I usually reserve these blogs for natural phenomena of some sort—an insect, a plant, wildlife, or some ecological concept. But this fall, several colleagues and I are teaching a series of classes and I wanted to share that information. Registration is open and they’ll start soon!
Several years ago, a group of Extension Agents and specialists created a series of classes called “Sustainable Floridians.” The course was designed to teach new and long-time residents about ways to conserve natural resources, energy, and water. Participants were encouraged to get involved in local community decision-making about environmental issues. The course had a module on climate and sea level rise, but participants were interested in digging a little deeper into the climate issues and how residents could do their part to respond to and understand the impacts of climate change to our state.
Based on that suggestion, the Climate Smart Floridians program was designed for expanded learning and discussion. The goal is to understand the science, learn respectfully from each other, and take action to reduce individual and community impacts. Topics will include consumption and waste, water, food, transportation, Florida-friendly landscaping, green building, and energy use. Questions are encouraged, and we welcome any participant 18 or older. Prior understanding of climate-related concepts is not required.
My co-instructor will be Mark Jackson, the City of Pensacola Sustainability Coordinator. Starting Wednesday, August 24, we will meet online via Zoom for 8 weeks, on consecutive Wednesdays from 6:30-8:30 pm. We will have guest speakers join us to cover specific topics during several sessions. On a couple of Saturdays in October, we will have in-person meetings in the morning. One outing will be a tour of an energy-efficient home, while another will be a guided walk downtown to look at how incorporating trees and shade makes a difference in quality of life and the vitality of a city.
To be part of our very first Climate Smart Floridians course in northwest Florida, you can register at this Eventbrite site. Cost for the class is $20. The instructors’ presentations will be recorded for later viewing, in case a timing conflict comes up or participants would like to review a concept. In between class sessions, we will stay in touch with class members and suggest articles and reading for discussion before the next meeting. The class will be limited to 20 members. If you’re interested and we fill up, we will start a waiting list and let you know as soon as a new class opens.
Concurrently with the Climate Smart Floridians class, we’ll be teaching a Florida Master Naturalist Program (FMNP) Wetlands class on Tuesdays. Registration for that course is online now. I will write more about the Master Naturalist program next week!