Archive for August, 2010

Undeveloped Seminole site is very much alive; park now open

In a small corner of Seminole, in the middle of Florida’s most heavily developed county, a tract of nearly-forgotten land plays host to a wide variety of Florida plants and animals.

The land, only about 40 acres in all, is owned by the college. It is the undeveloped half of a tract that the college acquired in 1969; the other half is home to the Seminole Campus.

For years, the college has had ambitions to turn the land into a nature park, where students could observe the environment first-hand, and where Seminole residents could enjoy nature. Those ambitions became reality this year, when non-native plants (28 species in all) were removed from the site and construction began on a boardwalk, a 50-seat teaching pavilion and a floating dock (for use in water sampling) on the largest pond on the property.

The nature park opened Tuesday. College officials knew there was plenty of wildlife on the site, which includes several ponds and wetlands as well as all sorts of plant life. But few people realized just how many species lived together in such close proximity on that small, suburban area.

“We knew that site was a true asset to both the college and the community,” said Jim Olliver, Seminole’s provost. “But I don’t think anyone really knew just how alive that 40 acres was.”

One person who was not surprised was Seminole resident Judy Fisher, an environmentalist who has spent many hours at the site, identifying plant and animal species of all types. Fisher’s research found rabbits, otters, opossums, raccoons, armadillos, coyotes and feral pigs; nearly 200 bird species; 24 species of dragonflies; 24 species of frogs, turtles, snakes and alligators; and seven species of butterflies.

Common plants include slash pines, wax myrtle shrubs and sweetgum trees. Some others include sand live oak trees, red bay trees, grape vines and giant leather ferns.

The recently completed boardwalk, nearly 200 yards long, offers a number of stations, which give visitors the opportunity to observe the site’s plants and animals. On one recent visit, a curious otter bounded up the boardwalk’s entryway and stopped to observe a human visitor before running off to a nearby pond.

The park and pavilion will support various SPC curricula (mostly in the sciences and especially for the Environmental Science Technology, and Parks and Leisure Services programs), and will offer recreation opportunities for the community. The Natural Habitat and Environmental Center will be open Monday through Friday from dawn to dusk; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.

To learn more about sustainability at St. Petersburg College, contact Jason Green at green.jason@spcollege.edu.  Then visit http://www.spcollege.edu/sustainability, join the facebook group and follow us at http://twitter.com/sustainableSPC.

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August 31, 2010 at 3:19 pm Leave a comment

Amendment 4 (Hometown Democracy) roundtable debate at SPC

Amendment 4, a topic affecting all Floridians is up for vote this November. The citizens have a huge stake in growth decisions that will influence our community’s future.

St. Petersburg College‘s Clearwater Campus (2465 Drew Street, Clearwater, Florida) will host an Amendment 4 round-table debate in the Fine Arts Auditorium, Monday, September 20, 2010 beginning at 11:15am.

When you visit the ballot box you need to be accurately informed and educated on both sides of the issue.

During the first half of this round-table presentation, presenters from both sides of the issue will present their case. The second half will be dedicated to audience question and answer.

For some background, please read the following in advance of the discussion.

HOMETOWN DEMOCRACY (pro-Amendment 4):
Supported by the Sierra Club of Florida

Each community has adopted its own comprehensive plan: a long-term master plan for sensible growth. Currently, elected city and county commissioners have exclusive power to make changes to the plan. They believe rising taxes, falling home values, gridlocked roads, dwindling water supplies and Florida’s disappearing beauty are just some of the devastating consequences of Florida politicians’ habit of rubber-stamping speculative plan changes.

If Amendment 4 passes, they believe all that will change by allowing voters veto power over the modification to your community’s master plan for growth.

CITIZENS FOR LOWER TAXES AND A STRONGER ECONOMY (anti-Amendment 4):
Supported by Florida Chamber of Commerce

Amendment 4 would impose a referendum requirement on all local comprehensive plan changes. They believe this subverts a well-established, open, accessible, and democratic planning process. With the Vote on Everything amendment, many Florida voters, not the representatives they elected, will be expected to decide 200 to 300 technical land-use planning amendments every year.

If Amendment 4 passes, they believe it will result in the disruption of local communities, disorder further disenfranchising Florida’s already-fatigued electorate, and astronomical costs, resulting in a system that is far worse, not better.

Come to SPC’s Clearwater Campus Monday, September 20, 2010, 11:15am to decide for yourself.

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August 31, 2010 at 2:24 pm Leave a comment

Now’s the time to take a permaculture course

Permaculture Series Part 1
Intro to Permaculture Class- Saturday, September 18, 1-3pm

Permaculture is a method of organic gardening that encourages working with the local environment to create a truly sustainable garden. By implementing biosystems, permaculture gardens provide for their own needs and recycle their own waste. Planting species work with the surrounding ecosystem to produce high yields and help neighboring plants thrive – without the use of chemical fertilizers since the soil will nourish itself.

Permaculturist Robert Segundo will teach sustainable practices and their implementation in the Florida Landscape, with a focus on Florida micro-climates and the challenges of growing in Pinellas County. The course will take place on Saturday, September 18 from 1-3pm. Course fee is $35 per person or $100 for a four-course series, couple fee is $60 or $160 for the four-course series and students pay just $20 per course or $75 for four-part series. A portion of the proceeds benefit Boyd Hill Nature Preserve. For further information or a class schedule, visit www.FireofHope.org or 727-793-5766.

Location:Boyd Hill Nature Preserve (Lake Maggiore Environmental Education Center)
1101 Country Club Way South
St. Petersburg, FL 33705

Time – 1pm to 3:00pm

Cost – $35 per person course/$100 for 4-part series

Students $20 per course/$75 for 4-part series

Couples $60 per course/$160 for 4-part series

Permaculture Series Part 2

Gardening for Florida – Saturday, September 25, 1-3pm

Gardening in Florida has its challenges. Permaculturalist, Robert Segundo addresses these issues and offers solutions at Boyd Hill Nature Preserve during a two-hour course on homestead gardening, and the challenges of gardening in Florida. Seasoned and aspiring organic gardeners can learn to plan and plant their own in home garden. This one-of-a-kind provides resources and tips for effective gardening in this unique landscape. Organic gardening saves resources, provide food, reduce environmental stress from the agricultural industry, and keep communities together.

The course will take place on Saturday, September 25, 1-3pm. Course fee is $35 per person, students fee, $20 per student and $60 per couple. A portion of the proceeds benefit Boyd Hill Nature Preserve. For further information or a class schedule, visit www.FireofHope.org or 727-793-5766.

Location: Boyd Hill Nature Preserve (Lake Maggiore Environmental Education Center)
1101 Country Club Way South
St. Petersburg, FL 33705

Time – 1pm to 3:00pm

Cost – $35 per person

Students $20

Couples $60

Permaculture Series Part 3

Companion Planting and Natural Pest Control—October 2, 1-3pm

Overcome challenges of organic gardening in Florida. Join Certified Permculturist, Robert Segundo at Boyd Hill Nature Preserve for unique, two-hour course on successful planting and natural pest control. Attendees will receive expert guidance on companion plants that will attract pollinators and to deter harmful bugs. Utilizing natural methods to handle unwanted bugs without the use of chemical pesticides. The course will take place on Saturday, October 2, from 1-3pm. Course fee is $35 per person, student fee $20 per course, $60 per couple. A portion of the proceeds benefit Boyd Hill Nature Preserve. For further information or a class schedule, visit www.FireofHope.org or 727-793-5766.

Location: Boyd Hill Nature Preserve (Lake Maggiore Environmental Education Center)
1101 Country Club Way South
St. Petersburg, FL 33705

Time – 1pm to 3:00pm

Cost – $35 per person

Students $20

Couples $60

Permaculture Series Part 4

Proper Composting; Composting in Florida-Saturday, October 9, 1-3pm

Start your food forest, raised beds, or basic garden with organic nutrients. Composting helps to create a strong foundation in which your plants will flourish. Permaculturalist, Robert Segundo dispels composting myths and presents a variety of composting options for the Florida landscape. Attendees will learn proper composting methods for quality and safety. Composting is an integral part in remediation of waste and reusing of vital nutrients.

Topics to include: proper composting, composting manure and meat, creating a home compost, troubleshooting and the future of composting.

The course will take place on Saturday, October 9, from 1-3pm. Course fee is $35 per person. Student fee $20 per course and $60 per couple. A portion of the proceeds benefit Boyd Hill Nature Preserve. For further information or a class schedule, visit www.FireofHope.org or 727-793-5766.

Location:Boyd Hill Nature Preserve (Lake Maggiore Environmental Education Center)
1101 Country Club Way South
St. Petersburg, FL 33705

Time – 1pm to 3:00pm

Cost – $35 per person

Students $20

Couples $60

August 24, 2010 at 12:55 pm 1 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 green.jason@spcollege.edu

sustainable | SPC