February 26, 2013

2013 Florida Seafood Brown Bag Webinar Series

The UF/IFAS Florida Sea Grant Extension Programs in Collier and Miami-Dade Counties have kicked off the 2013 Florida Seafood Brown Bag Webinar Series.

This year’s series focuses on Florida Seafood Health and Safety. Seafood is a nutritious, high protein and low-fat food choice, yet confusion exists about potential risks associated with consuming and preparing it. 

Topics will include the health and nutrition, the Mercury debate, seafood regulations, and safety. These webinars are intended for general audiences and will address commonly asked consumer questions. The webinars are concise and conveniently scheduled during the lunch hour for easy access.

To register for these free webinars, visit:

12:15 pm to 12:45 pm EST
Thurs, April 11Seafood and Mercury
Wed, June 12Seafood Health and Nutrition
Wed, August 14Seafood Regulatory Oversight
Wed, October 9Seafood Safety at Home

For more information on Seafood Safety, visit

February 25, 2013

Pinellas County citizens survey opens online and on the go

Got two minutes to help shape the future of Pinellas County?

Residents can take a brief online survey to share their vision about what is good and what needs improvement in Pinellas County. How do people’s priorities align with present realities? What do they want the county to be like in five years?

As the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners continues to set a strategic direction for the community, feedback from the survey will help set priorities that align with the vision of the citizens they serve.

Citizens can take the survey from 9 a.m. Monday, Feb. 25, to 5 p.m. Friday, March 1.

The survey has gone mobile this year and is accessible at The survey can also be found on the Pinellas County website at

“The online survey is one of the tools we are using during the initial phase of prioritizing for the next year’s budget and as we continue to set long-range strategic direction this feedback will guide us toward a vision the community shares,” said Pinellas County Administrator Bob LaSala. “It is absolutely necessary to gather this feedback in order to learn the goals of the residents as individuals and then ultimately as a community.”

This is the third year that the county commission has collected input from residents with an online survey. It follows a statistically valid phone survey that was taken during the past month which targeted a cross-section of the county’s residents. The results of both surveys will be posted online once the information is compiled.

Another opportunity to offer feedback and interact with the county commissioners is coming up on Wednesday, April 10, from 5:30 to 8 p.m., when the Pinellas County 2014 Budget Community Forum is held at the Seminole campus of St. Petersburg College in the Digitorium. An open house and eTownHall will give officials and residents a chance to talk about budget issues and the future of the community.

For more information on Pinellas County services and programs, visit, now with LiveChat, or create a shortcut to on any mobile device. Pinellas County government is on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Pinellas County complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

February 22, 2013

Extension Launches New Sustainable Living Facebook Page

These are exciting times for social media and many organizations are reaching new audiences on Facebook. The University of Florida has jumped into social media and UF IFAS Extension: Solutions for Your Life is on Facebook now and covers a wide variety of topics from UF/IFAS Extension.

Pinellas County Extension just launched several new Facebook sites and a new site is available that covers Sustainable Living topics. Find us at UF IFAS Pinellas County Extension Sustainable Living. This site will cover lots of topics including energy, climate, green practices, local foods, and the cutting edge science on sustainable practices. “Like “ us on Facebook and join a community of people learning and sharing about sustainable living.

Recent Post:

Remember the old clotheslines? Do you still have one? Remember the smell of sun dried sheets! Dryers use a lot of energy. Tell us about your clothesline.

Here is an interesting site.
Project Laundry List

February 20, 2013

Lawn and Garden Help Available Near You!

Theresa Badurek    
Urban Horticulture Extension Agent
and Master Gardener Coordinator

Spring is near and so are the many pesky lawn and garden problems that come along with it. Your Pinellas County Extension service has solutions for you- now available in three locations for north, central, and south county residents. Master Gardeners and/or horticulturists are available at all three locations to look at samples that are brought in by residents, identify plants and insects and address many other horticulture problems.

Where you can go for help:

North: Pinellas County Master Gardener Plant Clinic at the Palm Harbor Library located at 2330 Nebraska Ave., Palm Harbor, FL 34683. This clinic is open on Wednesdays from 10am-2pm. Palm Harbor Library website:

Central: The original Lawn and Garden Help Desk located at the Extension office at 12520 Ulmerton Road in Largo is open M-F from 8am-5pm (excluding holidays). Pinellas County Extension website:

South: This location is brand new! Pinellas County Extension has set up a Master Gardener Plant Clinic at Weedon Island Preserve located at 1800 Weedon Drive NE in St. Petersburg. This clinic is open on Wednesdays from 10am-2pm through the months of February, March and April. Weedon Island Preserve website:

What kinds of questions do you have? Bring them to one of our experts and find the solutions you have been looking for. Our service is free and can save you time, money, energy, water, and frustration. We can also help you learn what to grow and when and where to grow it.

Some common questions we answer:

  • How do start a vegetable garden? 
  • When should I prune my trees? 
  • How do I care for my citrus? 
  • How can I care for my lawn with fewer pesticides? 
  • What is this bug?!

…and so much more! So, load up your samples and/or photos, bring a notebook if you like, and come on by to learn more.

February 1, 2013

Florida Scrub-Jay

James Stevenson,
Urban Sustainability Educator,
Pinellas County Extension

The Florida Scrub-Jay is the only bird species in Florida that is found nowhere else. This original Native Floridian inhabits the most critically endangered landscape type in the world: scrub. While scrub may (arguably) not be the most beautiful and lush ecosystem type, it is unique and hosts many species dependant on the water and fire regimes that define this landscape.

Scrub is disappearing from Florida due to several reasons; development, agriculture and fire suppression. As a result, many of the species of plants and animals that inhabit scrub have become threatened, endangered or extinct altogether. The Scrub-Jay is no exception, and in the last century populations of Scrub-Jay have declined 80-90% (Johnson, et al, 2012).

In addition to habitat loss due to development and agriculture, roads have proven to be particularly treacherous for these charismatic birds. Tending to fly low across paved roads, the birds have seen a tremendous negative impact of living in fragmented parcels bounded by roadways, and traffic mortalities are high.

Another threat from human development is the introduction of non-native predators that kill indiscriminately like feral cats. What can be done? Many of Florida landowners have realized that “Old Florida” is disappearing and they are taking steps to repair decades of degradation. Once again using fire to restore native ecosystems has proven to be effective in slowly restoring Florida scrub. Campaigns to educate the public on the importance of keeping non-native predators, like cats, indoors has been a little less effective, sometimes becoming a catalyst for heated argument. Learn more about these fascinating birds and their unique habitat by attending Florida Scrub-Jays on Saturday, February 9 from 10:30 – noon at the Brooker Creek Preserve Environmental Education Center. State expert Craig Faulhaber will introduce participants to these fascinating birds and what is being done to protect them.

Register for this free class by visiting

References: The Florida Scrub-Jay: A Species in Peril