Environmental responsibility comes in many forms.
It can be a Boy Scout troop picking up trash along a riverbank, or a tireless advocate who has dedicated her life to protecting trees, water quality or the air we breathe. It is about being conscientious and accountable, and recognizing that even the smallest deed can have an impact.
At the University of North Florida, environmental responsibility is one of our core values, and again, it is expressed in a variety of ways. From cutting-edge research to everyday campus life, the theme is woven into just about everything we do at UNF.
Living, working and studying in and around a nature preserve certainly inspires us. Students consistently point to their campus surroundings as one of the top reasons they enroll and stay at UNF until they graduate. They also spend a good portion of their day in sustainable, green buildings and in classes that provoke environmental thought and action.
Throughout our campus, faculty members are on the forefront of research studying our waterways and coastal systems, always involving students in the process. We work closely with community agencies and stakeholders on projects like the annual report on the St. Johns River, in which UNF professors analyze data and provide expertise.
As you’ll read in this issue of the Journal, it’s been this way from the beginning. In UNF’s early years, preservationists like Robert Loftin and John Golden paved the way to safeguard the future of the Sawmill Slough Preserve while finding a balance so students could enjoy it. Both would be proud of the fact that the Preserve’s archive of species was completed this spring — documenting more
than 1,000 plants and animals!
Many of these efforts are driven or supported by our Environmental Center, which celebrated its 10th anniversary last year. The Center is our environmental conscience in a sense, making sure we remain focused and diligent in all areas — from how we function on our campus to providing researchers the support they need to do their work.
Whether it’s growing our own food, participating in a cleanup or conducting pioneering research, everyone has a role to play. It all comes down to some simple advice we received as kids — leave things better than you found them!
John A. Delaney