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Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Monday, April 2, 2012     
10:00 am to noon

Seminole Community Library Program Room
9200 113th St. N.
Seminole, Florida 33722

TOPIC: Pinellas County Extension Sustainable Floridians


Ramona Madhosingh-Hector
Regional Specialized Agent
Urban Sustainability
Pinellas County Extension
University of Florida / IFAS
Bob Huttick
Recently trained in Sustainable Floridians program

MaryAnn Kirk
Recently trained in Sustainable Floridians program

There will be a fascinating Power Point presentation given at this exciting program.

You will have a chance to ask questions. Invite your neighbors to attend this special Discussion Group meeting!

For additional information and to RSVP: Contact Mary,

Monday, March 26, 2012

Pinellas County Extension Shines a Light on Energy Consumption

Saturday March 31 at Clearwater Public Library, East Branch

Through its Pinellas Energy Efficiency Project, Pinellas County Extension is promoting a new gadget that aims to get citizens more energy conscious and eco-friendly.

The Kill-A-Watt™ Energy Monitor is a simple tool used to see how much energy the devices in a home are actually using, whether they are on or off. Users simply plug the monitor into an outlet, plug an appliance into the monitor, follow The Kill-A-Watt’s™ instructions and watch it work. The monitor measures various aspects of electrical consumption, from voltage of an outlet to watts and kilowatt hours. Users can find out exactly how much energy and money is being consumed by most of their household electronics.

Pinellas County Extension and the Pinellas Public Library Cooperative have come together to make these Kill-A-Watt™ monitors available for check-out at their libraries to make the assessment of personal energy consumption even easier.

Extension specialists will also be holding upcoming classes at select libraries to further explain how the monitors work and to give easy tips to make a home more energy efficient in their effort to decrease electric bills and increase environmental friendliness.

On Saturday March 31st we will be hosting a class at the Clearwater Public Library, East Branch. Click here for a map to the library. Participants of the class will receive handouts and worksheets from the University of Florida and take part in an interactive presentation. Door prizes will be awarded.

Sign up today to participate in this class. Visit and click on the 31st on the calendar on the front page. Registration is free and easy.

See you on the 31st!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Get Ready Tampa Bay!

Mary Campbell
Extension Director and Urban Sustainability Agent

The Tampa Bay region is preparing for electric vehicles. Get Ready Tampa Bay is a regional collaboration with interested groups to prepare Tampa Bay for the roll-out of electric vehicles (EV). No new idea or technology is ever really simple or easy to launch. Electric cars have been around a long time and were first developed along with gasoline powered vehicles in the 1800’s. Electric vehicles did not have the speed or range of gas powered vehicles and developing the new batteries has been a challenge. With new technology and a few bright ideas, EV has come a long way since the 1800’s.

Electric vehicles are an option for improving air quality and reducing dependence on imported oil. Sailing past the gas station may sound like a great idea. Electricity is produced in the U.S. as opposed to gasoline imported by tanker or pipeline and it is less affected by the volatile world oil market. Electric vehicles run clean and produce no air-polluting emissions.

The infrastructure needed to support plug-in vehicles is beginning to pop up. Charging stations will need to become as conveniently located as gas stations are now. The national Project Get Ready is a non-profit initiative led by the Rocky Mountain Institute with a wide array of partners to help cities develop infrastructure for plug-in vehicles. Motorists will have the option to drive clean, quiet-running automobiles, get great mileage and top off the charge with a local charging station. Drivers can locate stations in the Tampa Bay area and beyond at Charge Point America.

Get Ready Tampa Bay
Florida Energy Systems Consortium-Batteries for Automobiles (pdf)
EPA Electric Vehicles Fact sheet
EPA Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles

Friday, March 9, 2012

What’s Blooming at Brooker?

Lara Miller  
Natural Resource Agent  

If you haven’t visited Brooker Creek Preserve, what are you waiting for? There is so much to see and it’s a great way to escape. Spring is right around the corner, and many plants at the Preserve are already blooming! Here is just one of the many beautiful plants flowering at Brooker Creek Preserve.

Sky-blue lupine (Lupinus diffusus) sends out these beautiful violet flowers starting in mid-winter through early spring. This plant is native to Florida and is commonly found in sandy habitats, although this plant grows all throughout the southeastern United States. One of the reasons they do so well in sandy areas is because they actually prefer nutrient poor soils. Lupines are unique because they are able to take nitrogen from the atmosphere and bring it into the soil. Nitrogen-fixing bacteria live on the roots of sky-blue lupine and absorb nitrogen out of the air. This nitrogen then becomes available for the plant to use. Sky-blue lupine can be found along the trails at the preserve, have you seen it yet?


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Sow your wild sea oats at Fort De Soto

Those interested in helping maintain the beach at Fort De Soto Park are invited to join the Friends of Fort De Soto in the Sow Your Wild Sea Oats volunteer event on Saturday, March 10. Sea oats are being planted to help stabilize and establish a dune system to prevent erosion and offer a habitat for native wildlife.

Supplied by the Friends of Fort De Soto, the sea oats will be planted at the north point of the park from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. From 2 to 6 p.m., lunch and a free concert will be provided by the Kiwanis Club of the Gulf Beaches. Volunteers should meet at shelter #11, south of the fort. There will be free parking for volunteers

The planting is part of a weekend of activities for Kiwanis members. On Friday, 30 to 50 junior and senior high school and college students affiliated with the Kiwanis Club will set up camp in the park before joining the sea oat planting on Saturday.

or contact the park staff at Ft. DeSoto:
Fort De Soto Park
3500 Pinellas Bayway S.
Tierra Verde, FL 33715
Park Office (727) 552-1862

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Great Indoors

Ramona Madhosingh-Hector  
Urban Sustainability Agent  

The weather is warming up and we’re more inclined to head outdoors but don’t forget that it’s time to do some indoor work too! As we plan our spring-cleaning adventures in and around our homes, here are a few things to consider -

Declutter your Home
We have so many “things” in our homes and we’re often running from activity to activity that oftentimes we don’t have enough time to dedicate to organizing our homes. For many of us, spring energizes us and we’re more likely to declutter our homes by sorting closets and kitchens. I like to use the following rules when re-organizing -

  • If I haven’t used it in 6 months, do I really need it?

  • If I keep it, will I use it in 6 months?

  • If I don’t want it, will someone else be able to use this item?

This translates easily into the 3Rs – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Reduce your unwanted items by donating where possible. Reuse old clothes by turning it into dusting cloths or drop cloths for painting jobs around the home. Recycle old electronics and kitchen appliances. Together these actions will help to lighten your home’s carbon footprint.

Household Cleaning
No spring-cleaning event is complete without the use of some cleaning agent. For a “green” spring cleaning event, consider switching to a green cleaner or making your own cleaners to use around the home. Vinegar and baking soda work wonders in your bathrooms, kitchens and laundry! Natural cleaners do not introduce toxic fumes in your home and, for those of us with allergies, that’s an added bonus. Check out this link on how to make household cleaners.

Go Paperless
As you organize your homes, consider organizing your electronic life as well. Sign up for online banking and bill pay to reduce the amount of paper you receive. Also, if you have the latest e-reader gizmo, consider switching your magazine subscriptions to an electronic format. Don’t forget to remove yourself from mailings that you are no longer interested in! If you have books lying around the house that you’ve already read, donate it to a library or see if you can do a book-swap with your neighbors.

Indoor Air Quality
During the winter months, our homes are kept tightly sealed to conserve warmth but as the weather changes, it’s a good time to promote air exchanges before we head towards the warm summer months. Frequent air exchanges lead to humidity problems so be sure that you check humidity levels before beginning natural ventilation. Check out this article for more great information on indoor air quality and do’s and don’ts when ventilating.

Don’t forget that your landscape also needs cleaning. Check out this recent blog on how to do just that!

Good luck and have fun spring-cleaning your home!

Indoor Air Quality
Pruning Landscape Trees and Shrubs
Where to recycle in Pinellas County?
Yellow Page Opt Out
Green Seal Products
Green Guard