Article by UF/IFAS Extension Broward County Intern Sarah Marc & Urban Horticulture Agent/CED Lorna Bravo
What is the UF/IFAS Extension Summer Internship Program?
The summer internship program collaborates with the Florida Cooperative Extension Service and the UF/IFAS College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. Students participating in this paid internship will work with county UF/IFAS Extension faculty to deliver educational programming throughout Florida. Together with the local UF/IFAS Extension faculty, students will work in one or more of these program areas:
- Agricultural and horticultural enterprises
- Water resources
- Natural resources and environmental quality
- Individual and family development
- Community resources and economic development
- 4-H Youth Development
Meet Broward County’s UF Intern, Sarah Marc.
Sarah Marc recently graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science.
Sarah’s Summer Internship Project
As a Broward County Summer Intern for 2023, Sarah worked with Broward County’s Extension Urban Horticulture Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ (FFL) program. Her project had two parts: to create short educational videos for Broward County residents about the FFL program and assist with survey efforts to understand urban dwellers’ water behavior.
Florida-Friendly LandscapingTM Educational Videos
The Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ (FFL) program is an educational outreach program informing homeowners and professionals how to be more environmentally friendly with their landscape care practices. It comprises nine principles: Right Plant Right Place, Water Efficiently, Fertilize Appropriately, Mulch, Attract Wildlife, Manage Yard Pests Responsibly, Recycle Yard Waste, Reduce Stormwater Runoff, and Protect the Waterfront. These principles work to conserve water, preserve water quality, reduce waste and pollution, create wildlife habitats, and prevent erosion. Any landscape can be Florida-Friendly if it follows the nine principles.
Sarah created two videos about the FFL program. One focused on the recognition process for a Florida-Friendly Landscaping™, and the other focused on rain barrels. Through making the videos, Sarah learned about the Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ principles and participated in on-site evaluations with Broward County’s Water Ambassadors educating the community about sustainable landscapes.
“Learning about all the information available and the work UF/IFAS Extension does regarding Florida-Friendly Landscaping was eye-opening. I’m happy that I could assist in ways to spread the information and contribute to UF/IFAS Extension’s efforts to help the community.”
Broward County Master Gardener Volunteer Class 2023 Rain Gauge Survey
The other part of Sarah’s project was assisting with water conservation program evaluations by creating survey questions for the 2023 Master Gardener Volunteer class. The survey aimed at program evaluation to evaluate the effectiveness of rain gauge distribution during Broward County Master Gardener Volunteer class 2023. Based on the study, 87.5% of the participants found rain gauges very helpful in controlling their irrigation systems in urban landscapes and were very likely to recommend using a rain gauge to someone else. This result implies that the training succeeded by introducing rain gauges during the course and forming positive opinions.
The survey also provided points for further examination. Of the survey participants, 11.8% did not have their own landscape to manage. This questioned whether there could be a greater connection between rain gauges and participants who did not have their own landscape to manage, such as residents of apartments or condos. Assisting with creating the survey and conducting Florida-Friendly Landscaping inspections with Broward County’s Water Ambassadors taught Sarah about communicating research results, understanding social norms, and the evaluation process for UF/IFAS Extension.
“My college courses had focused more on the physical and biological sciences, so using social sciences and understanding how it can affect a program was a new experience. It was exciting to learn how questions and evaluations can show where the program succeeded and offer ideas of future examinations.”
Sarah’s Project goal
Sarah plans to use her project to work with Broward County UF/IFAS Extension and connect with urban dwellers. The goal is to inspire action for reducing water usage and preserving water quality.
“In environmental science, much of the information can be doom and gloom. Working with UF/IFAS Extension showed me that while these problems exist, there are ways to solve them and that it takes working with the community.”
UF Summer Internship Information
Are you interested to read more about this exciting annual UF summer internship program?
You can find additional information here:
- College of Agricultural and Life Sciences – University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences – UF/IFAS (ufl.edu)
Broward Extension is excited to collaborate on the impact internships like this can have on the future career paths of UF students. UF Summer internships connect prospective UF alums with UF/IFAS Extension’s mission. It connects them with the needs of our local community and empowers them to effectively communicate with research-based information and make a difference in Floridian’s lives.
- FFL 30th Anniversary – Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program – University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences – UF/IFAS (ufl.edu)
- FFL Pledge – Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program – University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences – UF/IFAS (ufl.edu)
- Extension Internships – College of Agricultural and Life Sciences – University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences – UF/IFAS (ufl.edu)
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