Learn More About Florida’s Water Resources

Working With Water, Working With PeopleFlorida Waters Stewardship Program logo

To make a difference concerning the issues surrounding water quality and quantity in our communities, we must understand the various ways in which we interact with water. As Floridians, we are connected to our oceans and bays by our faucets and laundries, to our neighborhood ponds and lakes by our yards and streets, and to our regional and statewide neighbors by our surface and groundwater supplies.

The Florida Waters Stewardship Program will use expert presentations, online explorations, experiential learning, and communication skills training to foster a greater understanding of these interactions and provide the tools necessary to become stewards of our water resources.

During this 11-session online course, participants will explore state and local water resources, learn about emerging water issues, and meet local experts.

Participants will also plan and implement a stewardship project that makes a difference in their community, attend a relevant stakeholder meeting and interact with other participants via online discussions between class sessions.

Pictures of program participants from previous Florida Waters Stewardship Program offerings
Images highlight various components of the Florida Waters Stewardship Program including guest speakers, networking with cohort, field tours, and class discussions.

This course has limited seating/availability. Register early to reserve your spot. Youth (under 18) are eligible to register as long as an accompanying adult is also registered for the program. If this applies to you, please contact Lara (lara317@ufl.edu or 727-453-6905) for a special discount code for both parties to participate. Link to register: https://fwspclass7.eventbrite.com


Session 1a – Tuesday, April 16 (10:00am–12:00 p.m.):

  • Welcome, Introductions, Course Overview
  • Working with Water Presentation – Watershed Basics
  • Working with People Presentation – Stewardship & Leadership

Session 1b – Thursday, April 18 (10:00am–12:00 p.m.):

  • Guest Speaker Topic – Pinellas County Watershed Management
  • Guest Speaker – Robert Burnes, M.S., M.A.S., ENV-SP, Senior Environmental Specialist, Pinellas County, Environmental Management.
  • Virtual Mini-tour – Brooker Creek Preserve

Session 2a – Tuesday, April 23 (10:00am–12:00 p.m.):

  • Class Discussion
  • Working with Water Presentation – Changing Waterscapes
  • Working with People Presentation – Working with Thorny Issues

Session 2b – Thursday, April 25 (10:00am–12:00 p.m.):

  • Guest Speaker Topic – Surface Water Improvement Projects
  • Guest Speaker – Will Vangelder, Surface Water Improvement & Management (SWIM) Manager, Southwest Florida Water Management District
  • Virtual Mini-tour – Lake Seminole SWIM Project

Session 3a – Tuesday, April 30 (10:00am–12:00 p.m.):

  • Class Discussion
  • Working with Water Presentation – Water Laws & Other Tools
  • Working with People Presentation – The Power of Partnership

Session 3b – Thursday, May 2 (10:00am–12:00 p.m.):

  • Guest Speaker Topic – Wastewater
  • Guest Speaker – Shea Dunifon, Education Coordinator, South Cross Bayou Water Reclamation Facility, Pinellas County Utilities
  • Virtual Mini Tour – Virtual tour of South Cross Bayou Water Reclamation Facility

Session 4a – Tuesday, May 7 (10:00am–12:00 p.m.):

  • Class Discussion
  • Working with Water Presentation – Future Water Supply and Emerging Issues
  • Working with People Presentation – Communication Is More Than Words

Session 4b – Thursday, May 9 (10:00am–12:00 p.m.):

  • Guest Speaker Topic – Future Water Supply & Demand
  • Guest speaker – Tirusew Asefa, Ph.D., P.E., D.WRE, Manager, Planning & System Decision Support, Tampa Bay Water.
  • Virtual Mini-tour – TBA

Session 5 – Tuesday, May 14 (10:00am–12:00 p.m.):

  • Panel Discussion
  • Stewardship Project Updates

Session 6 – Thursday, May 16 (10:00am–12:00 p.m.):

  • Guest Speaker Topic – Communicating About Water
  • Guest Speaker – TBA

Session 7- GRADUATION – Saturday, May 18 (10:00am–1:00 p.m.):

  • Final Reflection & Stewardship Project Report Outs
  • End of course evaluation
  • Lunch, Cake, Networking & Graduation!

Stewardship Project

This year’s stewardship project will be on an individual level. You will come up with an action you want to take that will benefit local water resources and implement steps to achieve this action throughout the course. We will have time during class session to discuss your ideas and receive support.

Earn A Certificate of Completion

If you wish to receive a certificate of completion at the end of the program, you must complete the following:

  • Attend at least nine of the eleven class meetings, two of which MUST be the first and last (Session #1a and Session #7)
  • Attend and briefly describe a stakeholder gathering
  • Complete online homework
  • Participate in the online discussions
  • Share a reflection of your experience with your individual stewardship project at Session 7

How It Will Work

This year’s program will be taught online with the exception of the in-person Graduation session. Access to course materials, online discussions and more will take place through a private Google Site. Class sessions will be taught LIVE using Zoom. Links to access Zoom class sessions will be provided in your Class VII Google Site. It will be a learning curve for everyone, but we will make it work!

For the best experience, we recommend having access to a web camera and/or microphone to encourage dialog and interaction. If you do not have access to these, you can interact via the chat feature in Zoom. Zoom is also available for download as a smartphone application. More details for course access will be provided to registrants.

Cost: $79

If the cost of the program will prevent you from participating, please complete a scholarship application. Application deadline = 11:59pm, Sunday, March 31.


For more information about this course, please contact your local UF/IFAS Extension Pinellas County Natural Resources Agent, Lara Milligan at lara317@ufl.edu or 727-453-6905.

Past program participants in the water after cleaning out a water goat (a trash catchment system)
Past program participants in the water after cleaning out a water goat (a trash catchment system); their class stewardship project.

To Register:

Please visit: https://fwspclass7.eventbrite.com 


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Posted: March 20, 2024

Category: Natural Resources
Tags: Lmilligan, Online, Stewardship, Water, Water Quality, Water Resources

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