Archive for September, 2009

Earth Aid fellowship

earthaidEarth Aid has developed a first free service that enables individuals to track their electric, gas, and water usage in one place online, receive customized tips to help save, and earn rewards for saving — points that can be redeemed for discounts at local businesses.

This fall, Earth Aid is launching a University Organizing Fellowship to empower students to work on the front lines in the fight against climate change in their communities, track their actual impact, and in the process, receive training on a variety of topics, from community organizing to political outreach and more.

For students interested in the issues of energy and environment, Earth Aid’s cutting-edge technology, vision of sustainability, and commitment to metrics-based organizing will provide a valuable and rewarding experience.

The deadline to apply is Friday, October 02,  apply online here at http://www.earthaid.net/action_center/university_fellows.

Email Andrew Gall at andrew@earthaid.net with any questions.

Share

September 28, 2009 at 3:05 pm Leave a comment

14th annual ASES National Solar Tour, Saturday October 03

banner copy665More than a dozen homes and buildings in the greater Tampa Bay area will be featured on Saturday, Oct. 3, as part of the 14th annual ASES National Solar Tour. Organized by Students for the Marketing and Advancement of Renewable Technologies (SMART) under the auspices of the Clean Energy Research Center (CERC) at the University of South Florida and the nonprofit American Solar Energy Society (ASES), the tour aims to introduce communities to solar technologies and energy efficiency.

More than 5,000 homes, schools and businesses across the United States will participate in the event. In Tampa, the tour kicks off at USF’s Research Park with a program from 10 to 11 a.m. featuring guest speakers, presentations and demonstrations on solar energy. Participants will receive a free ASES “Get Started” guide along with a local tour guide with directions and descriptions of the 13 energy efficient/solar powered buildings in the Tampa Bay area. The tour guide serves as an admission ticket to each location, either on one’s own or by taking a free shuttle bus to selected homes on the tour. The free bus will be available on a first-come first-serve basis, departing from USF’s Research Park at designated times from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The featured home on Tampa Bay’s first Solar Tour is a newly solar powered home with a photovoltaic system, solar hot water heater, back-up batteries and solar attic fans. Also being showcased is the St. Petersburg home of Amber and Darren Brinkley, owners of the first LEED Gold certified home in Florida; the Tampa Bay History Center; Eco-Farm in Plant City; and Estela’s Mexican Restaurant in Brandon. Other tour locations are in Tampa, Seminole Heights, St. Petersburg, Land O’ Lakes, and Seminole.

“The tour gives locals a glimpse at how an increasing number of families are going solar,” says Jamie Trahan, Tampa’s tour coordinator. “It’s part of a national collaboration to help Americans address a critical problem while introducing them to an array of clean, effective solutions that generate ongoing economic and environmental rewards.”
The national tours, which last year attracted more than 140,000 people in 49 states, afford participants the direct perspectives of homeowners and installers about the costs, components, and economic and environmental benefits of going solar. Those benefits include reducing monthly energy bills, reducing harmful carbon emissions, and enjoying tax credits and cash incentives as well as improving property values.

“In the wake of national polls revealing that runaway energy costs is the economic issue Americans believe most personally affects them, the ASES National Solar Tour brings real-life examples of how neighbors are harnessing free energy from the sun to generate electricity, warm and cool their homes, heat water and slash monthly utility bills,” said Neal Lurie, director of marketing for the American Solar Energy Society.

This event, billed as the largest grassroots solar energy event in the history of the United States, is FREE. Sponsors for the Tampa tour include the Tampa Bay Sierra Club and WMNF-FM. Details are available at: www.tampasolartour.blogspot.com and www.nationalsolartour.org. Research Park is located on the USF campus at 3720 Spectrum Blvd., Tampa, FL 33612.

Contact: Jamie Trahan,
USF Clean Energy Research Center
813-390-7546, jmetrahan@yahoo.com

Share

September 24, 2009 at 7:18 am Leave a comment

Local businesses and individuals volunteer with High Point Elementary School to develop garden

spc volunteersSt. Petersburg College Sustainability Club members, Dynamet, Inc. and Gateway Organic Farm have partnered with High Point Elementary School students, teachers and a gardening expert to develop a garden which will have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems.

The garden is located on the High Point Elementary School grounds at 5921 150th Avenue North. It covers about 1,700 square feet, but may be enlarged later.

The philosophy behind so-called “permaculture gardens” is one of working with, rather than against, nature. The word stems from two words – permanent and agriculture.

In the case of the High Point garden, cardboard serves as the base layer; a mixture of manure, compost, hay and soil was then layered on top of the cardboard. The actual ground is not tilled as with conventional gardens.

Robert Segundo, a certified permaculture designer, has volunteered his time and expertise to oversee the project.

“Most children have no idea where their food comes from, and this is a great way for them to find out,” said Segundo. “These techniques put them on the road to sustainable farming techniques, using less water, no fertilizers or pesticides and reaping five times the food.”

Nancy McClelland, a High Point primary teacher, oversees the garden project that K-5 students have recently begun to tend.

“Our children spend the majority of their time inside classrooms and homes,” McClelland said. “Our garden is a long-range, sustainable project that engages students in hands-on, inquiry-driven activities which I believe boost core subject skills as well as nutrition. One of High Point’s goals is to promote parent and community involvement, and over the long run, that is what the garden will do.”

The project was initially envisioned by McClelland.  She approached Jason Green, SPC’s sustainability coordinator, and they immediately began discussing the idea of partnering to develop a student-run garden.

“Both the participating environmental club members and I are very excited to work with High Point Elementary School on this project,” said Green.  “The idea of designing gardens based on healthy relationships among human development, microclimate, plants, animals, soil, and water just makes sense.”

The garden will produce a variety of vegetables, fruits, perennials and annuals, all grown in an ecologically responsible fashion.

“Whether planting, observing, measuring, weighing, journaling, or harvesting, children will become connected to the earth,” McClelland said. “This empowers them and gives them a sense of achievement and ownership.”

To volunteer, please contact Nancy McClelland at nancy@adventuresworldwide.com.

Share

September 22, 2009 at 6:52 am Leave a comment

Area colleges to discuss sustainability at roundtable on Wednesday, September 23

How are academic institutions meeting the challenge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce their carbon footprint?

What are the strategies that they are using to become more “green,” less wasteful, and more energy efficient?

Colleges and universities across the country are exercising leadership in their communities by modeling ways to eliminate global warming emissions, and by producing graduates educated in environmental issues and concerns.  Panelists will give brief presentations on current and future plans for sustainability on their campus, followed by a roundtable discussion amongst all participants.

The roundtable takes place at Studio@620 (620 1st Ave South,  St Petersburg, FL 33701) on Wednesday, September 23, 2009, 7:00 pm.

Participating campuses include:

Panel members include:

  • Joseph Dorsey Dept of Environmental Science Policy and Geography, USF St. Petersburg
  • Leah Ellington Student Bar Association “Go Green” Committee, Stetson University
  • Jason E Green Sustainability Coordinator, St Petersburg College
  • David Hastings Associate Professor of Marine Science and Chemistry, Eckerd College
  • Alison Ormsby Associate Professor of Environmental Studies, Eckerd College
  • E. Christian Wells Director, Office of Sustainability and Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of South Florida, Tampa
  • Diana Wright Energy Coordinator, St. Petersburg College

This event is free and open to the public.

For more information contact: David Hastings, hastindw@eckerd.edu, 727/864-7884 or visit: http://www.studio620.org/620/e_seobac.php

Share

September 18, 2009 at 12:32 pm Leave a comment

Local businesses and individuals volunteer with High Point Elementary School to develop garden

high point gardenSt. Petersburg College Sustainability Club members, Dynamet, Inc. and Gateway Organic Farm have partnered with High Point Elementary School students, teachers and a gardening expert to develop a garden which will have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems.

The garden is located on the High Point Elementary School grounds at 5921 150th Avenue North. It covers about 1,700 square feet, but may be enlarged later.

The philosophy behind so-called “permaculture gardens” is one of working with, rather than against, nature. The word stems from two words – permanent and agriculture.

In the case of the High Point garden, cardboard serves as the base layer; a mixture of manure, compost, hay and soil was then layered on top of the cardboard. The actual ground is not tilled as with conventional gardens.

Robert Segundo, a certified permaculture designer, has volunteered his time and expertise to oversee the project.

“Most children have no idea where their food comes from, and this is a great way for them to find out,” said Segundo. “These techniques put them on the road to sustainable farming techniques, using less water, no fertilizers or pesticides and reaping five times the food.”

Nancy McClelland, a High Point primary teacher, oversees the garden project that K-5 students have recently begun to tend.

“Our children spend the majority of their time inside classrooms and homes,” McClelland said. “Our garden is a long-range, sustainable project that engages students in hands-on, inquiry-driven activities which I believe boost core subject skills as well as nutrition. One of High Point’s goals is to promote parent and community involvement, and over the long run, that is what the garden will do.”

The project was initially envisioned by McClelland.  She approached Jason Green, SPC’s sustainability coordinator, and they immediately began discussing the idea of partnering to develop a student-run garden.

“Both the participating environmental club members and I are very excited to work with High Point Elementary School on this project,” said Green.  “The idea of designing gardens based on healthy relationships among human development, microclimate, plants, animals, soil, and water just makes sense.”

The garden will produce a variety of vegetables, fruits, perennials and annuals, all grown in an ecologically responsible fashion.

“Whether planting, observing, measuring, weighing, journaling, or harvesting, children will become connected to the earth,” McClelland said. “This empowers them and gives them a sense of achievement and ownership.”

To volunteer, please contact Nancy McClelland at nancy@adventuresworldwide.com.

Share

September 15, 2009 at 7:39 am Leave a comment

DEET insect repellent

MosquitoThis Labor day, protect yourself from insects in a DEET free way!

The Issue
Insect Repellent!

The Larger Issue

  • Most conventional bug repellents contain about 5-25% of DEET, a pesticide which with prolonged and repeated exposure may cause rashes, headaches, impaired memory or muscle weakness.
  • Mosquitoes can carry and transmit diseases and viruses like Malaria, Encephalitis and West Nile Virus.

Be Part of the Solution
Use organic and chemical free herbal-based bug repellents for natural protection while outdoors.  Before spraying yourself with inorganic chemicals, try these eco-friendly alternatives:

  • Try a natural repellent!  Frequently reapply basic essential-oils like lavender, rosemary and cedar wood.  These oils can trick insects into thinking you’re a plant.
  • Try http://www.naturallysavvy.com/site.php?id=418 for an essential-oil insect repellent recipe.
  • Never use sun block at the same time as DEET.  The sun block allows the DEET to enter the bloodstream three times faster, increasing the risk of stroke, headaches and hypertension.
  • If you must use a DEET repellent, choose products with less than 20% DEET, never apply over cuts or wounds, never apply on infants, or use if you are taking any medications, don’t spray in enclosed areas and wash skin with soap and water after use.
  • Dark clothing, exercising, floral and fruity fragrances and perspiration attract mosquitoes.

Share

September 7, 2009 at 7:26 am Leave a comment

Tampa Bay Estuary lecture by SPC Professor Chris Nichol

EstuaryPlease come to SPC Professor Christopher Nichol‘s presentation at Boyd Hill Nature Preserve’s Lake Maggiore Environmental Education Center, Tuesday, September 8, 2009, 7:30 until 8:30pm.

During the talk Professor Nichol will discuss the Tampa Bay Estuary, the largest open-water estuary in Florida.  He will present the multitude of unique habitats and their inhabitants, threats to the bay, and some of the things that people are doing to ensure that this beautiful resource will remain productive for many years.

Lake Maggiore Environmental Education Center is located at 1101 Country Club Way South in St. Petersburg.  For more information, please call Boyd Hill Nature Preserve at (727) 893-7326.

Share

September 3, 2009 at 7:27 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