Usually I don’t like to multi-task on the weekend, but I’m a life-long learner and a glutton for new information. When I’m doing yardwork, running errands or working out, I like to keep my mind engaged with podcasts.
Convenience is a big factor behind podcasting’s growing popularity. According to an Edison Research study, more than 109 million people in the U.S. listen to a podcast at least once per month, with listeners between the ages of 12 and 34 being a large share of the audience. Since the early 2000s, podcasting has increasingly become a medium for learning, with shows like Radiolab, Stuff You Should Know and Science Friday ranking among the most downloaded.
At UF/IFAS Extension, we are in a continual effort to reach new audiences, using the media they’re tuning into. We’ve been embracing podcasting for several years now, and have developed an impressive stable of high-quality pods encompassing a wide variety of topics. These are offered on multiple platforms and don’t require paid subscriptions.
Listening to Naturally Florida is like walking a nature trail with two entertaining and well-informed guides. Hosts Shannon Carnevale and Lara Milligan are natural resources Extension agents in Polk and Pinellas counties, respectively, but they cover topics that apply throughout the state. Their series on wildlife features native and invasive species—some familiar beasts like alligators and pelicans, and others more off the beaten path, such as cane toads and coyotes. They also cover a wide range of environmental issues, including stormwater runoff, the science of urban heat islands, and microplastics pollution.
|21+ episodes||Monthly||Since June 2021||Average length: 20 minutes|
All in for Citrus is a monthly podcast hosted by Michael Rogers, director of the UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center, and is produced in partnership with Southeast AgNet Media. Dr. Rogers talks with scientists working to find solutions to citrus greening and other devastating citrus diseases. Each episode covers a variety of news, research discoveries, management practices, teaching and special events. If you want to know more about Florida agriculture’s signature crop, tune in to this podcast, and also visit the UF/IFAS Citrus Research website.
|51+ episodes||Monthly||Since Sept. 2018||Average length: 30 minutes|
At the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, ‘food’ literally is our middle name, and this new podcast is all about our favorite subject. Science reporter Tory Moore talks with a wide array of scientists and experts to answer our most intriguing questions about food. How do our favorite foods make the journey from the farm to our plate? How is technology changing our food choices? What is up with the food shortages we’ve recently experienced? And what about careers in food…is it all about farming? These lively discussions will really make you think about the complex role food and agriculture plays in our everyday lives.
|Season 1, 6 episodes||2 per month||Since Oct. 2022||Average length: 40 minutes|
The Extension Cord podcast comes from the UF/IFAS Extension office in Alachua County. Regardless of where you live in the state, listening to Extension Cord is like paying a visit to your friendly neighborhood Extension office. Kevin Korus hosts an eclectic guest list of Master Gardener Volunteers, researchers, community partners, and other specialists. Their plant-of-the-month series is essential listening for anyone who wants to grow vegetables or landscape plants in north central Florida. Beyond that, the topics can range from water quality to artificial intelligence and from hurricane preparedness to Florida-Friendly Landscaping.
|37+ episodes||1-2 episodes per month||Since March 2020||Average length: 30-50 minutes|
This podcast from the UF/IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants deals with all issues related to invasive plants. Center Director Jay Ferrell, co-host Christine Krebs and their guests engage in lively conversations about topics including the ecology of Florida’s lakes and wetlands, the terminology of invasives, and how to avoid buying invasive plants at your local garden center. Be sure to check out “Hippos and Hyacinths,” an episode about how the U.S. almost imported hippos to combat water hyacinth!
|19+ episodes||Bi-weekly||Since Jan. 2022||Average length: 30 minutes|
This weekly podcast from the UF/IFAS Honey Bee Research and Extension Laboratory (HBREL) is a great way for Florida’s 5,000 registered beekeepers to stay up-to-date on news, recommendations and the latest research. HBREL Director Jaimie Ellis shares hosting duties with Extension Coordinator Amy Vu and a rotating panel of experts as they discuss honey bee biology, colony management, pollination, destructive parasites and diseases, and much more. It tells you something about the fascinating complexity of beekeeping that Two Bees in a Pod has so far logged over 107 episodes and hasn’t run out of subjects to talk about.
|126+ episodes||Weekly||Since Jan. 2020||Average length: 40 minutes|
Science by the Slice is a podcast of the UF/IFAS Center for Public Issues Education (PIE). The PIE Center explores the science behind complex issues affecting our daily lives, including public health, food and agriculture, and the use of water and other natural resources. Michaela Kandzer hosts some fascinating discussions with researchers about hot-button issues. Recent episodes have covered the effects of COVID-19 on the supply chain, the future of industrial hemp, mental health and substance abuse, the science of harmful algal blooms, and diversity and inclusion in education.
|42+ episodes||2 episodes per month||Since Jan. 2021||Average length: 30 minutes|
Carefully controlled prescribed burns can actually help prevent potentially dangerous wildfires. They can also enrich the soil, create habitat opportunties for wildlife, and help conserve plants and animals in our natural areas. This podcast, which is part of the Natural Resources University network, shares the science behind prescribed fires and how they help keep ecosystems healthy. Host Marcus Lashley (@DrDisturbance) is an assistant professor in the UF/IFAS Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation.
|33+ episodes||Monthly||Since Dec. 2020||Average length: 55 minutes|
So far, this the longest-running UF/IFAS podcast on the air. Since 2017, Joao “Joe” Vendrimi of the UF/IFAS Range Cattle REC in Ona has been sitting down with researchers, veterinarians, Extension agents and cattle ranchers throughout Florida and the U.S. to talk about issues related to the cattle industry. Some of the most respected names in the ag industry have been guests on Joe’s program and they’ve covered a universal range of topics, including forage nutrition, pasture weeds, genetics, and ranch management.
|51+ episodes||Monthly||Since June 2017||Average length: 20 minutes|
There are several more UF/IFAS podcasts in production now. Together they all add up to over 12,000 hours of stories, inquiries and lively conversations about science you can use in your everyday life. I can think of nothing better to listen to on a hot summer’s day.