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a uf/ifas extension sarasota county educator teaches an array of students about wildlife, with wildlife props in the background

How Do I... Request a Speaker/Presentation?

As part of our mission to provide practical education for building a better future, Extension offers educational programs on a variety of topics. While we offer an array of classes, presentations, workshops and other events both in-person at locations around the county and as online webinars, we understand that you might like something tailored more to your needs. We can help.

You can request one of our experts to speak directly to you and your group. We'll come to your classroom, community room, conference hall or just about anywhere you need us in Sarasota County, or we'll work with you to establish a virtual, online webinar open to your guests anywhere. Speaker availability and minimum group sizes apply. Note that while most of our presentations are free, some do charge a fee to cover the costs of materials and other expenditures.

Start by choosing a category below (view all categories), and then reviewing the available topics and descriptions. Then, once you have identified or narrowed your choice of topic(s), request a speaker/presentation by completing our online form.

Gardening and Landscaping
Topic Description Age Group
Bay-Friendly Fertilizing Learn about a tool that will incorporate the nutrients already applied to your landscape through reclaimed water to help you determine whether you need to amend your landscape with additional fertilizer. English Adult
Community Gardening Schedule a group tour of one of our seven community gardens. Available Oct-Apr. Individuals may register for tour/open house, as available, via English Adult, Youth
Community Orchards Learn about fruit trees and growing fruit, with a guided tour of community orchard at Colonial Oaks Park. Most suitable for groups of 8-15 people. For small groups or individuals, patrons can visit the orchard during park hours. English Adult, Youth
Creating Your Edible Garden Considerations for creating your edible garden space, whether in a community, school, or home space. English Adult, Youth
DIY Drip Irrigation Focus on how to transition from high-flow spray heads to low-flow drip irrigation, just one of the many ways you can conserve water in the landscape. English Adult
Fairies of Florida: Butterflies Presentation and Fairy House Craft Activity Learn about some beautiful butterflies in our area and their associated plants. After the presentation build a fairy house for your favorite butterfly. (Note: Fee applies) English Adult, Youth
Fertilizing Effectively for Suncoast Soils Appropriate fertilizer use provides nutrients to your landscape plants and turfgrass. However, proper fertilization also means only applying as needed, to help prevent stormwater runoff pollution. Learn more about "Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Principle #3: Fertilize Appropriately." English Adult
Florida-Friendly Basics: FFL 101 Learn the basics of Florida-Friendly Landscaping™, including the nine principles to having a successful, beautiful lawn and garden while protecting our natural resources. English Adult
Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ for Newcomers Learn why Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ is key to protecting the beautiful natural resources Florida has to offer. Class covers the nine principles to having a successful, beautiful landscape while protecting our natural resources. English Adult
Florida-Friendly Landscaping™: Foodscaping for the Suncoast Many people want to grow more of their own food, but do not consider our unique climate when starting a garden. While we may be unable to grow apples, cherries, and pears, we can grow tropical edibles 48 other states cannot. Learn about some of the unique things that work great in our landscapes. Ex. Mangos, Sugar Apples, Papaya, and more!  English Adult
Florida-Friendly Landscaping™: Planting for Suncoast Bees Learn how to attract and ID local bees. Learn how to identify a few of the most common and interesting bees. Then learn about what plants you can place in your landscape to help them thrive. English English Adult
Florida-Friendly Landscaping™: Planting for Suncoast Butterflies Learn how to attract and ID local butterflies. Learn how to identify a few of the most common and interesting butterflies. Then learn about what plants you can place in your landscape to help them thrive. English English Adult
Florida-Friendly Landscaping™: Planting for Suncoast Hummingbirds Learn how to attract and ID local Hummingbirds. Then learn about what plants you can place in your landscape to help them thrive. English English Adult
Florida-Friendly Landscaping™: Planting for Wildlife and Pollinators Learn the basics of creating a wildlife oasis in your backyard, with a priority on birds and pollinators. Includes native plant recommendations for our area. English Adult
Florida-Friendly Landscaping™: Planting Trees for the Suncoast Learn how to plant and establish a tree, then receive researched recommendations for native, flowering, and hurricane resistant trees that will thrive in our area. English Adult
Florida-Friendly Landscaping™: Reducing Stormwater Runoff Learn how you can help our community reduce storm water runoff to protect our water quality and prevent flooding. Rain barrels, rain gardens, bioswales, and more covered. English Adult
Palms: Facts and Fiction Description: Learn all about Florida palms, from planting to pruning. Get the real story on “hurricane cuts,” how caring for palms differs from tree care, and a slew of tips and techniques. English Adult
School Gardening Ready to start or expand a school garden? Learn the benefits of school gardens, how to incorporate curriculum, get a site visit to evaluate space, and more. English Adult
Succulent Container Gardening Learn to design a succulent-based planter with a hands-on demonstration led by a Master Gardener Volunteer. Class provides an overview of tools, soil and water needs, design, and plant selection. (Available Oct-Apr). English Adult
The Tale of Atala and Coontie: A Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Success Story Learn about the Atala butterfly that is back from the brink of extinction in part due to our Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ choices. The history of the Atala's host plant and our colonization of Florida is an interesting one. English Adult
Veggie Face Art Allows students to create a hands-on "Veggie Faces" art project and touch on the concept of "temporary art." Site supplies the veggies for the activity. Note: Includes communal activities; available again after autumn 2021. Ages 8 and up English Youth
Natural Resources
Topic Description Age Group
4-H Outdoor InvestiGATOR Youth ages 8-14 learn the importance of insects, animals, and the variety of living things around them through hands-on activities, scientific observation, experiment and more. English Youth
Backyard Wildlife Investigations Family or youth programming covering hands-on activities for youth to explore wildlife in their own back yard. Offered as single-topic or serial sessions. English Youth
Bird Beak Adaptations UNDER DEVELOPMENT English Youth
Flower Anatomy and Dissection UNDER DEVELOPMENT English Youth
Full Moon Outing We'll discuss an array of lunar and night-sky aspects, as we experience the full moon at a nearby park location in a family-oriented outing. Scheduled dependent on full moon. English Youth
Guided Tour: Mangroves and Estuarine Ecosystems Request a guided tour at Ken Thompson Park (or similar area) to explore mangrove ecosystems, including the array of estuarine creatures found there. English Adult, Youth
Guided Tour: Nature Walks Request a guided tour at an area park to explore aspects of our amazing Florida environment. Tailored to topic request, as available. English Adult, Youth
Health Benefits of Nature (Biodiversity) Join us for an exploration of finding peace within nature, and learn how the loss of natural biodiversity impacts human health. English Adult
Health Benefits of Nature (Meditation) Join us for an exploration of finding peace within nature, and learn about the associated health benefits. Includes shinrin yoku experience. English Adult
Invasive Species (plants, animals or combination) UNDER DEVELOPMENT English Adult
Owl Pellet Dissection Florida is home to an array of astounding owls. Get a better understanding of how they survive, with a closer look at what they eat but later regurgitate. Fee possible, dependent on subject matter. English Youth
Project Learning Tree UNDER DEVELOPMENT (Help students better understand our environment, their role in it, and how to protect it, with this hands-on educational program.) English Adult
Save the Drops: Water Conservation Inside Your Home and In Your Landscape Learn about Sarasota County's water supply and treatment, and conserving water in your home's bathroom, kitchen, pool, landscape, and more. English Adult
The Hydrologic Cycle Learn how water moves through our environment and get information about local conservation issues. Provides a hands-on bead bracelet activity. English Youth
Waste Reduction Learn how to maximize recycling in the workplace, reduce waste, cut your plastic use, get started with composting and more. English Adult, Youth
Wild Sarasota Take a walk on the wild side... of Sarasota, and learn about our amazing wildlife. Topics include owls, eagles, bats, alligators, coyotes, bobcats/panthers, gopher tortoises, and scrub-jays. English Adult
Worms Get the lowdown on the anatomy of worms and their benefits to our soil. Provides a hands-on learning experience. English Youth
Nutrition and Healthy Living
Topic Description Age Group
Age-Friendly: Healthy Eating and Hydration Stay healthy as you age, with strategies that add healthy eating and hydration into your routine English Adult
Age-Friendly: Swallowing Problems and Texture Modification Learn to identify the signs of chewing and swallowing problems, and how to prepare appealing texture-modified meals English Adult
Closing Up Your Florida Home Unoccupied homes in Florida are prime targets for mildew growth, storm damage, and pests. Learn how to prepare your home – inside and out – before leaving for a long time. Checklist provided. English Adult
Cooking with Herbs and Spices Herbs and spices not only add flavor, they also can help reduce your sodium, fat and sugar intake. Get advice on using herbs and spices in meals, and how to properly store them. English Adult
Disaster Preparedness Get tips and techniques to prepare now for unexpected disasters, like tropical storms, which can cut services and force you from your home. Includes discussion of food saftety, emergency supply kits and more. English Adult
Making Savvy Decisions at the Grocery Store Get information and advice on how to save money at the store, keep food safe, reduce food waste, and more English Adult
Preserving Food Through Dehydration Teaches the basics of dehydrating, what foods are most suitable and what features to look for when purchasing a dehydrator. English Adult
Topic Description Age Group
Age-Friendly Housing: Universal Design and Visitability Shares basic principles of Universal Design and Visitability to assist residents and their family members plan for age-friendly housing. English Adult
Climate Change Science and Solutions Outlines the basic concepts of climate change science and uses an interactive method to engage attendees in understanding the most effective global solutions to reduce greenhouse gases and sequester carbon. Middle or high school youth English Adult, Youth
Electric Avenue: Supporting Electric Vehicles in Sarasota County Learn the basics of electric vehicles, the benefits they provide, purchasing considerations, and area charging infrastructure. An example vehicle will be available to view on site, for in-person event. English Adult
Energy and Water Conservation Learn energy- and water-saving techniques at home, and get an introduction to sustainability. English Youth
Energy Upgrade Learn cost-saving strategies for residents, what to look for in contractors, do-it-yourself opportunities and more. Attendees receive a free "DIY Energy Saving Kit" with LED light bulbs, faucet aerators, and more. Available in Spanish English, Spanish Adult
Energy Vampire Children learn about energy savings at home and "energy vampires" through a hands-on art project making vampires out of art supplies, along with a take-home energy vampire worksheet. English Youth
Financing Home Energy and Hurricane Improvements: PACE and Beyond Learn about energy financing in Sarasota County with the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program, as well as other energy financing options that are available to you. English Adult
Green Buildings in Our Community A look at Sarasota County’s approach to green building, certified "green buildings" locally, different certification programs, and how to earn points towards certification through credit categories. English Adult
Green Living Get started on the road to sustainable living, with an introduction in the categories of energy, water, waste, transportation and food, along with with local resources to help you. English Adult
Green Living Backpack Kit Get started with sustainability and living more "green," with an activity from our Family Green Living Kit (available at Sarasota County public libraries). Topics include food, waste, transportation, and more. English Youth
Introduction to Sarasota County Sustainability Learn what Sarasota County Sustainability can do for you, and how you can get involved. English Adult
Solar Energy Basics for Kids Get the basics and benefits of solar energy by exploring a solar photovoltaic panel, and get a DIY solar oven s'mores cooker demonstration (virtual) or hands-on activity (in person). English Youth
Solar in the Sunshine State: The Basics of Solar Energey for Florida Homeownersl Boost your understanding of solar energy, with a workshop that delves on basic technology, calculating return on investment, policies affecting solar adoption, and incentives to help pay for it. English Adult
Topic Description Age Group
4-H and Sustainability More than 100 years making the best better! A family-oriented overview of the 4-H program and its efforts, along with how to get engaged and support the program! English Adult, Youth
4-H Outdoor InvestiGATOR Youth ages 8-14 learn the importance of insects, animals, and the variety of living things around them through hands-on activities, scientific observation, experiment and more. Ages 8-14 English Youth
4-H SPIN Club Introduce youth to environmental education, marine science, STEM, civic engagement, leadership and an array of other special topics, with six hours of activity. Option for during- or after-school hours. Special-interest club English Youth
Full Moon Outing We'll discuss an array of lunar and night-sky aspects, as we experience the full moon at a nearby park location in a family-oriented outing. Scheduled dependent on full moon. English Youth
Topic Description Age Group
Introduction to Extension and What it Offers Presents the basic concept behind the national Cooperative Extension System, as well as programs and expertise offered by UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County. English Adult


Lee Hayes Byron
County Extension Director

6700 Clark Road
Sarasota, Fla. 34241

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  8a to 5p, Mon–Fri

Plant Clinic
  In-person: 9a to 3p, Mon–Wed
  Learn more: Plant Clinic web page