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image - Biscayne Bay waterway in Miami

Top five eco-friendly resolutions for 2021 just for Southeast Florida

SOUTHEAST FL What will your resolution be for 2021?  If you live in Southeast Florida, there are plenty of eco-friendly opportunities to explore.

In 2020, we learned to transform our backyards and balconies into edible gardens year-round. We adapted to work-at-home solutions. Educators became students of online learning to build engaging virtual lesson plans for K-12 classesThe pandemic also opened our eyes to new ways to protect our community’s biodiversity from our own backyards. We have come to learn that the virtual space is infinitely bigger and more flexible than we thought, with new opportunities to adjust, grow and enjoy.   

Why not take this a step further and make resolutions that are eco-friendly through a variety of virtual programs readily packaged for you to register.   

In Southeast Floridacounty Extension agents at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) offer plenty of eco-friendly programs from which to choose. Here are five available from Monroe to Martin counties to get you started. For additional opportunities in your community, contact your local UF/IFAS County Extension office for information.  

Just for Broward: Learn the art of Master Gardener Volunteers   

image - UF IFAS Extension Broward Master Gardener Volunteer

Join the UF/IFAS Master Gardener Volunteer program. Scholarships are available. The deadline is January 4, 2021.

Like to dabble in your community, church or school gardens? Interested in urban sustainable food systems, Florida-Friendly Landscaping and water conservation? Then the UF/IFAS Master Gardener Volunteer (MGV) program at Extension Broward County is the place for you. Applications for one of the most popular Master Gardener Volunteer training programs in the state are now available online. Deadline to apply is MondayJanuary 4, with interviews taking place in January and classes for the 2021 MGV training program starting in February. For the first time, a scholarship program is available for interested participants who might not otherwise be able to pay the complete cost of the training fee. For more information and questions about the Master Gardener Volunteer training, contact Anthony Gross at Anthony.Gross@ufl.edu  or 954-756-8525. 

In Martin County: Are you interested in protecting our waterways?   

The Martin County Water Ambassador training is an educational program that unites and empowers residents that have an interest in protecting local waterways and giving back to their communities. The program, in partnership with Martin County and UF/ IFAS Extension, provides a way for motivated individuals to connect personal decisions with information about lagoon-friendly practices. The 2021 Water Ambassador Program will be conducted through virtual lunchand-learn webinar series with subject matter experts and participant Q&A sessions. Webinars are offered every other week at noon, starting on January 12. To find out more about the program, please contact Lisa Krimsky at lkrimsky@ufl.edu or go to https://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/martin/sea-grant—martinst-lucie/ to view the agenda and past recordings.   

In Miami-Dade – Preserving Biscayne Bay   

Creating a Florida-Friendly Landscape is key to protecting all the water resources from Biscayne Bay to the Biscayne Aquifer. UF/IFAS Extension Miami-Dade County will continue its monthly virtual series called Protecting Biscayne Bay in 2021. Held the third Saturday of each month, this one-hour webinar offers residents ways to do their part in protecting Biscayne Bay. What landowners do in their yards has a cumulative effect on the entire water universe in MiamiDade County. Water either seeps into the Biscayne Aquifer (drinking water) or finds its way to Biscayne Bay (weekend playground, economic driver, home to sea and shore life). The 2021 series kicks off on  

January 23 with Transforming your landscape to a Florida-Friendly Landscape, followed by February’s Creating Rain Gardens: Design tips, rain garden plants, elements in creating a demonstration rain garden. All you need to do is register with the Eventbrite link. For more information, contact Laura Vasquez at lavsquez@ufl.edu.  

In Monroe County: Keys to a ClimateSmart Floridian    

Those who live on Florida’s coast know its appeal. Florida has the second-longest coastline in the United States, boasting 8,436 miles on the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Climate changes are taking a toll on our coasts with sea-level rise and warmerthanusual temperatures. In 2021, Monroe County residents can learn how to help to make a positive impact on the environment by becoming Climate Smart Floridians. This new program, made up of nine modules from UF/IFAS Extension and Florida Sea Grant, aims to educate residents on what they can do to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The modules cover such topics as home energy use, “green” building, food waste and your food footprint, and water conservation and drought. For more information, contact Alicia Betancourt, director at UF/IFAS Extension Monroe, at 305-797-1086.  

Clams-being-distributed-for-a-clam-buyback-and-shellfish-restoration-project-in-the-Indian-River-Lagoon

Clams being distributed for a clam buyback and shellfish restoration project in the Indian River Lagoon. Photo taken 10-23-20.

From St. Lucie: Master Naturalist program launches in January with coastal focus   

Known for its stunning beaches and natural tropical sanctuaries, the Sunshine State’s coast attracts millions of tourists and new residents each year. The UF/IFAS St Lucie and Martin County Extension offices are pleased to announce the upcoming Florida Master Naturalist Program (FMNP) Coastal Shoreline Restoration course set to run January 21 to February 5. This 24-hour educational program provides training in the restoration of living shorelines, oyster reefs, mangroves and marshes, with a focus on ecology, benefits, methods, and monitoring techniques. Due to COVID-19 safety requirements, course details are posted online and are conducted 100% virtually with self-directed field trips. Register by January 15. 

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By: Lourdes Rodriguez, 954-577-6363 office, 954-242-8439 mobile, rodriguezl@ufl.edu

The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) is to develop knowledge relevant to agricultural, human, and natural resources and to make that knowledge available to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. With more than a dozen research facilities, 67 county Extension offices, and award-winning students and faculty in the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UF/IFAS brings science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries and all Florida residents.

ifas.ufl.edu  |  @UF_IFAS

 

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