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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Extension Launches New UF/IFAS Blog

The University of Florida/IFAS Extension has developed a new blog that will provide information through our on-line newsletters. In the next week, we will be launching the new site which will provide the same selection of topics for your use, plus the Extension Timely Topics. Extension Agents in Pinellas County strive to bring you the most up-to-date science on topics important to you.

Pinellas County Extension offers several newsletters in a blog format: Timely Topics, Thinking Green, Planting Pinellas, 4-H Youth Development Blog and Commercial Connection. You can sign up for blogs on the new site and access all the previous articles. If you have been receiving Extension newsletters, there should be no interruption and you will receive a notification through e-mail. Extension is the doorway to the University of Florida and provides practical education you can trust, to help people, businesses and communities solve problems, develop skills and build a better future.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

4-H welcomes fall with fresh, flavorful apples and pecans

The annual 4-H apple and pecan sale sponsored by the Pinellas County 4-H Association is now in full swing. This sale is the main fundraiser for the 4-H Association. Each year, the Pinellas County 4-H Association awards $6,000 in grants for 4-H camps and trips, 4-H Legislature, 4-H Congress and, most recently, college scholarships.

This year, the sale is featuring Yellow Delicious and Empire apples. Both varieties are excellent for baking, cooking or just eating. The apples are priced $44 for a 40-pound bushel, or $24 for a half-bushel. Pecans, halves or pieces are available in 1-pound bags. Specialty milk and dark chocolate-covered pecans are offered in 12-ounce decorative bags. All bags are $11 each.

Any 4-H member can take your prepaid order, or orders can be placed through the 4-H Association website at Orders must be placed by Tuesday, Oct. 1. Orders can be picked up from Thursday, Oct. 31 to Saturday, Saturday, Nov. 2 at the Chester Ochs 4-H Educational Center, 14644 113th Ave.N. in Largo.

Monday, August 19, 2013

It’s Rain Barrel Time Again!

We are often asked, when are you having another rain barrel class? Well, here's your chance! Join our new Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Extension Agent, Brian Niemann, at Weedon Island for this Rainwater Harvesting Workshop on August 31st at 10am.

Register online at

Extension programs are open to all persons without regard to race, color, sex, age, disability, religion or national origin.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Florida’s Threatened and Endangered Animals

Lara Miller, 
Natural Resources Agent

You may often hear the words “threatened” or “endangered” when naturalists are talking about a particular species. You might even hear “species of special concern” or folks arguing whether it is Federally-listed or State-listed. The good news is, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has an updated report (October, 2012) to help clear up any confusion.

FWC is the agency responsible for maintaining the State list of animals. The status of these animals can be classified as Federally-designated Endangered, Federally-designated Threatened, State-designated Threatened or State-designated Species of Special Concern. As of November 2010, all Federally-listed species found in Florida are also included on Florida’s list as one of the Federally-designated assignments above. Species which are not Federally-listed, but are at risk of extinction in Florida are classified on the State list as State-designated Threatened.

All species with a State-designation were recently processed through biological status reviews. These reviews allow FWC to make decisions on the status of the species. Official status changes cannot be made until an updated management plan is approved for the species. In an effort to build consistency among the Federally-listed and State-listed species, the category of State-designated Species of Special Concern will eventually be eliminated. Once current management plans are revised, a decision will be made as to whether the species (currently listed as State-designated Species of Special Concern) will be modified to State-designated Threatened or removed from the list.

Other Federal agencies share the in authority to list species as endangered and threatened. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration-National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA-NMFS) assists with the listing of the majority of marine species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is the one responsible for administering the Federal list.

For a complete list of the listed animals from FWC, click here.

FWC is currently asking for public input on an Imperiled Species Management Plan for conserving 60 species on Florida’s Engendered and Threatened Species list. Show your environmental stewardship by getting involved and remember…

You can stay up to date on news and information affecting our environment by following your Pinellas County Natural Resource Extension Agent on Twitter or Facebook.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Dive into a Popular Florida Pastime!

Libby Carnahan, 
Pinellas County Sea Grant Extension Agent

A visit to Florida’s Nature Coast is like a step back in time to a Florida before high rise buildings, cell phones, and jam packed schedules. Recreational Scallop Season is a great reason for Tampa Bay residents to grab friends and family and head north. At one time scallops ranged abundantly across the state, from Palm Beach on the east coast to Pensacola on the west coast. Today, however, healthy populations can only be found in selected locations along the Gulf coast. The most popular destinations for recreational scallopers are Steinhatchee, Crystal River and Homosassa. The Florida bay scallop, a bivalve mollusk, grows and lives in the shallow (4 to 10 feet deep) seagrass beds that are common to these areas.

Recreational scallop season is open from June 29th-September 24th, 2013. Recreational scallopers between the ages of 16 and 65 must have a current Florida saltwater fishing license to collect scallops. Harvesting is allowed from the west bank of the Mexico Beach Canal (in Bay County) to the Pasco-Hernando county line (near Aripeka). The bag limit is 2 gallons of whole scallops (in the shell), or 1 pint of scallop meat per person per day. In addition, no more than 10 gallons of whole scallops or 1/2 gallon of scallop meat may be possessed aboard any vessel at any time. You may harvest scallops only by hand or with a landing or dip net. Scallopers must remain in the legal scalloping area while in possession of scallops on the water, including the point where they return to land.

Be sure to follow safe snorkeling and boating procedures. When snorkeling from a boat, regulations require a dive flag displayed on your boat. When snorkeling from shore, you must keep a floating dive flag with you . Boaters should recognize your dive flag and its meaning, however always err on the side of caution and pay close attention to boat traffic in your vicinity. A full list of boating regulations can be found on the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission website. Always monitor local weather and tides and be prepared for unexpected summer storms.

For more information, visit the Florida Sea Grant website. To see more scallop photos and to follow up to date marine and coastal news visit the UF IFAS Pinellas County Sea Grant Extension Facebook Page.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Be a Green Business Partner

Mary Campbell, 
Extension Director

Becoming a more environmentally- friendly business is a choice that can reap big rewards. Green Business practices can help save money, attract customers, enhance your reputation and help make a business more efficient. A company policy of environmental stewardship or mission that includes sustainable practices will help create the vision. There are three main areas where a business can become more green and sustainable:
  • Improve energy efficiency and water conservation
  • Changes in work practices 
  • Recycling and waste reduction

Improve Energy Efficiency and Water conservation
There are simple ways to conserve energy and water plus save money at the same time. Implement staff guidelines for turning off computers, peripherals, as well as office and meeting room lights. Water conservation in outdoor landscapes can save thousands of gallons of water each year (see Florida Yards and Neighborhoods ).

Changes in Work Practices
To become a green business, employees need to be a part of the practice changes that will make it successful. Creating a green committee that promotes these new practices will be a good start, as well as educational programs for staff. Discussing green purchasing practices, recycling, energy conservation, double- sided copying, reduction of paper use through electronic sharing and other practices will get the team started. Start small and build on these practice changes gradually until they become habits. Develop a staff pledge program and rewards around the new practices.

Recycling and Waste Reduction
Reducing waste in an office can make a positive impact on the bottom line. Get a waste assessment to determine strategies and options from Pinellas County Utilities Solid Waste.

Develop an Action Plan

  1. Evaluate environmental programs that fit well with your vision and mission. 
  2. Communicate your environmental initiatives to customers and staff. 
  3. Report successes and get feedback.

Join Pinellas County Green Business Partnership

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

2013 Energy Symposium hosted by Pinellas Energy Efficiency Project

This FREE 3 hour symposium will feature a keynote address by Dr. Jennifer Languell, award-winning green building engineer with 15 years experience. 
Expert panel discussions will focus on water and energy efficiencies and improvements inside and outside the home.  From irrigation to PV panels, appliances to native plants, you'll get information first-hand from Duke Energy, Florida Yards and Neighborhoods, Tampa Bay Water, and much more!
Each registered participant will receive an insulated tote bag with manual powered LED flashlight, solar calculator, and educational information from UF/IFAS and our partners.
Please arrive early for check-in.  Refreshments will be provided.
Saturday September 14, 9a.m.–Noon. Pinellas County Extension, 12520 Ulmerton Rd., Largo
Seating is limited and pre-registration is required at

Call 727-582-2097 for more information.
Extension programs are open to all persons without regard to race, color, sex, age. Disability, religion or national origin.