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August 2017

Student Spotlight: Abbra Pyle

Pyle, AbbraWhere are you from? I am a Jacksonville native. 


What is your major and why did you choose that major? I chose to major in history, because ever since I was a little I have always loved history. Once I realized I could turn that love into a career, I knew it was going to be my major. 


How did you get involved with the Environmental Center? I enrolled in a for-credit internship with the Environmental Center at the suggestion of Dr. Closmann, who is the chair of the Department of History and Environmental Center board member. Due to my interest in environmental history, Dr. Closmann thought it would be a good experience for me. 


What is your job title and what do you do at the Environmental Center? I am a research assistant. My job focuses on creating a digital collection about the environmental history of UNF. The project is being completed in stages, and the first section, which will be released soon, will be about the construction of the UNF Golf Complex at the Hayt Learning Center. 


What is your dream job? My dream job would be to become an interpretative ranger at the Great Smoky Mountains or Everglades National Park.


What are your plans after graduation? I graduated with my bachelor's degree this past spring, and will be starting a master's degree program at UNF in the fall. After that, I hope to either get my dream job or earn a Ph.D. in history.  


What makes you passionate about the environment? I spend so much time outdoors hiking, camping and swimming at the beach. Too often I see how disrespectful people can be to our state and national parks and the environment. As a result, I have become passionate about trying to alleviate damage the best I can. 


Who is your hero and why? My hero is Horace Kephart, who was instrumental in the creation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. My family used to spend the entirety of every summer break in the Smokies. I credit rangers from National Park Service for inspiring me to want to become a park ranger myself. 

Environmental Leadership Program Update

ELP graphicA new semester means new project leaders! We are proud to introduce the newest members of our team.


Brandie Brooks – Coastal Biology – Junior

Brandie will be the new project leader for Beyond the Trail, which is now in its third series! Brandie has a minor in creative writing, so she wants to bring both art and science as the focus for this series. 


Bella Genta – International Conservation and Biology – Senior

Bella will lead the development of a new project in partnership with the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, to create a community coalition focused on addressing climate change at a local level. Through community workshops and other public outlets, the objective is to facilitate community dialogue about climate change and what we, as a community, can do together to help combat the effects of climate change. 


Caleb Johnston – Coastal Biology – Sophomore

Caleb has a passion for getting children into our parks and will be creating a park passport specifically aimed at children. The passport would give them information about the history, culture, flora and fauna of the parks, and provide opportunities to earn badges as they expand their knowledge and experience within the parks. 


Katie Nicholson – International Affairs – Junior

Katie has worked at the Environmental Center since spring 2016, but officially joined the ELP in the spring of 2017. Through a partnership with the Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute, Katie will develop a project focused on educating college students about Florida springs and the perils they face. The project will combine field trips, service projects and a social media campaign. 


Thoren Perego – Ecology and Evolutionary Biology – Sophomore

Thoren will partner with the North Florida Land Trust on a project that will educate college students about the importance of land trusts and the role they play protecting and restoring the environment. The project includes a plan to reach out to other colleges and universities in an effort to expand the participation and engagement.

Learn about all of the Project Leaders in the Environmental Leadership Program.

Student Coalition Update

Club Photo Banner 2

The Environmental Center Student Coalition is for students who have a passion for adventure, nature and conservation. This club provides students with an opportunity to meet like-minded students, volunteer in the community and network with environmental professionals. 


The Student Coalition's fall meeting schedule is below. 

Tuesday, Aug. 29, at 8 p.m. in Student Union, Building 58W, Room 3703A

Tuesday, Sept. 12, at 8 p.m. in Student Union, Building 58W, Room 3806

Tuesday, Oct. 10, at 8 p.m. in Student Union, Building 58W, Room 3805

Tuesday, Nov. 7, at 8 p.m in Student Union, Building 58W, Room 3805

Keep up to date by joining the Student Coalition Facebook group!

Jacksonville Environmental Symposium

Sponsors: City of Jacksonville Environmental Protection Board and Environmental Center

When: Friday, Sept. 15, from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: Adam W. Herbert University Center

Cost: $25-50


Registration is now open for the 2017 Jacksonville Environmental Symposium! 


The Jacksonville Environmental Symposium presents a unique opportunity for members of the community to interact with the regulatory agencies responsible for developing and implementing environmental policy. The symposium provides valuable opportunities for communication and help to further the goal of protecting our limited natural resources and improving the quality of life in Northeast Florida. 

Jacksonville Environmental Symposium  

The event features opening, lunch and closing general sessions, as well as a number of breakout sessions on topics of interest. The symposium also features the release of the latest State of the River Report for the Lower St. Johns River Basin, which is prepared annually by an interdisciplinary team of faculty from UNF and Jacksonville University. 

For more information and event registration, visit the Environmental Protection Board website.

Natural Wonders of Northeast Florida Course

Sponsors: Environmental Center and UNF Division of Continuing Education

When: Tuesday, Sept. 5, 12 and 19; Field trips Saturday, Sept. 9 and 16

WhereAdam W. Herbert University Center
Cost: $109


Have you ever wondered what sorts of creatures live in the marsh down the street, or who is making all of those peculiar singing sounds at nighttime in trees and bushes? Are you curious about how the local landscapes were formed and why certain trees and plants grow here, but not there? Then this course is perfect for you! 

Natural Wonders collage

Natural Wonders of Northeast Florida is an environmental education course designed by the Environmental Center and offered through the UNF Division of Continuing Education. The course is an introduction to the diverse habitats and landscapes of Northeast Florida, and provides a concise survey of flora and fauna found in Florida flatwoods, tidal marshes, cypress forests and coastal marshes. The interactive course consists of three Tuesday classroom sessions and two Saturday field trips visiting the UNF Sawmill Slough Preserve and Fort Caroline National Monument. 


The instructor for the course is Ms. Jolie Schlieper, an environmental educator and naturalist for the City of Jacksonville. There is a required textbook for the course, "Sandhills, Swamps & Sea Islands: Environmental Guidebook to Northeast Florida," which was published by the Environmental Center. The textbook costs $24.99 and is available online.

For more information and registration details, visit the UNF Division of Continuing Education website.

Community Corner

(v) indicates volunteer opportunity


Screening of "Food Choices" 

Sponsors: U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Northeast Florida Region

When: Friday, Aug. 18, at 7 p.m.

Where: Corazon Cinema & Cafe (St. Augustine)

Cost: $10


Visit the USGBC website for more information about attending this film screening. 

Hogans Creek Cleanup (v) 

Sponsors: St. Johns Riverkeeper Rising Tides and Groundwork Jacksonville

When: Saturday, Aug. 19, from 10 a.m. to noon

Where: 909 N Liberty St.


Join the Facebook event to learn more about volunteering at this cleanup.

5th Annual River Ruckus (v)

Sponsor: St. Johns Riverkeeper

When: Saturday, Aug. 26, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Where: Riverside Arts Market

Cost: Free


Visit the St. Johns Riverkeeper website to learn more about this festival celebrating the St. Johns River.

Learn about more upcoming events.
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