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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Florida Style Gardening Workshop

July 21, 2012
8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Tarpon Springs City Hall
324 E. Pine Street, Tarpon Springs 34689

Join Florida-Friendly Landscaping TM specialists to learn the basics about how to create and maintain an attractive, Florida-Friendly landscape that saves water, time, and sweat!

Workshops are FREE 
Pre-Registration is suggested as seating is limited!

Call 727-893-2500 x1086
Or email
Please provide name, phone number, and number of attendees. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Home Improvement

Ramona Madhosingh-Hector
Urban Sustainability Agent

Homeowners will admit that no matter what season of the year there’s always a project to be done around the house. Some examples of projects include organizing closets, redecorating rooms, painting and appliance upgrades. The consumer market is full of greener choices for all of your home projects and the Tampa Bay Home Show will provide a great opportunity for you to explore new ideas and innovations for your home.

One of the easiest home improvement projects that you can do in your home is to update lighting fixtures. New lighting fixtures can add dimension while increasing functionality and style in any room. The type of bulb you choose for this lighting fixture can also save you money over the lifetime of the fixture. New lighting choices now include energy saving incandescent bulbs per the 2012 lighting standards, compact florescent lamps and light emitting diodes. When compared to a traditional incandescent bulb, there are significant savings potential as you move up the lighting spectrum –

  • Energy saving incandescent – 25% more efficient and can last up to 3x longer 
  • CFL (compact florescent lamp) – 75% more efficient and can last up to 10x longer 
  • LED (light emitting diode) – 75% to 80% more efficient and can last up to 25x longer 

Check out the videos at these links that explain the differences between the new lighting technologies and use the information to shop for the light you need by using lumens instead of watts. 

For the past three years, the Pinellas Energy Efficiency Project (PEEP) has focused on energy conservation and behavioral strategies that you can adopt to save money in your home. PEEP has distributed compact florescent lamps as well as light emitting diodes. Check out the PEEP booth at the Tampa Bay Home Show this weekend to receive a manual powered LED flashlight – a must have for hurricane season.

Energy Efficient Homes: Easy Steps to Improving Your Home’s Energy Efficiency
Avoiding Fraud and Deception
Design Strategies for a Sustainable Home Landscape
Green Guard

Friday, June 8, 2012

Are you Prepared for Hurricane Season?

Libby Carnahan, Pinellas County Sea Grant Agent

Where will you go?  What should you pack?  Is your home secure?  Are You Really Prepared?  Join Pinellas County Extension and other county partners for a FREE Hurricane Preparedness Workshop for local residents at Weedon Island Preserve on Saturday, June 16th at 9am.

Tom Iovino, Pinellas County Emergency Management spokesman, will deliver the Keynote address.  He will present the history of hurricanes in Tampa Bay and discuss the potential threat from a storm this season.  Experts from the University of Florida and Pinellas County Animal Services will deliver sound advice on preparing your home, family, finances, pets, and waterfront in the event of a storm.

Each participant will walk away with a reusable insulated tote back full of informative resources including a manual LED Flashlight.  Refreshments will be provided. 
Door prizes include a complete set of Tires donated by TiresPlus and an Energy Efficiency kit provided by the Pinellas Energy Efficiency Project, all valued at more than $500!

Registration is limited, reserve your seat by going online to  Weedon Island Preserve Cultural and Natural History Center is located at 1800 Weedon Drive NE, St. Petersburg, FL 33702. For questions, call (727) 453-6522.

Does Money Grow on Trees?

Lara Miller
Natural Resource Agent 

Money can grow on trees! The ability to compare the value of natural lands to developed lands was historically difficult until the concept of "environmental services" was developed. Environmental services include things such as: clean air, clean water, aesthetics, and non-timber forest products. Complex models have been created to estimate the monetary value of these products and services. Another way to look at it is: how much would it cost technology to replicate the services that trees provide naturally?

By placing a monetary value on environmental services, different land uses can be compared apples to apples. For example, a 2007 study determined that Tampa’s urban forests removed approximately 1,360 tons of air pollution with an estimated value of $6.4 million.

Casey Trees and Davey Tree Expert Co. developed The National Tree Benefit Calculator to help determine the monetary value of the very trees that exist in our backyard. Using this calculator, the overall benefits of a 36 inch (diameter) live oak tree in a single-family residential neighborhood of Clearwater, FL was determined to be worth $303 every year. Benefits are broken down into different categories including: stormwater, property value, energy, air quality, and carbon dioxide (CO2).

Human development can increase impervious surfaces such as concrete and asphalt that do not allow water to seep through the surface. Instead, these surfaces force water to “runoff” until it reaches soils where it can percolate into the groundwater or enter into streams, wetlands, rivers or oceans. Trees help increase the infiltration rate and storage of rainwater through the tree’s root system. Using the same 36 inch diameter live oak, approximately 28,552 gallons of stormwater runoff would be intercepted by this tree every year.

Trees can also help increase property value. Research shows that home buyers are willing to pay higher prices for properties with more trees compared to properties with few to none. The live oak from our example, if located in the front of a single family home, was estimated to increase property value by $173.

Shade of trees can save money too. Trees that shade the east and west walls of a building in the summer help to keep the building cooler. Also, by leaving the southern side of a building exposed during the winter months it can help warm interior spaces. Our 36 inch diameter live oak would conserve 246 kilowatt hours of electricity per year for cooling, which equals $15.44 (based on 6.28 cents per Kilowatt hour).

Improved air quality can be another benefit of trees and shrubs by absorbing pollutants such as sulfur dioxide and help to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Our sample tree is capable of reducing atmospheric carbon by 2,276 pounds. To put this into perspective, a flight from New York to Los Angeles adds 1,400 pounds of CO2 per passenger.

In summary, urban trees are beneficial in a variety of ways. Try calculating some of the trees in your yard using the online calculator. If you want to learn how to identify some of the trees in your yard, register for the upcoming Adult Ecology: Plant ID Series offered at Brooker Creek Preserve. Follow what’s going on with natural resources around Pinellas County on Twitter and/or Facebook
Additional sources of related information can be found below.