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Saturday, February 26, 2011

March into Class!

Pinellas County Extension offers residents a wide variety of classes to help them make sustainable decisions. Be sure to check out our classes at Brooker Creek Preserve, Weedon Island Preserve, and online.

Brooker Creek:
March 5, 2011 - Guided Hike
March 5, 2011 - Pinellas Energy Efficiency Project
March 10, 2011 - Book-Time at Brooker
March 12, 2011 - Guided Hike
March 12, 2011 - Rain Harvesting
March 12, 2011 - Discovering Nature with Your Child
March 19, 2011 - Guided Hike
March 24, 2011 - Book-Time at Brooker
March 26, 2011 - Extended Guided Hike- Winter Wonders
March 26, 2011 - Butterfly Gardening 101

Commercial (Pesticide/FNGLA/ISA) CEUs:
March 7, 2011, 9:00 am - Spanish Lawn/Landscape Maintenance BMPs
March 7, 2011, 2:00 pm - Spanish Lawn/Landscape Maintenance BMPs
March 14, 2011, 9:00 pm - Lawn/Landscape Maintenance BMPs
March 14, 2011, 2:00 pm - Lawn/Landscape Maintenance BMPs
March 17, 2011 - CEU Variety Pack. Take one or take them all!
March 23, 2011 - Roundup License Training – LCLM & LLO Review

Extension Programs:
March 2, 2011 - Restoring Nature”s Balance
March 6, 2011 - Bird & Wildlife Walk
March 10, 2011, 2:00 pm - Repotting Orchids
March 10, 2011, 6:15 pm - Repotting Orchids
March 15, 2011 - Your Carbon Footprint
March 15, 2011 - Pinellas Energy Efficiency Project
March 22, 2011 - Pinellas Energy Efficiency Project
March 22, 2011 - Landscaping for Upland Wildlife Walk
March 23, 2011 - Water Conservation

Solutions in 30:
March 2, 2011 - Low-Cost, No-Cost Ways to Lower Your Power Bill
March 9, 2011 - Green Office Practices
March 16, 2011 - Everyday Money Lessons to Teach Your Children
March 30, 2011 - Green Spaces

Weedon Island:
March 5, 2011 - Guided Hike
March 10, 2011 - Wee-Time at Weedon: Night Fliers
March 11, 2011 - Great Weedon Bird Quest
March 12, 2011 - Guided Hike
March 12, 2011 - People”s Use of Plants Through Time
March 12, 2011 - Celebrate Florida Archaeology 2001
March 12, 2011 - Life & Lunch in a 9th Century Indian Village
March 17, 2011 - Sustainable Floridians Open Orientation
March 17, 2011 - Plant Usage By Prehistoric Floridians
March 19, 2011 - Photography Hike
March 19, 2011 - Guided Hike
March 19, 2011 - Pinellas Energy Efficiency Project
March 24, 2011 - Wee-Time at Weedon: Ten Little Rabbits
March 26, 2011 - Guided Hike

You can register for classes online at

Friday, February 25, 2011

2011 Clearwater Greenprint Open House

What if each of us joined the City of Clearwater by saving energy in our homes and businesses? Replacing a worn out appliance with a more efficient one. Combining car trips to reduce miles driven. Planting a kitchen garden. Using energy saving light bulbs. Could we help ensure a future that is green, vibrant and competitive?

A community project is happening right now that explores ways we can all be involved in creating a sustainable community. Join us March 1st from 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm at the Ross Norton Recreation Complex (1426 S Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., Clearwater)to learn more and share your ideas.

There will be educational exhibits, electric and natural gas car displays, door prizes, give aways, and a raffle for a Pinellas Energy Efficiency Kit.

Can't wait to see you there!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Have no fear; ECO-MAN is Here

By Guest Blogger: Jason Green, SPC Sustainability Coordinator

To further their mission of incorporating sustainable values and practices into the global culture of St. Petersburg College and that of its stakeholders, the SPC Office for Sustainability has released the first in a series of entertaining, environmentally focused short films.

Each three minute serialized film focuses on Eco-Man, whose alter ego is that of mild-mannered SPC instructional technologist, Alan Shapiro. Episode One of “The Adventures of Eco-Man” focuses on energy savings, and spotlights simple steps individuals can take to conserve energy in the work place.

The role of environmental superhero isn’t new to Shapiro. In fact, in the early 1990’s Shapiro created Captain Recycle, Boca Ciega High School’s masked marvel of all things green and recyclable. “I was a science teacher at the time, and the state of Florida had just passed a law requiring communities to recycle a certain percentage of their waste,” Shapiro recalled. “I wanted to get a recycling center started at the school, so I started a club we called Eco-Action.” The club gathered and recycled aluminum cans, paper, cardboard and Styrofoam. The effort was so successful that the recycling center at Bocas Ciega became the most productive such center in the entire St. Petersburg system.

Shapiro left Captain Recycle’s cape behind when he left Boca Ciega in the mid-1990’s. Because environmental issues continue to become more mainstream, and through the encouragement of Jason Green, SPC’s Sustainability Coordinator (and former student), Shapiro has reprised his role as masked doer of environmental good, this time as Eco-Man.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Top 10 Energy-Saving Tips for Laundry Day

By Guest Blogger: Suzanne Grant, APR, Florida Power Spokesperson/Lead Communications Specialist

The average household does about 400 loads of laundry a year. This common chore provides a good opportunity to use energy more wisely to save on monthly electric bills. The electric cost of each load of laundry is about 66 to 87 cents, depending on the cycle, adding up to hundreds of dollars in energy costs each year.

“Washing and drying laundry uses more electricity than you may think. Not only are you running the machines, many times you are also using warm or hot water, which is typically heated using electricity in Florida,” says Progress Energy Florida efficiency expert Malcolm Barnes, manager of field operations for Demand Side Management. “Simple changes to the way you do laundry can add up to significant savings over time.”

Progress Energy Florida has 10 simple tips that can help you save electricity and money on wash day:

1.Do full loads. Only wash full loads to maximize the efficiency of your machine. But, be careful not of overload the machine, which can make it harder to get clothes clean.

2.Use cold water. Most of the energy used in washing machines is to heat water. Switch to cold water wash cycles with compatible detergent and you can save up to 50 cents per load.

3.Reset the water heater. Set your water heater to 120 degrees instead of 140 and you could save up to $85 a year in energy costs for all your water heating needs, not just on laundry day.

4.Clean the lint filter. A clogged filter can dramatically reduce a dryer’s efficiency. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that if you clean the lint trap with every load you can save up to $34 each year.

5.Use the energy-saving settings on both the washer and dryer. For example, a faster spin in the washer will reduce how long the clothes will need to be in the dryer. In the dryer, use a cycle that includes a cool-down period, sometimes known as a "permanent-press" cycle. In the last few minutes of this cycle, cool air, not heated air, is blown through the clothes completing the drying process with less electricity and saving you money.

6.Don’t over dry clothes. Dry loads of similar fabrics together so the entire load dries just as the cycle ends. A dryer operating an extra 15 minutes on each load to dry that one bulky towel mixed in with lightweight shirts can waste more than $30 of electricity a year. And, over drying causes additional wear and tear on your garments.

7.Do at least two loads. Dry two or more loads in a row to take advantage of the retained heat in the dryer.

8.Consider a clothesline or drying rack. Drying clothes outside on a line or inside on a drying rack saves about 40 cents per load. That savings can add up to $160 a year for an average household. Plus, line-dried clothes receive less wear and tear and will be static free without the use of dryer sheets – resulting in more savings. And, Florida is one of a handful of states where homeowner associations cannot ban the use of clotheslines.

9.Put it off. Consider using items more than once before throwing them into the laundry basket. Jeans, towels and sweaters can often skip a wash, cutting down on the overall amount of laundry.

10.Buy efficient machines, when replacing. Look for ENERGY STAR – certified, high-efficiency washing machines when it is time to replace your unit. These models cut related energy costs by about a third and water costs by more than half. Replacing a 10-year-old washer with a new, ENERGY STAR-qualified model can save up to $135 each year on your utility bills. A dryer is typically the second-biggest electricity-using appliance after the refrigerator, costing about $85 to operate annually. Unlike most other types of appliances, clothes dryers don't vary much in the amount of energy used and are not required to display EnergyGuide labels or listed in the ENERGY STAR database. When shopping for a new dryer, look for energy-saving features such as a moisture sensor that automatically shuts off the dryer when your clothes are dry. Moisture sensors can cut a dryer’s energy use by about 15 percent. A temperature sensor is another feature that can help reduce drying time and cut energy use by up to 10 percent.

Progress Energy Florida, a subsidiary of Progress Energy (NYSE: PGN), provides electricity and related services to more than 1.6 million customers in Florida. The company is headquartered in St. Petersburg, Fla., and serves a territory encompassing more than 20,000 square miles, including the cities of St. Petersburg and Clearwater, as well as the Central Florida area surrounding Orlando. Progress Energy Florida is pursuing a balanced approach to meeting the future energy needs of the region. That balance includes increased energy-efficiency programs, investments in renewable energy technologies and a state-of-the-art electricity system.

Follow Progress Energy on Twitter.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Did You Make the Pledge?

This year Pinellas County Extension would like to encourage everyone to buy local fruits and vegetables.

Purchasing locally grown (Florida) fruits and vegetables is better for the environment and better for your pocket book. They can charge much less for produce that doesn't have to get on a boat or a plane.

So check the label on your fruits and vegetables and see where are grown before you buy them and purchase the local choice when available. This may mean not having some of your favorites, but it also means you can try new things and know that you are supporting local food systems and the local economy.

Pledge today to go to a local farmer’s market at least once a month and buy local produce.

We will be contacting you through the year to see how you are doing on your commitment.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Resilient Tampa Bay 2011

Resilient Tampa Bay 2011 is an exciting opportunity for Tampa Bay professionals and residents to exchange ideas with professionals from The Netherlands in developing resiliency plans for the Tampa Bay region. The three-day workshop will focus on creating a vibrant and sustainable region by preparing for events such as hurricanes and flooding, while also incorporating long-term adaptation to impacts like sea level rise.

Workshop participants will develop recommendations for:

- protecting vital infrastructure and transportation;
- preparing for storm surge and sea level rise;
- improving economic development;
- reducing inland flooding;
- preserving natural habitats and Gulf beaches;
- avoiding and planning for accidents or spill recovery; and
- minimizing impacts from hurricanes and other natural disasters.

The organizers have identified three goals for the workshop:

1. Promote greater understanding of the vulnerability of Tampa Bay to three water threats (flooding from precipitation, storm surges and sea level rise).
2. Recommend flood control practices within a framework of integral water and land management including the Dutch concept of "living with water."
3. Develop concrete recommendations for improving water resiliency for the Tampa Bay region using input from local and Dutch experts.

Resilient Tampa Bay is free and open to the public but attendees must RSVP with Bessie Skoures.

Conference Brochure
Background Material
Sponsorship Opportunities

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

2011 Florida Renewable Energy Tour - Tampa Town Hall at The Florida Aquarium

The Florida Alliance for Renewable Energy (FARE) is excited to announce the 2011 Renewable Energy Tour! This tour will travel through cities across the state, reaching an audience of over 2000 individuals and businesses. The tour will be your very best opportunity to learn about renewable energy policy, interact with your elected officials and be part of the sweeping grassroots movement that will bring Florida in to the renewable energy future. I am contacting you to cordially invite you to the Tampa Bay Town Hall event. This will take place at the Florida Aquarium on Saturday February 19th.

Spaces are limited. Register today.

For more information visit:

Tour Flyer