Talks, a dynamic series designed to unleash the creativity of our region and foster sustainability. Three great speakers are lined up to discuss different perspectives of renewable energy. Lunch is included.
20.40 Talks event details and registration
Green Carpet Film Series Committee
Sponsor: U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) North Florida Chapter
Help the USGBC North Florida Chapter with the Green Carpet Film Series. If you are interested in helping, there are opportunities helping on-site or helping choose the films and plan the screenings for next year. If interested, please contact John Culver.
McCoys Creek Cleanup - International Coastal Cleanup
Sponsor: Rising Tides of the St. Johns Riverkeeper
When: Saturday, Sept. 19, from 10 a.m. to noon
Spending your morning cleaning up our waterways with the Rising Tides of the St. Johns Riverkeeper, September's cleanup will be a celebration of International Coastal Cleanup, and we will join thousands of other volunteers throughout the world cleaning our beaches and waterways. Rising Tides is a group of community-minded young professionals who support the St. Johns Riverkeeper through membership and participation in a variety of exciting social activities. Please bring bug spray, wear closed-toe shoes and waterproof boots if you are able. Bags and gloves will be provided. No registration is required, but check out the website for details.
Green Lion Festival Volunteering
When: Saturday, Oct. 19, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Aardwolf Brewery
This is an all ages and family friendly event, but they ask that all volunteers be 18 years old or older. Volunteers will help festival attendees navigate through the event, assist vendors with setup and take down, and help keep the event running as smooth and swanky as possible. Volunteer with the awesome team that runs the event and leave with a free T-shirt. More information at their website or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
More volunteer opportunities
Year of the River Exhibit at MOSH
Sponsor: Museum of Science and History (MOSH) Jacksonville
When: Thursday, Sept. 17, through Monday, Nov. 30
Cost: $8 students, seniors and military; $10 general admission
"The Living River", which opens Thursday, Sept. 17, depicts the wide variety of habitats found in the St. Johns River and surrounding ecosystems, from wide marshes, springs and cypress lined shores and lakes. Artist Allison Watson draws inspiration for her landscape paintings from her personal connection to the St. Johns River. The exhibition is a part of Cultural Fusion's 2015 theme, Year of the River
North Florida Drive Electric Rally
When: Thursday. Sept. 17, from 5-7:30 p.m.
When: Saturday, Oct. 17, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Cost: Free and open to all ages
A day of family friendly entertainment, food and local beer is waiting for you at the Green Lion Festival
's environmentally focused exhibition. This collaborative festival is on its third year of bringing the community together and showcasing the great initiatives taking place in Jacksonville. This year, the festival will shut down Hendricks Boulevard as it brings a bunch of local "green" organizations and businesses into one place. Event details on Facebook
More upcoming events