Ask Extension

Recent Articles


Friday, May 14, 2010

Training and Volunteer Opportunities in Florida for the Gulf Oil Spill

By: Heather Hammers, Marine/Coastal Sustainability Agent

As the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico unfolds over the next few weeks, the need for appropriate support from citizens is expected to increase. Many are concerned about the potential damage to sensitive marine areas and associated marine life.

Although oil has not yet come ashore in Florida, oil is a hazardous material that requires specialized handling. Assisting injured animals may seem like a great idea; however, in disasters what seems helpful can be harmful and even dangerous. Individuals and organizations that wish to participate in a potential cleanup will be required to obtain hazardous material training. This training is specifically for contractors, veterinarians, and wildlife paraprofessionals doing work at staging areas. BP has contracted with PEC Premier to provide this training.

How Volunteers Can Help
Volunteers will not be allowed to handle contaminated materials or wildlife. However, volunteers can support the oil cleanup effort through a number of activities, including:

Florida’s Coast Watch Program

Volunteer Florida

Tampa Bay Watch

BP Oil Response Training Module 1 -- basic oil spill education and training for individuals who will never come in contact with spilled oil. This training is particularly suited for volunteers who can help with beach cleanup in anticipation of a spill reaching land.

•If you want to volunteer to help wildlife affected by oil spill affected by oil spill go to and fill out their volunteer registration form. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service also has a toll-free number for volunteers to help save wildlife affected by the oil spill may sign up by calling 1-866-448-5816.

Report an Oil Sighting

• Report Oil Shoreline -- 1-866-448-5816
• Report Oiled Wildlife-- 1-866-557-1401 -- leave a message. Messages will be checked hourly. Be prepared to provide information on the location of the animal sighted.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Be a PEEPer!

The Pinellas Energy Efficiency Project kicked-off on April 24th with a dozen citizens receiving energy-saving light bulbs and information on how to save energy and money in the home. Our next class will be held at Largo Library on Saturday, May 22nd from 10:30-11:30 a.m.. All of the classes are free and are offered as part of the US Department of Energy’s $3.5 million Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant awarded to Pinellas County late last year. Pinellas County Extension’s application included money to provide education and energy-saving materials to the community at-large.

We are excited to bring the citizens of Pinellas County the tools they need to make significant energy savings in their homes. We have especially been targeting those citizens who would not have ready-access to energy saving information and equipment. The goals of this project include:

  • Providing information and equipment to Pinellas County citizens to help reduce energy consumption in the home.

  • Promoting a significant and quantifiable reduction in energy consumption in Pinellas County.

  • Facilitating a significant and quantifiable reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in Pinellas County.

Participants in this class will become part of a larger project, and will be contacted no more than three times to track the energy-saving measures they have taken.

Click here to register for this class. Remember that space is limited and registration closes 24 hours prior to class.

We hope to see you on May 22nd!