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About the Environmental Center 


To develop and support interdisciplinary, community-based programs that create the next generation of environmental leaders and support faculty research and scholarship. The center serves students and faculty from all six UNF colleges, and has a strategic focus on parks and preserves; rivers, coasts and springs; and sustainability.

Programmatic Focus

The Environmental Center has three main programmatic areas: Academic Initiative, Environmental Leadership Program (ELP) or Research Development. Furthermore, the Environmental Center has a regional focus on projects that impact Northeast Florida and involves Parks and Preserves; Rivers, Coasts and Springs; and/or Sustainability.


The Environmental Center was founded by Dr. Ray Bowman in 2004, with support from a range of faculty and President John A. Delaney. The original vision for the Environmental Center was to "enhance the quality and distinctiveness of UNF education by stimulating multidisciplinary teaching and research related to the environment." In the beginning, the Environmental Center did not have an office, nor paid staff. However, , however, through the tireless effort of Dr. Bowman and others, the Environmental Center has been able to continually grow.

Important Milestones:

2004 – Environmental Center founded by Dr. Ray Bowman 

2006 – A 382-acre natural area was designated the Sawmill Slough Preserve by President John A. Delaney and the Board of Trustees

2008 – First release of the annual State of the River Report for the Lower St. Johns River Basin

2009 – Dr. Radha Pyati takes over as the second director of the Environmental Center 

2007 – Inaugural St. Johns River Transformational Learning Opportunity

2013 – Dr. Stuart Chalk serves as interim director

2014 – Dr. J. David Lambert takes over as the third director of the Environmental Center 

2015 – Preserve Digital Archive released 

2016 – Environmental Leadership Program (ELP) launched