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February 2017

Faculty Spotlight: Radha Pyati, Ph.D.

Radha Pyati, Ph.D.Department and title: Department of Chemistry, professor and chair


Where did you attend graduate school and what did you study? University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, chemistry


When did you start working at UNF? 2008


How are you involved with the Environmental Center? I served as the director of the Environmental Center from 2008 to 2013. I loved it and am grateful to UNF for the opportunity to learn so much and serve the campus in that role. Now, the Environmental Leadership Program supports a student assistant to help me with an ongoing project, the State of the Lower St. Johns River Basin Report.


What does your research focus on? Two things: imaging flow cytometry of fission yeast, and the St. Johns River.


Where is your favorite place to enjoy nature? My backyard. My husband has planted several citrus trees, and we enjoy those both in the yard and in the kitchen. Our tropical flowers and foliage amaze me — our yard looks like the park. 


What would you like to do when you retire? Volunteer with babies and toddlers, because I love kids. Also, volunteer with environmental and social justice causes I care about. 

Final Call for ELP Applications

Attention all undergrads! Do you have a passion for the environment? Would you like to network with community partners and leaders? If so, we are now accepting applications for project leaders in the Environmental Leadership Program (ELP). Deadline to submit an application is Monday, Feb. 13. Click here to download the information and application.


The ELP is focused on students who are passionate about the environment, who want to implement a community project that creates long-term solutions to environmental issues, and who want to develop their leadership skills. Through the ELP, the student project leader gains "real-world, hands-on" experience through working with community partners and leaders, UNF faculty and the ELP project coordinator, in creating and implementing their project. 

ELP Collage

If you have any questions, please contact Maria Mark.

ELP Update: Timucuan Science and History Symposium

Two project leaders from the Environmental Leadership Program (ELP) presented at the 6th Annual Timucuan Science & History Symposium, which was held Friday, Jan. 27, at the Ribault Club on Ft. George Island. Below is a summary of their presentations.


Kaley Crawford - Beyond the Trail: A Walk Through History


"Beyond the Trail: A Walk Through History" is an Environmental Leadership Program (ELP) project led by Kaley Crawford. This project focused on college students networking with environmental and business leaders in Northeast Florida, while learning about the local history through exploring the various national, state and city parks. Each outing had a community service component, such as beach cleanups, invasive species removal and planting vegetable gardens.


Nikki Adams - Geoscientist-in-Park (GIP) - Summer 2016


As the 2016 GIP*, Nikki helped plan and organize projects with Timucuan's Resource Management Division. One project conducted micro-plastic research in the St. Johns River and its tributaries, working international student volunteers in collecting and analyzing data. Nikki also helped organize the two-day Bio-Blitz, which hosted 3rd and 4th graders the first day and led them through various science-based activities. The second day was attended by members of the community. Nikki shared how the GIP experience enhanced her college experience and her future endeavors as a biologist.


*Since 1996, Geological Resource Division and the National Park Service (NPS) established the GIP program, which connects college students and recent graduates with the NPS to manage natural resources.

Visit the Environmental Leadership Program webpage to learn more.

Paddle in the Preserve with the Preserve Ambassadors

When: Friday, Feb. 24, from 2-4 p.m.

Where: Lake Oneida, Sawmill Slough Preserve

Cost: Free


The Preserve Ambassadors will be hosting a paddling clinic at Lake Oneida. At the event, students will have an opportunity to socialize with other environmentally-minded students. In addition, Preserve Ambassadors will be onsite to share tips and techniques for all the paddle sports canoe, kayak and stand up paddle boards. While some equipment will be provided, students are encouraged to arrive early and check out gear from Eco Adventure for use during the event. For more information, contact Project Leader Kyle Kenney.

Join the Facebook event for updates.

Student Coalition Update

The Environmental Center (EC) Student Coalition is a club open to all students who have a passion for adventure, nature and conservation. The club provides an opportunity for students to volunteer and participate and plan environmental-based events. Participation in the club provides like-minded students with the opportunity to contribute to campus sustainability and gain leadership experience.

Student Coalition Logo

Visit to Museum of Natural History 

When: Saturday, Feb. 11, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Cost: Museum admission fee, $11


Do you like butterflies, pizza and having fun? If so, you should join the EC Student Coalition for a trip to the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville. Afterwards, the group will enjoy pizza at Satchel's Pizza. Join the Facebook event and be sure to register for the trip


General Meetings

Attend a general meeting to learn more about the EC Student Coalition and upcoming events.

  • Tuesday, Feb. 21, at 8 p.m. in Student Union, Building 58W, Room 3804
  • Tuesday, March 14, at 8 p.m. in Student Union, Building 58W, 3804
  • Tuesday, April 11, at 8 p.m. in Student Union, Building 58W, 3804

Keep up to date by joining their Facebook group!

Dutton Island Full Moon Paddle and Camp

When: Saturday, March 11

Where: Dutton Island Preserve

Cost: $5 (cash due at event)


Come get your spring started right with a full moon paddle and camp at Dutton Island Preserve in Atlantic Beach. This adventure is a collaboration between the Preserve Ambassadors and Outdoor Nation. This is an introductory event for anyone interested in learning more about camping and paddling. Experienced students will be on site to answer questions about setting up tents and camping in general. 


There will be a daytime paddle to get everyone comfortable on the water, followed by a full moon paddle in the evening. A limited number of kayaks will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Students can always check out camping and paddling gear from Eco Adventure.

Join the Facebook event to get updates.

Outdoor Nation Update and Upcoming Events

Preserve Adventure Fest

Preserve Adventure Fest Feb. 9 has been canceled due to unforeseen circumstances. 


Recap from Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend Adventure

Group photo from Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site

In January, a group of 15 students led by Project Leader and Outdoor Nation Ambassador Nikki Adams visited the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta. The group was given a guided tour by Chief Ranger Moore. After the stop in Atlanta, students headed to Gatlinburg for tubing and skiing. While the weather was warm, there was plenty of snow on the slopes, and the students had a blast.  


Service and Camping at Kingsley Plantation

When: March 3 and 4
Where: Kingsley Plantation
Cost: Free, but registration is limited
Mark your calendars for this unique National Park experience at Kingsley Plantation, which includes a day of service, camping on Big Talbot Island and paddling through the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve. There will be multiple service projects at Kingsley Plantation, including building a kayak rack and tending to the park's native plant garden. Volunteers will be given a free meal and a free night of camping. This opportunity will be limited to a small number of students, and registration will be made available soon. 


Earth Day Celebration

The last event of the semester will take place in April in celebration of Earth Day. More details will be announced next month!

For more information, contact Project Leader Nikki Adams.

Exploring Northeast Florida's Special Places Special Film Screening

Special Places LogoPartners: Environmental Center, Public Trust Environmental Legal Institute of Florida, Timucuan Parks Foundation and Intuition Ale Works

When: Thursday, March 2, from 5:30-8:30 p.m.

Where: Intuition Ale Works

Cost: $10


The official debut of Exploring Northeast Florida's Special Places, a documentary series showcasing the city, state and national parks of Duval County. The series was produced by Sean Lahav, a project leader in the Environmental Leadership Program of the Environmental Center. It features short video episodes that highlight the amenities, history and natural beauty behind each park. The event will be hosted at Intuition Ale Works in Downtown Jacksonville and will feature live music, a community forum, episode screenings, networking and more! 

Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance at the Public Trust Environmental Legal Institute of Florida website.

Give Springs a Break

Partners: Environmental Center and Florida Springs Institute 

When: March 31 through April 2

Where: Ginnie Springs Outdoors

Cost:  $25-$50


The 4th Annual Give Springs a Break event at Ginnie Springs is intended for students interested in environmental careers; however, it is open to all students. Students will learn about Florida springs from scientists, artists, explorers and advocates. In addition, they will have an opportunity to network with like-minded students from around the state! The event features two nights of camping, swimming in the springs, floating down the river and campfire fun. The all-inclusive weekend costs $50 per student. Students may also join for the day on Saturday for $25. 


Give Springs a Break 2016

Visit the Florida Springs Institute website for more information and registration.

Community Corner

(v) indicates a volunteer opportunity


Diamondback Terrapin Monitoring Opportunity (v) 

When: April through September

Where: Various locations in Northeast Florida


The North Florida Land Trust, a nonprofit working to preserve lands in North Florida, is looking for volunteers to help with the diamondback terrapins monitoring. The program runs April-September. It is a great opportunity for students to gain ecological field experience and network with one of Northeast Florida's fastest growing nonprofits. For more information, contact Emily Dunn, stewardship coordinator.


Sierra Club Monthly Program 

Sponsor: Sierra Club Northeast Florida Group

When: Monday, Feb. 13, from 6:30-8 p.m.

Where: Lakewood Presbyterian Church

Cost: Free


Environmental Leadership Program (ELP) student project leaders, Madison Masters, Daniel Norez and Kelly Rhoden, will present their community project, "TreeRx: Prescribing Urban Trees for Community Health." This project focused on assessing tree planting opportunities in the Springfield/Eastside areas and the health benefits of trees. The community partner for this project was Groundwork Jacksonville. Learn more.


Kingsley Heritage Celebration

Sponsor: National Park Service, Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve

When: Saturday, Feb. 18, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Where: Kingsley Plantation

Cost: Free


The annual celebration will feature tours of the planters home, a kids craft corner, storyteller Cynthia Watts and performances by Nan Nkama Pan-African Drum and Dance Ensemble and Kora player Ajamu Mutiima. Performances begin at 1 p.m. Learn more. 


McCoys Creek Monthly Cleanup (v) 

SponsorRising Tides of the St. Johns RiverkeeperKeep Jacksonville Beautiful and UNF Environmental Center

When: Sunday, Feb. 19, from 10 a.m. to noon 

WherePowers Park


Join the St. Johns Riverkeeper young professionals group, Rising Tides, as they remove litter from McCoys Creek. Bags and gloves will be provided. Join the Facebook event.


Tour of Urban Mining, a Local Electronic Recycler

SponsorU.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Northeast Florida Region 

When: Tuesday, Feb. 21, from 11:30 a.m. to noon

Where: Urban Mining

Cost: USGBC members, free; nonmembers, $15


Did you know 20 to 50 million metric tons of electronic waste, or e-waste, are disposed of worldwide annually. Yet only 12.5% of e-waste is currently recycled! According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), e-waste is the fastest growing municipal waste stream in America. Learn how Urban Mining, a local electronic recycler, aims to change those percentages. Closed-toed shoes are required for the tour. Learn more

Learn about more upcoming events.
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