Extension Welcomes New Director
Mr. Bryan Dailey has joined us as the Director for UF/IFAS Sarasota County Extension. He most recently served as the Director of Information Technology for Cornell University Cooperative Extension in New York City. He joined Cornell University in 1998 as a researcher and then as an Extension agent on projects related to soils, water quality, and forests. He has also consulted on projects related to composting systems and renewable energy. Mr. Dailey has extensive experience overseas, including service as a Peace Corps volunteer in Africa.
Mr. Dailey's experience includes program and operations management, and leading diverse teams to solve interdisciplinary problems. He holds a bachelor's degree from Georgetown University, a MS in agronomy and MBA from Cornell University. He and his wife Lisa have two boys, ages 2 and 4, and his parents have lived in Sarasota County for 15 years. Mr. Dailey began his service on November 8, 2013, and his broad experience will be an asset as Sarasota County Extension continues to deliver research-based education to help build a better future.
We're hosting a meet and greet from 4 - 6 p.m. on December 13 here at the Green Building, so please stop by and join us in welcoming Mr. Dailey to Sarasota County Extension!
Sustainable Communities Workshop
Sarasota County's 8th annual 2013 Sustainable Communities Workshop will take place Wednesday, Dec. 18, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., at the Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida Event and Conference Center, 4780 Cattlemen Road, Sarasota. This popular interactive workshop draws leaders from industry, government, and university programs to share their expertise and strategies for achieving a more sustainable future through job creating and community building programs and innovations. From alternative transportation and eco-tourism to the future of the built environment, the workshop will highlight national trends as well as local successes. Of particular note this year is the workshop's focus on green business practices and building resilience in local food supplies. To learn more about the event and to register, contact the Sarasota County Call Center at 941-861-5000, or click here.
Seeds of Change
World-class researchers with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences play a key role in breeding crops adapted to Florida's climate and improving specialty crops like blueberries, strawberries and tomatoes. In "Seeds of Change", Melissa Klinzing looks at how scientists and farmers work together on these programs. Watch the video here.
Consumer Public Opinion of Food
The UF/IFAS Center for Public Issues Education (PIE Center) recently released a public opinion survey of Floridians perceptions of food issues. The survey included questions about consumers' perceptions of food security, food safety, and genetically modified organisms (GMOs).These issues are important to the sustainability of the agricultural industry, human well-being and the future of food. Read the UF/IFAS article.
Oak Park Garden Project Complete
Following up from the story in July's issue, Master Gardener Bonnie Feise completed her project assisting students with special needs at Oak Park School. A lovely garden with fencing was installed, along with a 300 pound turtle sculpture. The project was finished in preparation of school going back into session in August. Students were welcomed back to their classrooms by the cheerful turtle. The project greatly enhances the view and provides mental stimulation for wheelchair-bound youth. Thanks to Bonnie for all of her hard work on this important, meaningful project!
UF Sprouts get School Gardens Growing
UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County partnered with the Farm to School District Representative and the UF Research Center in Immokolee to provide starter plants and seeds to schools with gardens. Immokolee staff worked hard over the summer months preparing edible starters to have them ready for installation at the beginning of school year. In September, Farm to School representatives and Sarasota's Community and School Gardens Coordinator transported the plants and seeds from Immokolee to make them available to teachers locally, and in surrounding counties. The effort saves crucial time for teachers, and ensures the plants will be ready for harvest before Christmas Break. Students will benefit from increased agricultural awareness while they participate in various school garden programs. This is a great example of partnering between programs and utilizing available resources to serve the needs of our community!
Bee Ridge Community Garden Opens!
Sarasota's newest community garden is up and running! In early 2012, a small group of interested citizens came together to form a community garden at Bee Ridge Park. After a successful grant application through Sarasota County's Neighborhood Grant program, the volunteer group set about project construction. Fencing, raised beds and pathways were installed, along with lovely edible plants. The project was completed on schedule in July 2013, and an official "grand-opening" will be planned in the coming months. Bee Ridge Community Garden joins the list of 8 successful community gardens located at public parks throughout the county. Community gardens provide a space to grow healthy produce, meet neighbors and are an enjoyable physical and recreational activity for program participants. Way to go Bee Ridge volunteers- you have made your vision a reality!
Healthier Holiday Cooking
Holiday celebrations can include many family members and friends, which often means lots of food. Some traditional recipes call for heavy amounts of sugars and fats, but there are easy ways to substitute for these ingredients so you can stay healthy during the holiday season.Click here for some ideas.
Budgetting for the Holidays
The holidays are traditionally a time to get together with friends and family to celebrate. With the excitement of the season, it's also a time when people overspend. Making a holiday budget beforehand can save you these financial worries. Learn how here.
Saving Money at the Grocery Store
If your pocket book is feeling the squeeze this holiday season, a little effort can go a long way toward stretching your family's food budget. Having a good shopping list - based on your budget, meal plans and providing balanced nutrition - is your number one tool to help you save money at the grocery store. Learn more about saving money at the grocery store here.
Neighboring Nature: Coyotes
Coyotes (Canis latrans) have been in Florida for many years. Once strictly a western species, this medium-sized predator is extremely adaptable, thriving in urban, suburban and rural areas. Removing coyotes is not an effect means of managing their populations because when coyotes are removed, remaining individuals compensate by increasing litter size and new coyotes move into areas where others have been removed. Continue reading to learn more about living with urban coyotes.
Picking a Greener Christmas Tree
In general, artificial trees are less messy and easier to put up than real trees. They can also be healthier for your family, since some children may be allergic to real trees. Artificial trees can be higher-priced than real trees, but they can also be reused for many years.
Unfortunately, most artificial trees end up in landfills when they go out of style or become worn. Real cut trees can be recycled or used in compost piles.
A living Christmas tree--with roots still attached--is an environmentally friendly version of the traditional Christmas tree. You can select from a variety of living trees. Species well-adapted for Florida include red cedar, Arizona cypress, sand pine, and junipers. Other tree species are not suited for Florida's climate, so before you pick out your tree, find out what kind it is. After the holidays are over, you can plant the tree in your yard. Fortunately, January is the best time to plant trees in Florida. Read on for more tips on enjoying these holiday decorations in a safe and environmentally friendly way.
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