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UNF students awarded for environmental leadership and stewardship

The University of North Florida’s Institute of Environmental Research and Education recognized two outstanding student projects at the Environmental Leadership Program Spring Symposium last week. Project Leader of Year was awarded to Ashlynn Kemp and Poster of the Year was awarded to Alexia Maier.

Ashlynn KempProject Leader of Year, Ashlynn Kemp, is a coastal and marine biology major and the new president of UNF’s environmental honors society, Kappa Alpha Omicron.

Kemp’s project focused on educating the public and advocating for the importance of artificial reefs for sand tiger shark habitats on the Atlantic coast by creating a three-dimensional model of the USS Tarpon to display at the North Carolina Aquarium at Roanoke Island. The USS Tarpon is a United States Navy submarine that sunk off the coast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina in 1957 and has since transformed into an artificial reef. To make improvements to the model, Kemp worked with multiple organizations including UNF’s own STEP Lab with Dr. Eastham, the North Carolina Aquarium at Roanoke Island, and with Spot a Shark USA. Kemp’s project will be vital to continue exploring new methods of constructing the best possible model for use at NC aquariums to inform the public on artificial reef systems and their importance to sand tiger sharks. 

Alexis MaierPoster of the Year winner Alexia Maier, a public health major, worked with Groundwork Jacksonville to create “The S-Line Biodiversity Corridor Field Guide.”

The “S-Line Biodiversity Corridor Field Guide” answers the question of how we can transform a space into an outdoor classroom. The goal of the guide is to provide a space for educators to hold field trips, as well as encourage the community to enjoy the outdoors, grow and learn. The field guide provides opportunities for learning about science and history as well as community activism. The guide will be launched during Groundwork Jacksonville’s annual Earth Day celebration on Saturday, April 23.

All the Environmental Leadership Program projects, student headshots and biographies are available on the IERE website.