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October 2017

Student Spotlight: Courtney Hogan

Courtney Hogan, ELP Project LeaderWhere are you from? Coral Springs, Florida


What is your major and why did you choose that major? I am in the interdisciplinary program, and my major is called Social Change and Sustainable Development. I could not decide on just one major so the interdisciplinary program allows me to learn about a wide range of topics like food justice, conservation psychology and international development.  


How did you get involved with the Environmental Center? I started going to the different events hosted by the Environmental Center, especially the camping trips with the Student Coalition. Those were a lot of fun, and connected me to all my good friends who also like to adventure in the woods! 


What is your job title and what do you do at the Environmental Center? I am a project leader in the Environmental Leadership Program. My project is called Food Fighters: Student-Powered Hunger Relief. We are a food recovery program that diverts food waste created by the Osprey Cafe and then packages the food into meals to be served to our community partners the Northeast Florida AIDS Network and Sulzbacher Homeless Shelter. 


What is the environmental issue you are most interested in? It is not so much an issue, as it is an approach to environmentalism. I am interested in how nonviolent direct action and mutual aid can be used to fight injustices that manifest in every aspect of oppression: from lockdowns that shut down pipelines and divestment campaigns that weaken the fossil fuel industry; to the personal protest of being vegan in order to boycott the animal exploitation of the animal agricultural industry; to a food recovery program aiding communities stuck in food deserts; to BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) so as to express solidarity with Palestine.


What makes you passionate about the environment? I am realizing more and more that we are all one. Whether it is a river, farm animal, human or entire ecosystem, we all deserve the inherent right to live within the harmony that already exists as Mother Earth. Intersectionality has taught me that an injustice to one is an injustice to all. So I am not merely in the resistance for the motivation of my love for nature, but my love for all beings and my beliefs that they deserve a life with maximized love and peace, and minimal suffering.  


Who is your hero and why? I don't want to hero-worship anybody, but the first person that has come to mind as a major influence to my perspective is Dr. Vandana Shiva. She is an academic and activist who has lead the movement for food justice in India. Her anticapitalist and anti-globalist writings and organizing work has educated the masses on the destruction of GMO companies and industrialized agriculture. She has also contributed greatly to the women's liberation movement through her teachings on eco-feminism and women's role in the food justice movement.

Environmental Leadership Program Updates

Project Leaders Attend International Conference on Sustainable Development in New York City

This past week, two of our Environmental Leadership Program Project Leaders, Bella Genta and Thoren Perego, attended the 2017 International Conference on Sustainable Development. This year's conference was hosted in New York City by The Earth Institute, Columbia University, the Global Association of Masters of Development Practice and the United Nations Development Programme. The two-day conference left our project leaders excited and hopeful about the future of Sustainable Development and its many facets: economic, social and, of course, environmental. Read more about Bella and Thoren's experience on our blog!


Take the Challenge, Win Outdoor Gear!

This year the Environmental Center will once again partner with Outdoor Nation for their 2017 Campus Challenge, a national contest among 100 rival universities and colleges to see who can get the most people outside. Project Leader Kyle Kenney will be leading the effort and promoting the challenge across campus.


After downloading the Outdoor Nation app on a smart phone, students, faculty, staff and community members can log points for participating in outdoor activities. The more points you earn, the more likely you are to win prizes from companies like The North Face, Eagle Nest Outfitters (ENO) and Hydroflask. Acceptable activities include, but are not limited to: 


  • Gardening
  • Camping
  • Biking/Mountain Biking
  • Hammocking
  • Outdoor Yoga
  • Outdoor Service Projects

Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge

For more information, check out our Facebook page.


St. Johns River Experience Applications Now Open

SJRE Applications open

Applications for the 2018 St. Johns River Experience are now open! The deadline for applications is Monday, Oct. 30. This transformational learning opportunity is open to all undergraduate students in good academic standing. All applicants are required to be interviewed prior to enrollment.


The St. Johns River Experience is a unique course that explores the St. Johns River, one of only 14 American Heritage Rivers in the U.S. The interdisciplinary course combines guest speakers, field trips and labwork and covers a range of topics including history, ecology, water quality and public policy. The highlight of the course is the full-immersion spring break trip, where students have the opportunity to explore the St. Johns River, tributaries and springs first hand!

Learn more about the 2017 St. Johns River Experience

All students who participate in the St. Johns River Experience are required to enroll in a three-credit course that meets Wednesdays from noon to 2:45 p.m. There are no prerequisites to enroll in this course, and all majors are encouraged to apply. This course can count toward many degree programs. Additionally, students are required to participate in three Saturday events and the spring break trip. In addition to the cost of tuition, there is a $350 fee for this course.

Visit our website for additional information and application.

Faculty Seed Grants: Applications Open

Applications for the 2018 Seed Grants are now open! Seed Grants are intended to support environmentally related research that subsequently results in the preparation and submission or 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.

Seed Grants

Thanks to generous donation from the Vulcan Materials Company Foundation, the Environmental Center is now able to offer two additional grants to support faculty research:


Environmental Research Grants — Supported by River Branch Foundation

Two $6,000 grants are available to faculty to stimulate the creation of interdisciplinary research projects that address the priorities of the Environmental Center, which are: rivers, coasts and springs; parks and preserves; and sustainability (social, environmental and economic).


Water Research Grants — Supported by Vulcan Materials Company Foundation

Two $5,000 grants are available to faculty to stimulate the creation of interdisciplinary research projects that address water issues in Northeast Florida.


All grant applications are due to the Environmental Center no later that 5 p.m., Monday, Oct. 30. Late applications will not be accepted.

Learn more about the Seed Grant program

Lost Springs

The UNF Lufrano Intercultural Gallery and Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Jacksonville, a cultural institute of UNF, will present the "Lost Springs" project in a series of exhibition and events. Exhibits are open at both galleries, for details visit their websites.


A special screening of the film, followed by a panel discussion, will be held at MOCA Thursday, Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. The panel will feature artist Margaret Tobert Ross, filmmaker Matt Keene and scientist Jeremy Stalker from Jacksonville University.

Lost Springs

"Lost Springs" chronicles the tragic demise of the iconic springs of the Ocklawaha River in North Central Florida. This multimedia exhibition features images, sculpture and film of Cannon Springs and Tobacco Patch Springs created by various artists including Tolbert, Keene, Karen Chadwick, Mark Long and others.

Learn more about Lost Springs: An Artist's Journey into Florida's Abandoned Springs.

Student Coalition Update

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

– Meeting will feature a Skype conversation with the director of the Center for Earth Jurisprudence Margaret R. Stewart, Esq. 

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

Creek Cleanup


In the photo above, student club members are volunteering with Groundwork Jacksonville to clean up litter and debris following Hurricane Irma along the S-Line Urban Greenway in Springfield.

Stay updated with the Student Coalition by joining their Facebook group!

Climate Change Refugee Lecture

Partners: UNF Pre-Law Society, Department of Political Science and Public Administration and Environmental Center

When: Thursday, Oct. 26, from 6-7:30 p.m.

Where: Adam W. Herbert University Center, Board of Trustees Room

Cost: Free and the public


Florida A&M College of Law Professor Randall S. Abate will present an open lecture, "Plight of Climate Refugees: Rising Seas, Melting Ice and Inadequate Legal Projections" in the Adam W. Herbert University Center. This event is free and open to the public. 


Professor Randall S. Abate is a professor of International and Environmental Law. You can learn more about his climate change research as one of the FAMU Sustainability Institute's 2016-2017 Sustainability Fellows.

Join the Facebook event page for more information.

Green Carpet Film Series

Partners: U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) North Florida and Environmental Center

When: Friday, Oct. 20, from 7-10 p.m.

Where: Corazon Cinema & Cafe (St. Augustine)

Cost: $10


Enjoy three amazing films in one night! USGBC North Florida brings you a very special screening of Divest!, Sonic Sea and local film Exploring Northeast Florida's Special Places: Theodore Roosevelt Area. Witness the international rise of the fossil fuel divestment movement, an investigation into the impact of industrial ocean noises on marine life and a day trip to Theodore Roosevelt Area park. Learn more.

Join the Facebook event for more information and ticketing.

Community Corner

(v) indicates volunteer opportunity


Maps and Compass Navigation Basics Class

Sponsor: REI Jacksonville

When: Tuesday, Oct. 17, from 6:30-8 p.m.

Where: REI Jacksonville

Cost: Free


Learn more about this basic navigation skills workshop on the REI website


Hogans Creek Cleanup (v)

Sponsors: Groundwork Jacksonville

When: Saturday, Oct. 21, from 10 a.m. to noon

Where: The Union Art Studios and Gallery


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


McCoys Creek Cleanup (v)

Sponsors: St. Johns Riverkeeper Rising Tides and Groundwork Jacksonville

When: Sunday, Oct. 22, from 10 a.m. to noon

Where: Mixon Studios


Visit the St. Johns Riverkeeper website to learn more about volunteering at this cleanup.

Learn more about upcoming events.
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