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March 2017

Student Spotlight: Kyle Kenny

Kenney, KyleWhere are you from? I was born in Belcamp, Maryland and moved to Land O' Lakes, Florida five years ago.


What is your major? I am a Coastal Biology major.


Why did you choose that major? I have had a fascination with the outdoors and our environment from a young age. I wanted a career that let me continue learning. I felt this major would let me set myself up for a life to continue feeding that passion.


How did you get involved with the EC? I started by volunteering at the weekly cigarette cleanups and then learned about the Student Coalition club and became actively involved. 


What is your job title and what do you do at the EC? I am a project leader in the Environmental Leadership Program. I created a program called the Preserve Ambassadors, which aims to educate students about our on-campus nature preserve and encourage them to use it. 


What is your favorite spot on campus? I enjoy setting up my hammock on the island in Lake Oneida. It's quiet in the afternoon with not many people going out. The breeze and swaying trees are relaxing.


What are your plans after graduation? I want to spend a year working with a group like AmeriCorps in the National Parks. After that I want to work as a wildlife biologist.


What is your dream job? I want to work as a wildlife biologist for a government organization like Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission.


What are your hobbies? I am fortunate to have my work and hobbies align. I enjoy spending time outside and getting others outside, too. Other than that, I enjoy paddle boarding, fishing and helping on my girlfriend's farm. 


What clubs and volunteer activities are you involved in? I am in the marine biology, bass, and Environmental Center Student Coalition clubs. I volunteer with the clubs and have just started to volunteer with the St. Johns Riverkeeper. 


What is the environmental issue you are most interested in? I do not know if it falls under the typical spectrum of issues, but environmental education. I believe the upcoming generations are missing out on experiences in nature. I feel it is important to foster an interest in the environment so that the desire to protect it grows and develops into a force that when multiplied by the multitude of children, will serve to protect our world and fix environmental problems.


What makes you passionate about the environment? I have had the privilege of traveling and getting to see a decent portion of our country and the diversity amazes me. It fascinates me to see nature adapt to the stress we put on it and to watch as it gets to occasionally reclaim space. 


Who is your hero and why? I would say that my hero is Steve Irwin. He found a way to engage people worldwide and spread the message of conservation, and while in an unconventional way, I believe it was effective. Personally, I know watching his adventures throughout the world captivated me and was a step to fostering that care for the environment that put me where I am today.


Dr. Bowman Receives Emeriti Recognition Award

Dr. Ray Bowman, founding director of the UNF Environmental Center, was honored to receive the Emeriti and Friends Recognition Award in February. The award, presented by President John A. Delaney, is given to emeriti who have continued to provide leadership support to UNF since their retirement.


The legacy and vision of Dr. Bowman influence the Center's current working practices. Our continual growth and support can be attributed to dedicated leaders like Dr. Bowman. As the founding director, he oversaw the broad program of environmental education and research including environmental research seed grants for faculty, fellowships for students, proposals for new environmental degree programs, an inventory of the natural assets of campus, the revitalization of campus recycling, creation of a Transformational Learning Opportunity focused on the St. Johns River and much more.

Dr. Bowman Emeriti Award

After the awards ceremony, we caught up with Dr. Bowman and asked him about his time at UNF.


When did you come to UNF, and why did you chose to come here? I arrived at UNF in September 1972, before the first classes began, before the entrance road from St. Johns Bluff was completely paved and when the courtyard was still dirt. My ambition was to be the best teacher I could be and to help begin a new university.


What accomplishment are you most proud of? Becoming a teacher valued by students.


What makes you passionate about the environment? I have always received joy (and still do) from being outdoors, beginning when I camped as a Boy Scout, to walking the UNF nature trails. My passion comes from wishing to give back to nature what it gives to me.


Why did you establish the Environmental Center? UNF is in a unique position to be a leader in environmental education and research because of its "natural endowment" (the campus) and the need for such leadership in Florida.


And last but not least, when was the last time you shaved your beard? I last shaved my beard in 1971 for a job interview with IBM. It didn't work out ... thank God! 

Environmental Leadership Program Update

Congratulations to project leader, Courtney Hogan and co-partner, Brianna Ballard, for receiving a $10,000 Upstream grant from the United Way for their Project, "Food Fighters: Student Powered Hunger Relief." Courtney, Brianna and Dr. Lauri Wright, from the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, have been working to create a program to resolve food waste on campus by recovering unused food from the Osprey Cafe and delivering it to local nonprofit groups who serve the community. Currently, they are working with the Northeast Florida AIDS Network of Jacksonville (NFAN). To date, they have saved 266.25 pounds of food and transformed it to into 271 individual servings for NFAN! 


News Coverage

First Coast News — UNF 'Food Fighters' let nothing go to waste

The Daily Record — Nonprofit news: Students win Upstream grants for social change


Upstream Food Fighters collage

To learn more about this program and how you can help, contact Project Leader Courtney Hogan.

Full Moon Paddle

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 Preserve Ambassadors and Outdoor Nation. This is an introductory event for anyone interested in learning more about camping and paddling. Experienced students will be onsite to answer questions about setting up tents and camping in general. 


The paddle portion of this trip is an open event and there is no registration required. The paddle will start at 5 p.m. but please arrive no later that 4:30 p.m. The cost to participating in the paddle is $5. The camping portion of the trip is reserved for current UNF students and requires registration. Please register here


The Environmental Center Student Coalition, through a partnership with Jax Paddle Sports, will have 15 kayaks available for the paddle. These kayaks are only available to current UNF students.

Dutton Island Paddle

Join the Facebook event to get updates.

Students at FURC

FURC 2017The Florida Undergraduate Research Conference (FURC) is one of the nation's largest multidisciplinary research conferences. The annual event is open to all undergraduate researchers in the state of Florida to present their research in a poster forum.


The Environmental Center was proud to have Shawna Melby attend and present her research at the 2017 Florida Undergraduate Research Conference. Shawna is a research assistant within the department and has been working on identifying anthropods (insects) found in the Sawmill Slough Preserve. Developing an inventory of arthropods will help document changes in the abundance and/or community composition of arthropods, which may be useful for monitoring both the health and succession of the UNF preserve. Moreover, identifying and monitoring arthropod communities, which can change rapidly in response to environment alterations, can provide an estimate of disturbance impacts such as construction and prescribed burns.

This research, along with other research related to the Sawmill Slough Preserve, can be found on the Digital Archive.

Student Coalition Update

The Environmental Center Student Coalition visited the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville in February. Students viewed the expansive research collection that demonstrates the museum's dedication to sharing Florida's biological richness and cultural heritage. Of course, a stop at Satchel's Pizza was needed after. Join their next meeting to see what other trips they have planned!

Florida Museum of Natural History visit
General Meetings

All are welcome to attend general body meetings to learn about the EC Student Coalition and upcoming events.

  • 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!

Natural Wonders Continuing Education Course

Have you every wondered what sorts of creatures live in the marsh down the street, or who is making all of those peculiar, singing sounds in nighttime trees and bushes? Are you curious about how the local landscapes were formed and why certain trees and plants grow here, but not there? If you want an introduction to the diverse habitats and landscapes of Northeast Florida, then this is the course for you!

Your instructor will guide you on a concise survey of plants and animals of the Florida flatwoods, tidal marshes, cypress forests and coastal marshes that you see every day. You will spend three sessions in an interactive, enjoyable classroom format. There will be two Saturday field trips. The first, on May 13, will be held at the UNF Sawmill Slough Preserve. The second outing, on May 20, is a half-day field trip to Fort Caroline National Monument. 
Natural Wonders collage
The instructor for the course is Jolie Schlieper, an environmental educator and lead park ranger for the City of Jacksonville. Schlieper has years of experience leading educational programs among Jacksonville's local flora and fauna, and is also Northeast Florida Sierra Club's conservation chair. 


The cost of the five-session course, which includes two field trips, is $109. There is a required textbook, " Sandhills, Swamps & Sea Islands: Environmental Guidebook to Northeast."

Visit the UNF Division of Continuing Education 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 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, March 13, from 6:30-8 p.m.

Where: Lakewood Presbyterian Church

Cost: Free 


John November, executive director of the Public Trust Environmental Legal Institute of Florida will be this month's speaker. John will talk about our progress in strengthening our tree culture in Jacksonville. Public Trust's mission is to zealously protect the City of Jacksonville's Preservation Project and other federal and state protected lands and waters. They pursue legal means, including litigation if necessary, to protect and preserve the public lands and waters. Learn more. 


Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve Up-Cycle Day  

Sponsor: Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve

When: Saturday, March 18

Where: Fort Caroline National Memorial 

Cost: Free


Come join us at Fort Caroline National Memorial for a day of up-cycling crafts. Up-cycling is a way to turn old items into something with a new purpose. During this event we will be giving lessons on how to up-cycle everyday objects, such as t-shirts, plastic bags, or water bottles. Learn more. 


Activate the St. Johns River  

Sponsor: St. Johns River Keeper

When: March 18 to April 2

Where: Anywhere on the St. Johns River!

Cost: Free 


For two weeks, the St. Johns Riverkeeper will be hosting various paddling trips, eco-tours, and other opportunities to experience and explore the St. Johns River and its tributaries. These efforts hope to raise awareness of the wonders of the St. Johns and the pollution problems that threaten our river's future. By activating the St. Johns, we can make a powerful statement about the river's importance, while introducing new audiences to the wonders of this magical waterway. Click here for the event flyer. For more information on other scheduled outings and opportunities, visit the Save the St. Johns website.


St. Johns River Cleanup & Celebration (v)  

Sponsors:  St. Johns RiverkeeperCity of Jacksonville Keep Jacksonville Beautiful Commission and more

When: Saturday, March 25, from 8-11 a.m. or 9-12 p.m.

Where: Various locations 

The 21st Annual St. Johns River Cleanup & Celebration will be held as a kick-off event for the Florida Great American Cleanup. From the shorelines to the streets, Jacksonville will host nearly 50 cleanup sites throughout the city and surrounding counties to prevent trash from ever reaching the river. Get a team together from your office, church, scouts, or civic group, and join the effort. Cleanup supplies will be provided at each site. Learn more.


Green Lion Festival at Art Walk

Sponsors: U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) North Florida and A1A Solar

When: Wednesday, April 5, from 5-9 p.m.

Where: Downtown Artwalk

Cost: Free 


Attend, support and participate in this fantastic event to celebrate and grow our local economy with people, planet and profits in mind. The Green Lion Festival seeks to promote and elevate the awareness of green-focused businesses and organizations in Jacksonville. We aspire to be a green and eco-friendly festival, while reaching out to the community. Learn more. 

Learn about more upcoming events.
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