Tag Archive: Celebrate

5 Ways To Celebrate Gratitude

Not much can make one happier that the warm scents of pumpkin spice, twinkling festive lights, and the joyous spirits that the holiday seasons bring many families.  As the Thanksgiving holiday season approaches and we find ourselves dashing from one from one festive event to another, it becomes a wonderful opportunity to pause with our family members and reflect on how we can continue to apply one of our very important 4-H essential elements, generosity, into the holiday season to demonstrate simple acts of gratitude, that being that one is thankful for the kindness of others.  Research supports that individuals are observed to be happier, healthier, and have a more positive outlook when they practice being grateful on a regular basis (Berrena, 2016).

4-H supports the life skills of nurturing relationships and concern for others through generosity.  Gratitude is just one of many ways that we as a 4-H family can foster generosity, compassion, and kindness for others.  By helping our children recognize and thank those that are important in their lives and also by appreciating what they currently have available to them, it will make their best better, even on challenging days.

Expressing gratitude should be a daily act and does not have to be complicated or costly.  In fact, expressing gratitude can be quite fun and can also be a creative outlet and even incorporated into a family togetherness project.  For the sake of the holidays, below are five festive ways that you and your family can express gratitude in the coming days.

  1. “I am thankful for…” Statements – Expressing gratitude can be as simple as sharing what you are thankful for aloud to others. Start a daily habit of having each member of your family create a “I am thankful for…” statement.  Remind your family as you begin this activity that they can share their grateful statements with others throughout the day.
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  2. Colorful Place Mats – If you are looking for a creative outlet for your family, putting crayons to paper to design colorful place mats are a wonderful way to capture their gratitude! Simply grab some construction paper, crayons, and instruct the children to write, “I am thankful for…” at the top of the paper.  Then design away!  Once done, you can easily laminate the artwork so spills can be wiped away during the holiday meals.  These lovely gratitude place mats will become keepsakes for years to come!
  3. Acts of Kindness – When you and your family can, it is always great to give of your time to others. Organizations such as food pantries or homeless shelters can always use assistance.  You can easily find individuals in your community that may need special assistance with getting firewood or even holiday shopping. If your time is limited, contact an organization to see what other needs they have such as food or monetary donations.
  4. Tree of Thanks – Another creative activity you and your children can easily put together for the dinner table and add to it throughout the holiday season is the Tree of Thanks. Simply gather a tree limb of whatever size you prefer for your table piece and provide your family with paper leaf cutouts and crayons.  Each evening before dinner, have your family decorate a paper leaf with something that they are thankful for.  During the dinner meal, have a family discussion on gratitude and what the leaf means to them.  When the discussion is done, hang the leaf on your Tree of Thanks.  At the end of the holiday season, your family will have a beautiful display to be proud of!
  5. Thoughtful Notes – Handwritten notes are still wonderful ways to express how much you are thankful for others. Even better are notes that are handmade by children!   It takes little time, a blank sheet of paper, and a few crayons to create a thoughtful note to give to someone.  Make a point this holiday season to tell someone just how much they mean to you in the form of a written note.  I guarantee you the note will be cherished for years to come!

So, remember, gratitude is all about the positive attitude.  It is a gift not only for the person you are sharing it with but also, it is a gift for yourself.  Focusing on what you do have increases your level of happiness.  Go forth, apply generosity, and be grateful this holiday season!  Happy Holidays!

References:

Berrena, E.  (2016).  Practice Gratitude.  [Online], Available at: http://extension.psu.edu/youth/prosper/news/2016/practice-gratitude

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Author: Niki Crawson – ncrawson@ufl.edu

Niki Crawson is the Holmes County 4-H Extension Agent in the NW District.

Niki Crawson

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/11/17/5-ways-to-celebrate-gratitude/

UF/IFAS Experts to Celebrate Animal Agriculture at the Sunbelt Ag Expo October 18-20

UF/IFAS Experts to Celebrate Animal Agriculture at the Sunbelt Ag Expo October 18-20

Panhandle Ag Team members Matt Hersom, Doug Mayo and Mark Mauldin provided information on forages at the UF/IFAS barn at the 2015 Sunbelt Expo.

Panhandle Ag Team members Matt Hersom, Doug Mayo, and Mark Mauldin provided information on forages at the UF/IFAS Barn at the 2015 Sunbelt Expo.

Samantha Grenrock, UF/IFAS Communications Service

University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences faculty will be sharing their expertise on the theme of Florida’s Animal Agriculture at the 39th annual Sunbelt Ag Expo — the largest agricultural expo in the southeast.

About 80,000 people are expected to attend the expo, held October 18 through 20 in Moultrie, Georgia.

“Our experts in UF/IFAS Extension are thrilled to represent our programs, and we are proud to participate in such an important event. It is a great opportunity to meet others who are as passionate about agriculture as we are,” said Nick Place, dean of UF/IFAS Extension.

Visitors come to the expo to learn about the latest agricultural research, technology and marketing tools, according to the expo web site.

At the permanent UF/IFAS building, displays and exhibits will tell the story of Florida’s animal industries, starting with the resources that go into raising animals and ending with the safe preparation of animal proteins. In addition, attendees can hear presentations on livestock forages and poisonous plants by UF/IFAS researchers in the expo’s Beef Barn, or head over to the pond section to learn more about Florida’s fisheries.

Visitors to the UF/IFAS building will also get a chance to sample some “Gator Giveaways,” such as peanuts from the Florida Peanut Growers Association and Florida Orange Juice from Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company.

Representatives from the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) will host a booth where high school students and their families can learn about the wide range of degrees and educational opportunities in the college.

The Sunbelt Ag Expo is held at Spence Field, 4 miles southeast of U.S. 319 (Veteran’s Parkway) on Georgia Highway 133 near Moultrie. Expo hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, and 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday. Admission is $ 10 a person per day, or $ 20 for a three-day pass. Children 10 and under, accompanied by a parent get in free.

For more information, visit www.sunbeltexpo.com or download the free 2016 Sunbelt Ag Expo app on your Smartphone.

 

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Author: admin – webmaster@ifas.ufl.edu

admin

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/10/15/ufifas-experts-to-celebrate-animal-agriculture-at-the-sunbelt-ag-expo-october-18-20/

Celebrate National Blueberry Month!

blueberry-monthDid you know that July is National Blueberry Month? Blueberries are in season now, and reasonably priced at grocery stores, fruit stands, and farmers’ markets.  Many growers also offer a “pick your own” service which can be a fun family outing.  The good news is that this delicious treat has many health benefits.  Blueberries are low in calories- only 80 calories per cup but are packed with nutrients.  A handful of blueberries satisfy the recommended intake of dietary fiber.  They are also high in vitamin C- one serving provides 25% of your daily requirement.  Blueberries are also high in manganese, which helps the body process cholesterol and nutrients such as carbohydrates and protein.

Blueberries are a native North American plant, and it was only within the last 100 years that we have been able to grow them commercially.  All thanks to Elizabeth White, the daughter of a New Jersey farmer, teamed up with USDA botanist Frederick Coville to domesticate the blueberry.  They spent years identifying blueberry plants with desirable qualities for cultivation.  They harvested and sold the first cultivated crop of blueberries in 1916- exactly 100 years ago!  Until 20 years ago, blueberries could only be grown in northern climates like New Jersey, Maine, and Michigan.  Thanks to the University of Florida, southern blueberry cultivars were developed through research that don’t require as many chilling hours and bear more fruit.  Although Florida is not currently the leading producer of blueberries, we are quickly catching up with 25 million pounds produced annually!

Fun Facts about Blueberries:

  • Blueberries are relatives of the rhododendron family
  • The perfect blueberry should have a “dusty’ appearance
  • Don’t wash your blueberries until you are ready to eat them (washing speeds up the spoiling process).
  • To freeze blueberries, place them unwashed, on a cookie sheet and flash freeze.  Then place them in quart-size freezer bags to use later in smoothies, crumbles, cobblers, or ice cream.
  • Recent studies show that blueberries may have the potential to aid in memory loss, vision loss and even slow down the aging process
  • Native Americans recognized the nutritional value of blueberries and used them for medicinal purposes as well as flavorings
  • Early American Colonists used blueberries to dye fabric and also to color paint

This month, celebrate the blueberry by planting a bush, visiting a U-pick farm, or making a tasty home-made blueberry treat.  Fresh From Florida (a division of the Florida Department of Ag) has lots of free and delicious recipes.  Try Florida Blueberry Parfait, Blueberry Breakfast Casserole, Blueberry and Blue Cheese Salad  or even Blueberry Barbecue Sauce!

Additional UF/IFAS Resources about Blueberries:

 

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Author: Heather Kent – hckent@ufl.edu

Heather Kent is the Regional Specialized 4-H Agent in the Northwest Extension District.

Heather Kent

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/07/08/celebrate-national-blueberry-month/

Celebrate Gopher Tortoise Day – April 10

Celebrate Gopher Tortoise Day – April 10

This gopher tortoise was found in the dune fields on a barrier island - an area where they were once found. Photo: DJ Zemenick

This gopher tortoise was found in the dune fields on a barrier island – an area where they were once found.
Photo: DJ Zemenick

The state of Florida has designated Sunday April 10 as “Gopher Tortoise Day”.  The objective is to bring awareness to this declining species and, hopefully, an interest in protecting it.

 

During his travels across the southeast in the late 18th century, William Bartram mentioned this creature several times.  As he walked through miles of open longleaf pine he would climb sand hills where he often encountered the tortoise.  These turtles do like high dry sandy habitats.  Here they dig their famous burrows into the earth.

 

These burrows can extend almost 10 feet vertically below the surface but, being excavated at an angle, can extend 20 feet in length. There is only one entrance and the tortoise works hard to maintain it.  Field biologists have been able to identify over 370 species of upland creatures that utilize these burrows as refuge either for short or long periods of time. These include the declining diamondback rattlesnakes, gopher frogs, and the endangered indigo snakes, but most are insects and small mammals.  Because of the importance of the burrows to these species, gopher tortoises are listed as keystone species – meaning their decline will trigger the decline of the others and can upset the balance of the ecosystem. Gopher burrows can be distinguished from mammal burrows in that they are domed across the top but flat along the bottom, as opposed to being oval.  The width of the burrow is close to the length of the tortoise. When danger is encountered the tortoise will turn sideways – effectively blocking the entire entrance.  Though there are cases of multiple tortoises in one, the general rule is one tortoise per burrow.

 

Tortoises are herbivores, feeding on a variety of young herbaceous shoots, and fruit when they can get find them. Fire is important to the longleaf system and it is important to the gophers as well.  Fires encourage new young shoots to sprout.  If an area does not receive sufficient fire, and the ground vegetation allowed grow larger with tougher leaves, the tortoise will abandon their burrow and seek more suitable habitat – which, especially in Florida – is becoming harder and harder to find.  They typically breed in the fall and will lay their 5-10 eggs in the loose sand near the entrance of the burrow in spring.  In August the hatchlings emerge and may hide beneath leaf litter, but will quickly begin their own burrows.

 

This tortoise is only found in the southeast of the United States and it is in decline across the region. They are currently listed as threatened in Florida but are federally protected in Louisiana, Mississippi, and western Alabama.  They are found across our state as far south as the Everglades.  There are several reasons why their numbers have declined.  Human consumption was common in the early parts of the 20th century, and still is in some locations – though illegal.  Some would, at times, pour gasoline down the burrow to capture rattlesnakes – this of course did not fare well for the tortoise.  A big problem is the loss of suitable habitat.  Much of upland systems require periodic fires to maintain the reproductive cycle of community members.  The suppression of fire has caused the decline of many species in our state including gopher tortoises.  These under maintained forest have forced tortoises to roadsides, power line fields, airports, and pastures.  In each case they have encountered humans with cars, lawn mowers, and heavy equipment.  Keep in mind also that our growing population is forcing us to clear much of these upland habitats for developments where clearing has caused the burial (entombment) of many burrows.

 

This is a unique turtle to our region and honestly, is a pleasure to see. We hope you will take the time to learn more about them by visiting FWC’s Gopher Tortoise Day website, enjoy watching them if they live near you, and help us conserve this species for future generations.

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Author: Rick O’Connor – roc1@ufl.edu

Sea Grant Extension Agent in Escambia County

Rick O’Connor

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/04/08/celebrate-gopher-tortoise-day-april-10/

Celebrate Earth Day, Then Make Earth Day Every Day!

Earth Day

Earth Day is honored around the world on April 22, with many festivals, activities and events being held in in the weeks prior. April 22 marks Earth Day. Help build a better future and preserve Mother Earth by committing to protect our environment year-round.

The origin of Earth Day is linked to the 1969 Santa Barbara, California oil spill. Wisconsin Senator, Gaylord Nelson, envisioned protecting the nation’s environment after the massive oil spill in California. This led to a movement to increase awareness of environmental pollution. Nelson, partnered with Congressman Pete McCloskey and Denis Hayes of Harvard University to put the Earth Day plan in motion. Earth Day, April 22, 1970 was the catalyst to increase environmental awareness and led to the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Hayes further expanded the Earth Day movement in 1990 into a global event.

Why do we need an Earth Day? Because it works! Earth Day broadens the base of support for environmental programs, rekindles public commitment and builds community activism around the world through a broad range of events and activities.

What can I do for Earth Day? The possibilities for getting involved are endless! Volunteer. Change a habit. Plant a garden. Do something nice for the Earth. April 22 marks Earth Day. Mark your calendar to attend an event or do something positive to preserve your little piece of Mother Earth.

A few Earth Day Events

Earth Day Bay County, April 9, 2016 10 am to 4 pm at McKenzie Park. The University of Florida’s Museum of Natural History will host an Earth Day Exploration on Saturday, April 16, 2016 from 10 am to 3 pm. Earth Day Pensacola, April 23, 2016 10 am to 4 pm. .

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Author: Marie Arick – jmarick@ufl.edu

Originally from Starkville, Mississippi, Arick obtained both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Mississippi State University. With her bachelor’s degree in Fitness Management/Exercise Science, Arick spent 18 years in the medical field primarily in Cardiology before obtaining her Master’s degree in Health Promotion. “I witnessed first-hand the impact on one’s health and overall wellness produced by a serious ailment and the need for more educational programs to aid in improving the overall quality of life for people. This is not just isolated to health education and wellness, but also financial literacy and job skill programs as well. I feel addressing issues with a holistic approach can help people maximize their abilities and that small changes over time can provide a very positive and beneficial impact on people’s lives”
https://Jackson.ifas.ufl.edu

Marie Arick

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/04/01/celebrate-earth-day-then-make-earth-day-every-day/

4-H Friendly Ways to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

Use St. Patrick's Day to learn about Irish culture in your 4-H club

Use St. Patrick’s Day to learn about Irish culture in your 4-H club

I just discovered a few years ago that my great-grandmother, whom I never met, was an Irish redhead. I found this very exciting. It made me much more interested in learning about the history of St. Patrick’s Day, beyond wearing green. We live in a culture where we look for the next person or event to celebrate. For those who are Irish, St. Patrick’s Day is a time to reflect and celebrate their culture and traditions. So, although you may not be Irish, why not learn more about the Irish culture and why they are proud of their heritage? At your March 4-H club meetings, it would be fun to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and incorporate the four-leaf clover and relate it back to the 4-H clover and what they both represent. Whether you are a 4-H leader or a teacher or parent looking for creative ideas, I hope you enjoy this brief history lesson and a few suggestions.

Let’s start from the beginning…

Who was St. Patrick?  St. Patrick is the beloved patron saint of Ireland. The Irish are famous for spinning exaggerated tales. Despite the infamous stories traditionally attributed to St Patrick, this is what we actually known about his life. We do know that St. Patrick was born in Britain and that at the age of 16 was captured by Irish raiders who attacked his family’s estate. He was then transported to Ireland where he was held captive for six years, living a solitary, lonely life as a shepherd. It was then that he became a devout Christian, embracing his religion for solace. From his writing, we know that a voice, which he believed to be that of God, spoke to him in a dream, urging him to leave Ireland. He did. Walking nearly 200 miles, St. Patrick escaped to Britain and undertook serious religious training.

After 15 years of study, Patrick was ordained as a priest and sent to Ireland. His mission was to minister to Christians and to convert the Irish, then pre-dominantly pagans, to Christianity. Because St. Patrick was familiar with the Irish language and culture from his years of captivity, he chose to incorporate Irish ritual and symbols into his teachings rather than to eradicate Irish beliefs.

Why Do We Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in America?  The history of St. Patrick’s Day in America begins with Irish soldiers serving in the British army. The celebration’s focus is based on a tale of the Irish and evolving political power. The very first parade in New York City in 1762, not only helped the homesick Irish soldiers connect with their roots through the familiar strains of traditional Irish music, usually featuring bagpipes and drums, but also helped them to connect with one another, finding strength in numbers. Over the years as nearly a million Irish immigrants fled to America in the wake of the Great Potato Famine, St. Patrick’s Day parades became a display of solidarity and political strength as the often ridiculed Irish immigrants were frequently victims of prejudice. Soon enough, however, their numbers would be recognized and the Irish would organize and exert their political muscle, becoming known as the “green machine.”

Today, although less religious, St. Patrick’s Day celebrations continue to be a show of Irish strength and patriotism. So, put on your GREEN and get ready to celebrate!

4-H Club Meeting, Classroom, and Family Theme Ideas for March:

1) During a meeting or event read a “thought for the day” and use an Irish quote.

Example:      May your blessings outnumber

                               The shamrocks that grow,

                               And may trouble avoid you

                               Wherever you go.

-An Irish Toast

2) Encourage the youth to wear green.

3) Provide or encourage youth to bring themed snacks to share, such as,

  • Sliced fruit designed in shape of a rainbow, with vanilla wafers as the pot of gold, and yogurt fruit dip
  • Rice Krispy treats colored with green food coloring and cut into four-leaf clover
  • Green colored pudding or popsicles.
  • Green fruit and vegetable trays (cucumbers, peppers, apples, grapes, kiwi).

4) “Make and Take” crafts, such as,

  • Handprint four-leaf clovers with green paint on white paper
  • Origami and/or construction paper four-leaf clovers.

5) Share these Fast Facts about Four-Leaf Clovers:

  • There are approximately 10,000 three-leaf clovers for every “lucky” four-leaf clover.
  • There are no clover plants that naturally produce four leaves, which is why four-leaf clovers are so rare.
  • Today, four-leaf clovers are associated with St. Patrick’s Day, but they appear in centuries-old legends as symbols of good luck. The Druids (ancient Celtic priests) said they could see evil spirits coming and have a chance to escape in time. Four-leaf clovers were Celtic charms, presumed to offer magical protection and ward off bad luck. Children in the Middle Ages believed if they carried a four-leaf clover, they would be able to see fairies. The first literary reference to suggest their good fortune was made in 1620 by Sir John Melton.
  • The leaves of four-leaf clovers are said to stand for faith, hope, love, and luck.
  • It’s often said that Ireland is home to more four-leaf clovers than any other place, giving meaning to the phrase, “the luck of the Irish.”

If you have a passion for cultural heritage, consider becoming a 4-H volunteer.  We need volunteers willing to share their rich cultural heritage with the next generation so that they can grow into a culturally competent workforce of tomorrow.  For more information, contact your local UF/IFAS Extension Office or visit http://florida4h.org/volunteers.

 

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Author: Melanie Taylor – metaylor@ufl.edu

Melanie Taylor

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/03/24/4-h-friendly-ways-to-celebrate-st-patricks-day/

Celebrate National Nutrition Month

Celebrate National Nutrition Month

NNM 2016 Logo2Celebrating the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics National Nutrition Month each March is the perfect time to focus on your health needs and set new nutritional goals. A couple of key messages for this year’s theme include discovering new ways to prepare meals that trim sodium and practicing mindful eating behaviors. Make it your goal to incorporate at least one of the following tips into your lifestyle so you can “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right!”

Get Creative with Herbs and Spices

Instead of adding salt or condiments high in sodium to your food, consider using herbs such as rosemary, basil, mint, oregano, or cilantro. Spices such as cinnamon, ginger, paprika, pepper, and cumin are another great option to include in your favorite meals. Flavoring with herbs and spices instead of salt can help reduce your sodium intake without sacrificing taste.

Appreciate Each Bite

Take time to appreciate every flavor, texture, and the overall eating experience at each meal. Eating slowly and enjoying every bite gives your stomach time to tell your brain that you are satisfied. This practice may help you eat less overall, as well as assist you in reaching your nutritional goals.

Practice Mindful Eating

Think about where you eat a majority of your meals. Eating at your desk or in front of a television can be distracting and may cause you to overeat. Aim to find a place where you can focus solely on your meal instead of trying to multitask while eating.

To learn more about how you can savor the flavor of eating right, visit www.eatright.org or contact your local UF/IFAS Extension Office.

 

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Author: amymullins – amymullins@ufl.edu

Amy Mullins is a Family and Consumer Sciences Agent responsible for coordinating the Adult Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program in Leon County. Amy is a Registered Dietitian and a graduate of The University of Florida and Florida State University.

amymullins

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/03/11/celebrate-national-nutrition-month/

Plant a Tree to Celebrate Arbor Day!

East Bay Holly

East Bay Holly. Photo by Mary Derrick, UF IFAS

 

Important!

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now.  ~Chinese Proverb

In Florida, Arbor Day is always celebrated on the third Friday of January. In 2014, Arbor Day falls on Friday, January 17.

Consider planting a tree to enhance your property. Trees provide many benefits such as:

  • Shade for leisure activities
  • Lower energy costs for cooling
  • Cover and food for wildlife
  • Screen from unsightly views
  • Privacy from neighbors
  • Addition of value to your property; click here to determine the monetary value of a tree

 

If you have plenty of trees already, consider getting involved in a local community group that is sponsoring Arbor Day tree plantings. Or maybe your local church, park, non-profit or school would appreciate the donation and planting of a new tree.

So what trees are best to choose for the Florida panhandle?  Some things to consider are soil type and pH, light, and any overhead obstructions. Click here for a publication that discusses what to consider when choosing a tree. Florida Trees for the Urban and Suburban Landscape will help you choose a particular tree species for your site. Considerations in tree selection may include bloom color and season, mature size, hurricane resistance, and whether it is evergreen or deciduous.

Once you have chosen a great tree for your specific site, proper installation and care is crucial to the success of your new tree. Click here to learn all about planting and caring for your tree.

For more information please see:

Arbor Day Foundation: Florida

Native Trees for North Florida

Palms for North Florida

Planting Trees in Landscapes

National Tree Benefit Calculator

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Author: Mary Derrick – mderrick@ufl.edu

Residential Horticulture Extension Agent for Santa Rosa County

Mary Derrick

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2013/12/24/plant-a-tree-to-celebrate-arbor-day/

Celebrate with Family and Friends this 4th of July

4th of July

July is a busy time of year on the farm, but the 4th of July is always special.  Take time to celebrate America’s birthday, and be thankful for the freedoms we enjoy living in this nation.

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Author: Doug Mayo – demayo@ufl.edu

Jackson County Extension Director, & Livestock & Forages Agent

My true expertise is with beef cattle and pasture management, but I can assist with information on other livestock species, as well as recreational fish ponds.
http://jackson.ifas.ufl.edu

Doug Mayo

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2013/07/04/celebrate-with-family-and-friends-this-4th-of-july/

Celebrate Earth Day: Take Action Towards Sustainability

In the summer of 1997, Charles Moore of Long Beach, California, a furniture refinisher and seafarer was returning from a sailing trip through the seldom traveled Subtropical North Pacific only to realize his sailboat was encircled by  a “plastic soup” for as far as he could see.  In fact, Charles Moore had stumbled upon what is the largest garbage dump on the planet.

It is estimated that this discovery, now dubbed the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a huge stretch of floating waste is actually more like a soup of confetti-sized plastic bits, produced by our lifestyle of throw away consumerism.   This discarded ‘stuff’ has made its way into every ocean.

This garbage patch is literally trash that gets stuck in storm drains and is washed into rivers and out to sea, the legal and illegal dumping of garbage and appliances, and plastic resin pellets inadvertently spilled and unloaded by plastic manufacturers.  In fact, plastic marine debris is now found on the surface of every ocean on earth.

And, no matter where the plastic litter originates, once it reaches the ocean, it becomes a global problem.  Garbage travels thousands of miles as it is carried by many large system of rotating ocean currents.

Moore’s discovery prompted him to take on a cause.  Charles Moore founded Algalita Marine Research Foundation (AMRF) in hopes of raising awareness about the oceans – plastic litter in particular.

Moore’s action falls right into the ecological discussions concerning Handprints…you know those positive ecological aspects of action towards sustainability and the environment that can occur on any scale without compromise.

There is a great deal of information concerning carbon footprints circulating. … the frightening things each and everyone of us is doing to the earth each and every day.  Perhaps, if each of us took time to emulate ‘a guy who cared’ and improve upon our own, individual handprint we could make this world a more sustainable place for everyone and everything.

This Earth Day,  think about your handprint and the capacity you have to influence others.

See You Tube video:  NOAA Marine Debris

Author:  Heidi Copeland

Living Well in the Panhandle

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2012/04/23/celebrate-earth-day-take-action-towards-sustainability/