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Press Release for Monday, February 22, 2010

National Wildlife Federation Selects UNF Student for Fellowship Program

Joanna Norris, Assistant Director

Department of Media Relations and Events

(904) 620-2102



The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) has selected University of North Florida student Cheryl Pakidis, a senior majoring in English with a minor in Environmental Studies, as the 2010 Southeast Campus Ecology Fellow.


Pakidis, a Southside resident, is the first UNF student to be selected for this fellowship program. In this year-long position, she will be working from the University with the NWF Southeast Regional Center to build a Climate Action Network between colleges and universities in the state of Florida.


“I am looking forward to working with the National Wildlife Federation, my UNF colleagues and representatives from other schools and businesses throughout the Southeast in order to create a climate action network,” said Pakidis. “I have high expectations for myself and for the other regional fellows around the country, and I look forward to working towards a greener tomorrow.”


Objectives of the fellowship include:

  • Engaging representatives (including students, faculty, staff and administration) from 10 to 20 campuses in Florida in discussions regarding successes and limitations that they have encountered when working to implement projects intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through conference calls, meetings, etc.
  • Identifying network needs and opportunities for collaboration to further accelerate a regional shift toward clean, renewable energy and carbon neutrality
  • Creating tools for improved communication and sharing of resources and best practices among partner schools, as well as local businesses, non-profits and community organizations such as Web site development or other online tools
  • Supporting the organization of at least one gathering or summit to educate representatives from member campuses and provide time for face-to-face networking
  • Initiating the development of a regional Climate Action Plan involving the Network of schools and their surrounding communities

Pakidis is currently a student assistant in the UNF Environmental Center and serves as the student representative for the College of Arts & Sciences on the UNF Environmental Executive Board. As a freshman, she was selected as one of only a few students to spend spring break living on a houseboat on the St. John’s River, studying and collecting samples, so she could learn about the problems facing the river from human impact and pollution.


“I have always been passionate about environmental issues and attending UNF has provided me with the opportunity to immerse myself in a vast amount of green projects in my school and community,” said Pakidis.


She has been involved in numerous campus green events, including Garbage on the Green, the University’s annual waste audit; Recycle-Mania, a nationwide event where colleges and universities compete to see who has the greenest campus; and has helped plan and construct the first fully sustainable vegetable garden on campus.



The National Wildlife Federation is America’s largest conservation organization. It works with more than 4 million members, partners and supporters in communities across the country to protect and restore wildlife habitat, confront global warming and connect with nature.