Spring 2012

I really love this picture, so many people coming together to better our City and restore vital habitat.  One of my students is in the forefront of the picture.

 Restoring Emergent saltmash grasses in the Pensacola Bay watershed. This not only creates habitat, but also helps reduce erosion and improve water quality in the bay!

Service Learning on Lake Jackson Spring 2012

Here is a project I would have loved to help with!

On February 18 & March 10, I accompanied Paxton High School’s Key Club, a group of high school teens dedicated to performing various community service acts, in a clean-up of a local lake. Lake Jackson is located approximately 70 miles from Pensacola right on the Alabama-Florida state line and is a local hot spot for fishermen, boating sports, and runners. This activity had two main goals: to clean up around the lake (garbage) and to test the pH level of the lake. Picking up trash around a lake may seem like a very basic principle or activity but it is one that has a heavy impact. Aside from preserving the natural beauty of the lake, trash that may be blown or somehow end up in the water can also end up releasing chemicals from the packaging that can end up effecting the water species. Trash removal also prevents ducks from using it, in building their nests.

The second aspect of the project was to collect water samples of the lake to make sure that the lake’s acid levels were not affecting the wildlife. This was done simply by collecting water from various points in the lake and placing them in “Whirlpaks”, which are virtually the plastic bag version of a test tube. These were then given to the local park rangers offices for further examination. 

Spring 2012 Ecosystem Restoration

There is quite an effort in NWFL to restore coastal habitats of many kinds. Students seem to really enjoy doing their service learning in association with these projects. Below is a submission from this semester:

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Northwest District has a project called Ecosystem Restoration Section (ERS). This group works to restore and improve different ecosystems such as coastal dune systems, oyster reefs, and salt marshes.
They have two greenhouses specifically for Coastal Restoration Nursery located within Ellyson Industrial in Northern Pensacola. Volunteers can come and help plant different plants that are vital to the rehabilitation of these ecosystems that we hold close to our hearts. They also have volunteers help out on the beach with planting and oyster bed restoration. 

                                                            Hard work pays off!

Spring 2012 Habitat for Humanit

Several students volunteered this semester for Habitat for Humanity. Below is a student submission relating that experience to class topics: 

I did my community service hours with habitat for humanity. Habitat for humanity is a nonprofit organization dedicated to building affordable housing. So far they have built over 500,000 homes and helped 2.5million people. The organization works through donations and volunteer labor. I thoroughly enjoyed volunteering with them and I plan on going back to do more volunteer work weekly!!
                This was an amazing experience, that I probably wouldn’t have done had it not been for the class requirement but now I plan on pursuing it and doing many other forms of volunteer work through-out the summer. 

The building of this particular home relates to our environmental science class in many ways. The part that I helped with was the putting up of the roof. In class we discussed ways to be energy efficient. One of those ways was the type of insulation you use when building your home. The insulation used in this home was a reflective material that’s main goal is to reflect the heat of the sun away and not let any of the heat or cool air escape from the house its self.  The reason that this is such an important role in not just home owning but the environment is because it saves cost and helps you use less energy thus burning less fossil fuels and creating less pollutants in our air.  

   So my community service hours relate to our environmental science class because of the use of solarbord in the building of the roof, the fact that habitat for humanity is a nonprofit organization striving to give everyone an affordable decent home making our economy rise, and the recycling of old materials.