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Eco-friendly resolutions to top off your 2021 list if you live on Florida’s east coast

SOUTHEAST FL. – January 2021 is up and running and many people like to dedicate the first month of the year to coming up with new year’s resolutions that will stick. While most want to forget the events of 2020, a look at what was accomplished and learned can help shape your 2021 resolutions.

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 classes. The 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?

[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]In Southeast Florida, county 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 seven eco-friendly options[/inlinetweet] offered from Brevard to Monroe counties to complete your resolutions list. For additional opportunities in your community, contact your local UF/IFAS County Extension office for information.

Just for Palm Beach County residents

 UF/IFAS Master Gardener Volunteers hold a special place for counties across the state. As a volunteer-driven program that benefits UF/IFAS Extension and the citizens of Florida, the program relies on dedicated volunteers who have an interest in gardening and in giving back to their communities. Why not learn the art of Master Gardener Volunteers. Palm Beach County residents can enjoy a weekly class that runs from March through June. While most of the components are virtual there are some logistically set for in-person, social-distanced learning. Deadline to apply for the 2021 session is February 8. Contact Candace Smith at (561)233-1759 or Csmith5@pbcgov.org for the application. Program cost is $199, which includes instruction, books, materials, and name badge. For more information visit https://discover.pbcgov.org/coextension/mastergardener/Pages/default.aspx

In Brevard – Get the basics in growing what’s healthy with Florida-Friendly Landscaping

Learn how to grow your own healthy plants and nutritious food while protecting the water quality of the Indian River Lagoon and the St. Johns River. An eight-week session of Florida Friendly Landscaping is scheduled for Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to noon beginning April 6 through May 25. Learn from a range of topics including soil needs, Florida Friendly Landscaping principles, attracting wildlife, hands on gardening from seed start to landscape design, lawncare, integrated pest management and more. Program cost is $75 providing all educational materials. For more information, contact Sally Scalera at sasc@ufl.edu or call 321-633-1702, extension 52318. To register, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/florida-friendly-landscaping-class-8-week-series-tickets-125315440857

In Brevard – Get lawn and garden help with a site visit

Need gardening guidance? Have insects and disease questions about your lawn and water conservation? Does your lawn have problem areas or do you need help identifying plants in your yard? My Brevard Yard Site Visit program is back for 2021. Learn from UF/IFAS experts about your soil and how to manage it for your goals. For more information, contact Sally Scalera at sasc@ufl.edu or call 321-633-1702, extension 52318. To register, visit https://mbysvjan-march2021.eventbrite.com

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 a virtual lunch-and-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 Miami-Dade 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 Climate-Smart 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 warmer-than-usual 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.

 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