Archive for February, 2010

SPC’s Saturday Clearwater Beach cleanup to be rescheduled

Due to the cold and rainy weather forecast for Saturday (2/27/10), our Clearwater Beach Cleanup will be rescheduled to April 17.   I hope you can make it then!  Check back on our blog for more rescheduling information.

To learn more about sustainability at St. Petersburg College, contact Jason Green at  Then visit, join the facebook group and follow us at



February 26, 2010 at 9:53 am Leave a comment

Sustainable home builder to present lecture at SPC

Darren Brinkley founded REAL building in 2007 and has been involved in the green building industry for more than 4 years. He currently serves on the boards of the U.S. Green Building Council‘s Florida Gulf Coast Chapter and Pinellas Living Green, Inc, Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio’s Environmental Roundtable, the USGBC’s Gulf Coast Chapter’s LEED for Homes committee and is a frequent speaker and participant in local green building and sustainability events, as well as an advisor to local government and media groups.

On February 18, 12:30pm-1:30pm, Darren will present a lecture at SPC’s Clearwater campus (2465 Drew Street) in NM205.

For driving directions, visit and for a campus map,

Parking in any spot not labeled “Faculty/Staff”.

See you there!

To learn more about sustainability at St. Petersburg College, contact Jason Green at  Then visit, join the facebook group and follow us at


February 15, 2010 at 2:27 pm Leave a comment

Volunteers plant 1,000 seedlings at Seminole Campus

A small army of volunteers turned out at the Seminole campus on Saturday to plant 1,000 pine trees on the north end of the campus.

Students, faculty members, college staff and volunteers from the Seminole community took part in the planting, which started at 9 a.m. and lasted into the afternoon. Staff members mapped out the planting scheme, and then volunteers took over to poke holes in the ground, place the small seedling roots in the ground, and then soak them with about a quart of water each.

The planting took place near the spot where other volunteers worked a few weeks ago to pull non-indigenous plants from the ground.

Seminole Provost Jim Olliver, who worked Saturday as one of the volunteers, said the expansive site will one day be the home of a natural habitat park.

“Of course, we’re doing all this as a beautification measure, but this will also help the natural habitat,” he said. “It will benefit migratory birds, and it will offer an opportunity for the campus to have a natural habitat park and environmental center. Work on that may start within a month, and it will include walking paths, ponds, andf a dock.”
“We envision a place where all kinds of creatures and natural plants will be able to live and thrive.

Jim Waechter, Director of Facilities Services, obtained the pine seedlings and oversaw the planting. He said the planting project is a single step in improving the 63-acre north end of the campus, which he said is called the campus’ Habitat Area.

He said the college obtained a grant two years ago to remove non-native plants, and that effort left the area looking somewhat ravaged.

“Today is the first step in a restoration project,” he said. “It will look very good 10 years from now, and those people who are around 50 years from now will be able to see the fruits of our labors.”


February 8, 2010 at 1:04 pm Leave a comment

Clearwater’s mayor says area needs a regional rail system

The Tampa Bay area needs some sort of rail transportation system if it is to serve residents and attract new business, Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard told a group of students and others Thursday at the Clearwater Campus of St. Petersburg College.

Hibbard serves on the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority, a regional group that is working on plans for a regional rail transportation system.

A regional rail service would employ a “spine-and-rib” design, feeding riders from more far-flung areas to the rail stations by buses. The finished rail service would ease pressure on the region’s highway system, could tie in to a proposed Tampa-to-Orlando high speed rail service, and would be a major asset in attracting new business to the region, Hibbard said.

“We need it to attract jobs to this region – companies look for mass transit,” Hibbard said. “We are one of two top areas in the country that don’t have mass transit. Detroit is the other one.”

High-speed rail service, much discussed over the years in Florida, got a shot in the arm recently when President Obama visited the state to announce his administration’s Stimulus package would fund a high-speed rail system between Tampa Bay and Orlando.

Hibbard said that while the high-speed intercity system is important and desirable, it neither strengthens nor weakens the argument for a regional rail system. Such a system is needed, he said, whether it ties into a high-speed rail system or not.

“I support mass transit because I want an alterative to the automobile,” he said.

Hibbard said he had traveled to Japan to look at the rail systems of that country, and found them to be highly efficient. The trains in Japan, he said, “arrive within seconds of when they say they will arrive.”

Hibbard acknowledged the high cost of a regional rail system – anywhere between $40 million and $65 million per mile. But he pointed out that highway construction costs are also high; the complex new interchange near the Tampa Airport, he said, cost about three-quarters of a billion dollars. Maintenance costs for rail systems are lower than maintenance costs for highways.

About half of a new regional rail system could be paid for by the federal government, he said, and the local share might be funded by a one-cent increase in the sales tax. A significant portion of local sales taxes, he said, are paid through purchases made by tourists.

An increase in the regional sales tax might cost local residents around $143 per household, but residents could realize significant savings that could offset the higher cost and more, he said.

“What if you could do away with a second car?” Hibbard asked. “Everywhere rail has been initiated, ridership has exceeded what was anticipated.”

Hibbard’s presentation was sponsored by Clearwater Matters, an ongoing forum that examines various issues of interest to Clearwater residents. Clearwater Matters was founded by faculty and administrators at the Clearwater campus.

Audience members were encouraged to ask questions of Hibbard via their smart phones – questions were texted to him via Twitter or Facebook.


February 8, 2010 at 1:01 pm Leave a comment

Go Green on Super Bowl Sunday

The Issue

Environmentally Un-friendly Super Bowl parties!

The Larger Issue

  • A typical party of thirty guests can create 80 pounds of waste!

Be Part of the Solution

How can I entertain in an environmentally friendly way?

  • Watch the big game on Energy Star certified TV’s, or better yet, listen to it on the radio, or better yet, wait until the next day to ask someone who won (Just Kidding)!
  • Instead of sending out paper invitations, send electronic invitations from a site like!
  • Bake your own snacks and desserts with organic, locally grown ingredients and extra love!
  • Instead of using streamers and balloons, decorate with small plants.  You can give the plants away as parting gifts at the end of the party.
  • Buy organic beer, or if the part is really big, rent a keg to decrease glass bottle and aluminum can waste!
  • Instead of buying bottled water, use a filtered water pitcher!
  • Use real plates, silverware and cloth napkins and stay away from disposable paper plates and utensils and napkins.  If you must use disposable plates, buy plates that are biodegradable, in fact, some disposable plates are made from corn, potato and sugar-cane pulp!
  • Provide recycling bins for glass bottles, cans and plastic.
  • Use environmentally friendly cleaning products and cloths rags to clean up after the party.

To learn more about sustainability at St. Petersburg College, contact Jason Green at  Then visit, join the facebook group and follow us at


February 2, 2010 at 5:15 pm Leave a comment

Clearwater Mayor to speak at SPC on mass transit

highspeedrailAs part of a new civic forum, “Clearwater Matters”, SPC has invited Clearwater Mayor, Frank Hibbard, to speak at the SPC Clearwater campus Fine Arts Auditorium on transit issues.  After his presentation, there will be a question and answer period.

Discussion of the mass transit issue has even greater consequence since President Obama announced last week that Florida would be the recipient of more than a billion dollars in federal funds to support the construction of a high speed rail line from Tampa to Orlando.  Mass transit is a complicated issue, and one which has enormous long-term implications for the Tampa Bay Region and St. Petersburg College.

Please attend this important presentation.

The event will be on Thursday, February 4 at 11 am. The SPC Clearwater Fine Arts Auditorium is located at: 2465 Drew Street, Clearwater Parking on all SPC campuses is free and does not require a parking pass.  For directions or a campus map, visit

See you there!

To learn more about sustainability at St. Petersburg College, contact Jason Green at Then visit, join the Facebook group and follow us at


February 2, 2010 at 5:11 pm Leave a comment

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

sustainable | SPC