Sarah provided an excellent service to her community by helping to mark storm drains and educate the public regarding the importance of not dumping anything in storm drains! Check out the photo and blurb she submitted:


"While volunteering for the Lake County Water Authority, my service primarily consisted of marking storm drains with curb markers, and learning how to use their app for keeping track of which drains are marked. The purpose of placing these markers on storm drains is to make people aware that often these drains lead to lakes, and hopefully will discourage any form of dumping down the drain. While placing the markers, I removed waste that was caught in between the gutter and curb, that hadn’t quite fallen into the drain. After marking drains, using the Lake County Water Authorities app called collector we can select streets within city limits and mark whether the street has drains and are marked, had drains and are incomplete, or has no drains at all." 

Tortoise at the UWF Garden

Could it be a baby, endangered, gopher tortoise? Leese found it at our garden!

Habitat restoration and water quality improvements!

Students just "get it" when you talk about the importance of oyster habitat in relation to water quality. Lisa spent most of her time drilling oysters for reef building and teaching Zoo visitors about the importance of these activities.

From Lisa: "Brevard Oyster Restoration hosts monthly classes to show the community how to make the mats needed for the Oyster Restoration program.  I assisted in setting up for the class and facilitating the class of about 20 attendees.  After the class, I went to Brevard Zoo to their Oyster Restoration exhibition to drill holes in the oysters needed for the mats, while educating to the zoo guests about the Oyster Restoration program and the role it plays in restoration of the Indian River Lagoon ecosystem."

Service Learning on a CSA in Sweden!

Erik took intro to Environmental Science online while living in Sweden! He spent his time helping increase Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) by volunteering at Gemenshaps Foretaget Narjord ekonomisk Forening. 

Erik did not let the challenge of a language barrier stop him from improving his community! Here is what he had to say about the professional skills he developed:
"One professional skill I learned, and did not expect to learn, is the value of keeping good relations with the people you meet and only checking your neighbors bowl to make sure they have enough. Working on a farm is a very time consuming and demanding job, and when Philip started the organization it was only him, his girlfriend, and one other friend. At one point, they were going to close the farm and sell the land due to the inability to employ more people, because they did not charge the residents money. Because Philip and his girlfriend had always put their community before themselves, the residents began showing up for a few hours a week during their free time and helping, which saved the organization from discontinuing.

I also learned the importance of persistence, especially when the odds are against you. I only know two people in the small town that I moved to, which also has a significant language barrier. When they did not know of a nonprofit organization that I could go to for my service hours I nearly gave up and began considering the annotated bibliography. Instead, I decided to go to City Hall and, through a translator on my phone, I asked for any community service options. They told me they had plenty of options during the summer, but I missed that opportunity by about a month. I decided to try one more thing, which was a café downtown that was recommended to me. I was told they use locally grown fruits and vegetables, so I decided to ask the owner where the produce came from, which led me to Philip Larsson of Narjord."

Air quality monitoring for service learning

Sergio learned about the importance of paying attention to the air we breathe while volunteering for Florida Department of Environmental Protection!

Here is what he had to say about the experience:

"The most important thing I learn though this project is that we have to be very careful with every decision we make not just environmentally talking but in life. We have to think two and even three times before taking any decision. Is understandable that we didn’t know about all the damage that was being done 30 years ago but now that we know what are the consequences of not controlling air pollution or water pollution, is not just our right but our obligation to start doing things in order to preserve planet earth. More than teaching me any professional skills, this project has made me realize that I and every single person has to stop thinking about being every day more professional in a major and start being more human and with this I mean understanding that earth is the humans home, if we don’t take care of it eventually it won’t be anything that we can take care of. "    

Endangered gopher tortoise getting lots of help at Eglin!

One of the largest gopher tortoise relocation project in Florida happened in our area! Hundreds were moved to the large expanse of Eglin Airforce base. I had a few students go help build an enclosure fence, and then begin to dig some burrows (just to help get them started). Daylin had this to say about the experience: 

Waking up at 6:30 driving over an hour away never felt so good, knowing I was building a new habitat for endangered gopher tortoises. A team and I volunteered together to build a pen on 102 acres on Eglin’s Reserve to hold over more than 400 tortoises. We dug holes, planted stakes in the ground, and stapled material to the stakes making a pen for the tortoise’s new home since they have to be relocated from Citrus County due to impending habitat loss. Nine hours later, covered in dirt, with blisters on my hands it was a great feeling knowing that everyone came together to help these selfless creatures.

Summer Sea Turtle work

Rosalyn may have chosen the most fun and rewarding project to do her service learning with the Share the Beach program!

"Share the Beach is a charter program from the Friends of Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge and partnered with a myriad of state, federal and local agencies...As a volunteer, my main job is in the assistance in nest relocations and then after nest replacement, barricading the nest is the next most important step.  Once the eggs hatch we must guide the baby sea turtles into the water....I take it upon myself to also clean the beach by collecting trash while I do my scouting runs as well. Plastics are a huge killer of sea turtles."

Emily spent time in Pensacola Bay volunteering with the UWF Underwater Archaeology folks!

Perhaps one of the greatest finds in Maritime History this century has happened right here in Pensacola Bay! Emily spent some time underwater for her Service Learning!

A blurb from her: By working on the wreck I have recently realized that we actually have a form of symbiosis with at least one of the bay inhabitants. We have a mutualistic relationship with a large sheepshead fish, it eats the barnacles off of our unit grids when we clean them, so it gets fed and we get clean grids that we won’t cut ourselves on. The archaeology performed at the site has also created new little ecosystems in the bay for various types of marine life. The grids and barge provide areas for barnacles to grow which in turn attract fish, and lots of different types of fish have made their homes within the many units that we are excavating and around our growing piles of ballast stones. There is so much marine life around the site that it is pretty common to suck up fish, shrimp, or crabs in the dredge, although we try as much as we can to avoid them. The pollution in the bay alongside the weather also affects our diving though. We have had to call dives early or cancel them entirely due to high levels of bacteria in the bay or low visibility due to high levels of sediments or particulates in the water. I subconsciously knew about all of these connections when I started diving, but I connected them more when I read about them in the chapters for this class.