SPC hosts Gopher Tortoise inventory

Discussion about the biology of gopher tortoises and the reasons for their decline

On Sunday, 2/19, the SPC Seminole Campus Environmental Science Club hosted an Ecological Inventory of the Gopher Tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) at Honeymoon Island State Park. Coastal strand and Mesic Pine Flatwoods were inventoried for burrows documenting the size and activity status. About 700 burrows were documented on a 10-acre parcel with an estimated 300 tortoises on the property. With the student’s data land managers can make decisions regarding property burn regimes and conservation of this threatened species. Students worked with the park biologist, Dan Larremore.

All SPC students who participated also received a free State Park pass courtesy of eco-Volunteer USA.

If you’d like more information regarding the SPC Seminole Campus Environmental Science Club contact the Faculty Advisor, Kelli Stickrath, at 394-6947.

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February 21, 2012 at 12:10 pm Leave a comment

UF offering Green Advantage® environmental certification

On February 23, 2012, University of Florida’s Program for Resource Efficient Communities will be holding Commercial/Residential Green Advantage training at Pinellas County Extension, 12520 Ulmerton Road, Largo.

Green Advantage® is an environmental certification for building related practitioners. This program provides an overview of current commercial green building principles, materials, and techniques.

Participants will also become familiar with the LEED rating system. A Green Advantage® certification exam will be available for those who desire it. A LEED project may receive a LEED Innovative Credit if a significant percentage (30%) of the projects building force is Green Advantage® Certified.

The course will provide an overview of key building features that effect building performance. An overview of appropriate provisions found in the Florida Building Code is included.

The course addresses the Building as a System and examines building failures due to outdoor and indoor environments through both building design and building construction techniques.

An overview of green building certification programs is included, but not limited to, USGBC – LEED for Homes, NAHBA Green Building Standards, DOE/EPA Energy Star and FGBC – Green Homes Standard. (CILB / BCAI 0010514 / AR 9877732 / FBPE 4040)

8 CEHs will be awarded for attending this training.  The exam for certification is optional is managed by a third-party testing center at a later date.

What:  Green Advantage® Environmental Certification

When:  February 23, 2012,

Where:  Gardenia Room, Pinellas County Extension, 12520 Ulmerton Road, Largo

Cost:  Registration is $100 for 8 CEHs

How to Register:  Visit  buildgreen.ufl.edu

Questions:  Call the Program For Resource Efficient Communities on (352) 392-5684

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January 25, 2012 at 2:32 pm Leave a comment

New energy forum series at Seminole Campus begins Jan. 11

Along with food, water and shelter, energy is among the most essential elements of human life in the modern world.  It lights and heats homes, powers transportation, and is essential to commerce. Yet in the post-recession, post-tsunami world of 2012, energy faces a very uncertain future.

A distinguished group of experts will explore that future in a series of free public forums at St. Petersburg College. The first forum in the series, focusing on the future of nuclear energy, will be held from 6-8 p.m. Jan. 11 in the Digitorium of the SPC Seminole Campus, 9200 113th Street North. Titled Our Energy Future: Are Nukes Still Viable, and Do Lawmakers Get It on Energy?, the forum is presented by SPC’s Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions and co-sponsored by the St. Petersburg Times and WUSF Public Media.

Is there a future for nuclear energy? Nukes have been the focus of heated debate over safety, cost, waste and siting concerns since their inception. That debate got much hotter after the March tsunami in Japan caused the meltdown of three nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Plant. Since then, Germany, Japan, Switzerland and Italy have announced plans to phase out nuclear plants.

Not in Florida. The state’s two largest utilities are seeking permits to add nuclear capacity even as the debate rages over cost and need factors and the perennial concern for safety and waste. Consumer advocates take issue with a state law that allows utilities to charge customers in advance for plants that are years down the road. They also question the need for new plants with per capita energy use declining and argue there are less expensive and less risky ways to meet energy demand. The industry defends its safety record, efficiency factor, and non-polluting benefits.

In March, the second forum in the series, will focus on renewable energy and conservation efforts. The third, in April, will assess energy policy from the 2012 session of the Florida Legislature.

The program is free, but advance registration is requested. To register, please visit our website at www.spcollege.edu/solutions.  For more information: 727-394-6942

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January 3, 2012 at 11:32 am Leave a comment

SPC building named “Project of the Year” by US Green Building Council

St. Petersburg College announced today that the Clearwater Campus, LEED Gold certified Natural Science, Mathematics and College of Education (NM) building was named the 2011 Outstanding Project of the Year: LEED-NC Higher Education by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), Florida Gulf Coast Chapter.

The LEED Green Building Rating System™ is a nationally accepted certifier of high performance and environmentally sensitive buildings.

“Environmentally friendly building operations provide nearly 40% of the solution to the climate change issue,” said Jason Green, SPC’s Sustainability Coordinator. “Even though climate change exists as part of a global challenge, we are attempting to address it locally through sustainable building design and other college-wide initiatives.”

The NM building was designed to decrease pollution and negative impacts on the environment; decrease impact on local aquifers; decrease energy consumption; and increase the quality of indoor air and the indoor working environment.

The building includes “Green Cleaning” products. Reflective roofing and paving materials result in cooler surfaces. Preferred parking spaces are provided for fuel-efficient vehicles/carpools, and bicycle storage and shower/changing facilities are located within the building.

Composite wood products contain no added urea formaldehyde, and all adhesives, paints and carpets meet low volatile organic compound (VOC) standards. To ensure proper function and minimize energy loss through building exhaust, chemistry laboratory fume hoods were tested and commissioned. There is no smoking within 25 feet of any entry.

The building’s design should inspire students, said Charm Callahan, SPC’s interior designer.

“This green building provides an example for students to actually experience the impact of thoughtful and responsible design,” she said.

From left: Mike Wilson, Mills Gilbane Project Executive; Jason Green, SPC Sustainability Coordinator; and Michael Carter, SPC Director of Design and Construction.

Additional facts about the building:

  • The building houses the college’s first photovoltaic solar installation.
  • 43 percent water savings achieved through low-flow fixtures, dual-flush toilets and waterless urinals.
  • At least 86 percent of all construction waste recycled. As a result, 3,147 tons of construction waste was diverted from landfill.
  • On a cost basis, more than 5 percent of the materials used in the building were salvaged, refurbished or reused; 21 percent contain recycled content; and at least 30 percent were extracted, harvested, recovered, and/or manufactured within 500 miles of the building.
  • 71 percent of wood-based materials and products were certified in accordance with the Forest Stewardship Council’s Principles and Criteria.

“We currently operate two LEED Gold buildings at SPC and we hope to complete two additional by the end of 2012,” said Michael Carter, SPC’s Director of Design and Construction.

For more information visit http://www.spcollege.edu/sustainability/.

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October 28, 2011 at 10:00 am Leave a comment

Help clean up Clearwater Beach, September 24, 2011

The Science Adventurer’s Club @ SPC is sponsoring a beach clean-up on North Shore Clearwater Beach (Lot 36), running from Rockaway St. to 880 Mandalay.

The beach clean-up will held be Saturday, September 24, 2011 from 8:00 am until 11:00.  Meet on the beach at Rockaway Street, right in front of the public parking lot.  Bags, gloves and water (courtesy of Palm Pavilion) will be provided, but please remember to wear a hat, sunscreen, closed toed shoes and pants for the dunes, etc.

A light breakfast and lunch will be provided by SPC Student Government Association.

You can park in the public beach parking or find residential parking further down the road then just walk back.

For more information, please contact science.adventurers.spc@gmail.com

Special thanks to Palm Pavilion for generously providing a free beverage to participants after the beach clean-up!  Hope to see you there!

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September 7, 2011 at 11:04 am Leave a comment

SPC Students Talk Trash

Trash collection has evolved from a one man cart in Roman times to 243 million tons of waste collected every year. The enormity of waste disposal is at the center of the newest of three documentaries produced by St. Petersburg College media arts students in partnership with public media outlet WEDU. The 30-minute documentary “Away: A Story of Trash” will premiere on WEDU Thursday, Aug. 25 at 10 p.m.

“Away: A Story of Trash” will educate and entertain viewers about the history of waste management – the current practices, problems and what the average American’s perception of “throwing away” garbage really means. The program will identify new technologies and processes that have been created to reduce the amount of solid waste – and the many recycling and disposal programs of Pinellas County in particular. The viewer will ultimately walk away with an understanding of what they can do to help – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – the three R’s of waste management.

“It’s really amazing to see how much work actually goes into it,” said Katie Bishop, Executive Producer of Away: A Story of Trash. “I hope the viewers will be educated enough to be influenced to take action and reduce the amount of waste we create, so we can preserve the earth for future generations.”

“Local programs that both educate viewers and address topics important to the community are part of the mission of our station,” said Jack Conely, Vice President of Content for WEDU. “Additionally, our ongoing collaboration with St. Petersburg College has not only produced relevant content, but has given the students real-world experience and contributes significantly to the resumes of budding film producers.”

Previous documentaries produced by SPC students in conjunction with WEDU included the 30-minute “Go Green Tampa Bay” in 2008. The documentary was designed to inspire viewers to come up with ideas to counteract economic and environmental woes through the use of alternative resources.

The other documentary, produced in 2010, was entitled “Tony Jannus: American Aviator.” The 30-minute program educated viewers about American aviation history, advances in technology and industry pioneers, showing how the trillion dollar commercial aviation industry started from the purchase of one ticket: a flight on the St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line, piloted by Tony Jannus.

WEDU is west central Florida’s leading PBS station and public media company reaching 16 counties through multiple media platforms including on-air programming and online experiences that broaden horizons, transport and transform and open gateways to new ideas and new worlds. For more information, program schedules or to support WEDU visit WEDU.org.

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August 25, 2011 at 12:00 pm Leave a comment

Calling all phone books

Summertime is phone book delivery time. Thousands of new phone books will be delivered to Pinellas County residents’ doorsteps. Please recycle old phone books instead of trashing them.

There are many convenient options to recycle phone books. Residents of Belleair, Clearwater, Dunedin, Gulfport, Indian Rocks Beach, Largo, Madeira Beach, Oldsmar, Redington Beach, Safety Harbor and St. Petersburg may recycle phone books in their curbside bin. In addition, there are over 340 local drop-off sites. See the attached listing, or visit www.pinellascounty.org/utilities/PDF/phone-book-sites.pdf. Please remove any magnets or plastic wrap before recycling phone books.

Each year, over 500 million telephone books are distributed nationwide—enough to circle the earth four times! A common myth is that phone books cannot be recycled, but they are 100% recyclable. Your old phone book can be recycled into insulation, cereal boxes, paper towels or new phone books.

You can cut waste if you receive more phone books than you need. For example, co-workers in an office can share phone books instead of receiving individual books. Another option is to use online listings instead of a hard copy. To stop deliveries of phone books at work or at home, visit www.YellowPagesOptOut.org. The website, provided by the Yellow Pages Association, covers both yellow and white page phone books.

For more information on recycling, contact Pinellas County Utilities at (727) 464-7500, or visit www.pinellascounty.org/recycle.

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June 14, 2011 at 10:00 am Leave a comment

Older Posts


who we are:

Early in 2008, St. Petersburg College recognized its responsibility to model to our students, employees and community ways to minimize global warming emissions and provide the knowledge to our graduates to help achieve a more environmentally friendly future. Because of this, the College made sustainability (defined as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs) a top priority. As a result, the Office for Sustainability was established.

what we do:

Working alongside internal and external partners, the Office for Sustainability focuses on the following areas of environmental stewardship: educational programs and corporate training, energy and natural resource conservation, green buildings and facilities, carbon emissions, recycling and student activities.

learn more:

To learn more about The Office for Sustainability at St. Petersburg College, contact Jason Green, Sustainability Coordinator at green.jason@spcollege.edu

sustainable | SPC