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Water Resource Education

My main Extension programs focusing on water resources include the Florida Waters Stewardship Program for the general public interested to learn more about Florida's water resources, the Florida Microplastic Awareness Project, and a Water School for elected officials.

Florida Waters Stewardship Program

I dreamed up this program back in 2012 and through significant contributions from many colleagues, we are now proud to offer this incredible water program. The Florida Waters Stewardship Program (FWSP) is a multi-session program focusing on, you guessed it, Florida waters! The program is only offered once a year and involves 7-9 sessions with a cohort of ~20 people. Each session takes place at a different location in Pinellas County and focuses on a new water topic. The program also focuses on people-skills because, well, how can you make change without people?! In addition to the in-class session, the program includes a class stewardship project, online mini-sessions, and an interactive online forum. It's a pretty involved program, but very much worth the time and cost if you care about Florida's water resources. But don't take my word for it, see what former program participants have said:

  • "I loved this class and the connections to other resources, classes and people."
  • "Thank you for creating such a great program!"
  • "Fabulous course & instructor!"

The 2018 Program will start on August 23. This class is currently full. Sign-up to be notified when the 2019 program will be offered. Tentative timeline is to start in late summer/early fall. Complete this form if interested.

Florida Microplastic Awareness Project

Microplastics are a relatively new water quality concern being found throughout the world. The Florida Microplastic Awareness Project focuses on outreach and citizen science to educate people about this topic. You can find out all about this effort on the website. We encourage you to:

  • Consider taking a pledge to reduce your contribution to microplastics
  • Invite me to come speak to your community group about microplastics
  • Get involved in the collection, filtering and analysis of local water samples

If you think this isn't a local problem, check out our interactive map that shows where microplastics are being found right here in the Tampa Bay area. If you want to learn more, check out the resources on the right-hand side.

Already an FMAP volunteer?

Check out this map of local FMAP partners to find out where you can bring in your sample to filter and analyze. Remember to watch the step-by-step videos before collecting, filtering and analyzing your sample to ensure you are doing it correctly. Also note, it can take up to two hours to filter some samples. We recommend to filter a sample, let it sit for at least 24 hours and then come back in to analyze your sample once it has dried. Analysis will take a couple of hours as well. It's a process, but a worthwhile one to help us collect local microplastics data! THANK YOU!

NEW* Watershed Bus Tour

In an effort to connect people with our local water resources, I have organized Pinellas County's first Watershed Bus Tour. I hope to make this an annual program as there is much to see and explore when it comes to water in the Tampa Bay area. The 2018 tour included the installation of a rain garden at A.L. Anderson Park in Tarpon Springs, a tour of the South Cross Bayou Water Reclamation Facility, and a tour of Pinellas County Utilities Laboratory. The 2019 tour will take place sometime in the Spring. Stay tuned...

 

Participants from the 2017 Florida Waters Stewardship Program learning about local water improvement projects within Safety Harbor.

Staff and volunteers at Tampa Bay Watch learning how to filter water samples as part of the Florida Microplastic Awareness Project. Photo Credit (above): Michael Calandra