Join us for our 5th Annual Start Farming event. Hear from First Coast farmers, ask questions, buy local goods, and get answers to start farming today!
Dr. Stephen Jennewein, UF/IFAS Small Farms Extension Agent
Charles Goodin of Johnny Appleseed Organic
Mika Hardison of The Herban Bee
Kimberly Ruessler of Lola Farms
The Herban Bee
White Harvest Farms
Little Black Box
Apple Rabbit Compost
Dave The Plant Man
Eat Your Yard Jax
Clinical Traditions Herbalist
Madison Schott Ceramics
Kristina Hoover Fine Art
Apple Rabbit Compost
This event is offered as a free service to our citizens and our agricultural community thanks to our generous sponsors.
It's time for our November Volunteer of the Month! We would like to recognize our District Aide, Thea Baker. Thea records minutes for our meetings twice a month and assists us in budget preparation and communications. She is an EIT‐certified civil engineer now focusing on sustainability and has contributed her expertise to our Regeneration Park project. Her passion is to do meaningful work that helps reduce environmental degradation and social inequality. While serving as District Aide, she has nearly completed her master's degree is in Global Sustainability with a concentration in Sustainability Policy from USF. She will be graduating at the end of Spring 2022. We are grateful for her dedication to serve the District this year!
More about Thea:
Calling all photographers! The National Association of Conservation Districts annual photo contest is now open for submissions. This contest is open to all amateur photographers. Photos must fall under one of the following 4 categories:
For more information about what qualifies for each category, visit the NACD website here. Contestants can enter up to 5 photos per category. Photos will be judged by technical merit (proper exposure, framing, and in focus) and composition (imagination and creativity).
Submissions must be emailed to the Duval Soil & Water Conservation District at email@example.com by Wednesday, November 24th. All contestants must fill out this entry form and photo release with each photo submission. If you are submitting a photo in which a subject or model’s face is recognizable, you must also complete and attach this subject and model release with your photo(s).
Minor digital enhancements for cropping, red-eye removal, filters and corrective functions are permitted; however, an image judged to be significantly altered may be disqualified. Contestants are not permitted to place borders, frames or backgrounds around their images or to place watermarks, dates, signatures or copyright images onto photos. Previously published photos are not eligible for the NACD Photo Contest.
Duval County category winners will be announced Monday, November 29th. An overall winner will receive a cash prize! The local winners will then be automatically entered into the national competition where 1st place winners will be awarded $100 and 2nd place will receive $50. National winners will be announced at the NACD's annual meeting in February.
The Florida Envirothon Committee has developed a Resource Study Guide that is online and readily available to all students and teachers who may be interested in participating in the subject event. Additional materials are available at www.envirothon.org.
“It's so important that we offer students a comprehensive study of our land, water, wildlife, and current issues while in high school. With the Envirothon competition, kids are competing for a trophy and they get to learn outside. We hope that every high school in Duval County will send a team to the Envirothon”, says Jennifer Casey, Chairperson for the Duval Soil and Water Conservation District.
See pictures and find resources on the Duval County Envirothon Facebook page.
To learn more or to volunteer, contact Joyce Miller (410) 688-2365 firstname.lastname@example.org.
October 1, 2021, Jacksonville, Florida – Duval Soil and Water Conservation District will be hosting a workday to begin green infrastructure improvements at Regeneration Park this Saturday, October 2 at 9am. Volunteers are needed to plant the bioswale, move mulch and clean up trash at the site.
The Regeneration Park Community Stewardship Project, made possible by grant awards from the National Association of Conservation Districts and the Jacksonville Environmental Protection Board, is creating a safe space on the west side of Jacksonville’s Urban Core to demonstrate urban agriculture, cultivate environmental stewardship and empower residents to build with nature for social, economic, and environmental health.
The Duval Soil and Water Conservation District has been working with the City of Jacksonville’s Parks and Recreation department and environmental organizations including Groundwork Jacksonville and St. Johns Riverkeeper to develop an appropriate plan for the site which is located near the Sugar Hill Mosaic along the S-Line link of the Emerald Trail. This summer they held an educational workshop to prepare for the installation and to engage with citizens on the importance of green infrastructure to build a more resilient Jacksonville.
“Green infrastructure like bioswales is essential in managing water, especially in urban areas,” said project coordinator Alison O’Donoughue. “We're looking forward to installing aquatic and water-tolerant plant species that will aid in the capture and treatment of stormwater runoff.”
Expected to participate in this community stewardship effort are local families, students from Stanton College Preparatory School, and even the cub scouts from Webelos den of Pack 132. A free breakfast will be provided. Parking is available along Moncrief Rd. at West 13th St. or at the nearby Christ Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church. Learn more on Facebook @RegenerationPark or visit duvalsoilandwater.com.
About Duval Soil and Water Conservation District
For 68 years, under the authority created by the Soil Conservation Act passed by the Florida Legislature in 1937, Duval Soil and Water Conservation District has promoted responsible management and conservation of natural resources by delivering conservation technology and education to local landowners and users and promoting the wise use of land and best management practices that will conserve, improve and sustain the natural resources of Duval County.
Contact Alison O’Donoughue, Coordinator at 352-215-0307 or email@example.com
Let us know you're coming! Register here: Bioswale Planting at Regeneration Park
In late July, the Duval Soil and Water Conservation District celebrated their 68th Anniversary on World Conservation Day. Local sponsors, community advocates, and members of the public were all present to celebrate at the Garden Club of Jacksonville. Highlights from the evening included delicious catering from head chef of 13 Gypsies, Kevan Kimball, and drinks from Legacy Kitchen & Catering; words of acknowledgement from the Board of Supervisors; a special guest presentation by Kay Ehas of Groundwork Jacksonville; and a raffle drawing of over 20 different prizes from local community sponsors.
Formed in 1953, the Duval Soil and Water Conservation District was formed to help landowners and users to conserve land, water, forests, wildlife and related natural resources. This year marks the 68th anniversary, as well as the celebration of World Conservation Day. The Board, especially event chair, Ashantae Green, worked diligently to prepare a special event to celebrate the hard work of conservation members in the community.
Each year the Board recognizes a “Conservation Teacher of the Year”. This year, due to the limitations of the pandemic last year, two teachers were recognized for their dedication as educators to the mission of conservation. Aesha Johnson (2021 Awardee), a 4th grade math and science teacher at Jacksonville Beach Elementary, strives to instill conservation efforts and education in her students through her teaching and as chairperson of her school’s annual Family Science Night. Additionally, the student winner of the District’s 2021 poster contest came from her class. Steven Sherrill (2020 Awardee) has been an educator for 26 years, with 16 as the Marine and AP Environmental Science at Sandalwood High School. He was the faculty sponsor of GreenState Environmental Club for 15 years and has been involved in the District’s Envirothon as well as encouraging his students’ involvement in countless other conservation efforts throughout the city. Duval SWCD is delighted to show our appreciation to our outstanding Duval County educators.
Guest speaker, Kay Ehas, CEO of Groundwork Jacksonville shared about the exciting projects Groundwork Jacksonville is championing to help with the development of downtown including the restoration of McCoys Creek, Hogans Creek and the creation of the Emerald Trail. The latter is a 30 mile path that will connect our city's historic urban neighborhoods to downtown and will link schools, colleges and parks. Duval SWCD's innovative Regeneration Park, primarily funded by a grant from the National Association of Conservation Districts, is situated along the biodiversity corridor of the Emerald Trail. Kay shared that the important message of Groundwork Jacksonville’s projects was, “not only building trails and restoring creeks, [but] building community.”
Lastly, due in large part to the generous sponsorship of many community organizations, the event raised over $1500.
The District would like to recognize our community sponsors: The Jacksonville Garden Club, Apple Rabbit Compost, Juicy Roots Farm, Legacy Kitchen & Catering, Native Jax, Soil Life Organics, and the St. Johns Riverkeeper. Individual sponsors included: Sebastian Alexander, Will Dunn, and Diane Krug.
It's National Pollinator Week! We're calling upon each citizen and business to help protect our pollinators by planting pollinator gardens, reducing or eliminating pesticide use, and becoming more aware of the importance of pollinator species. See the proclamation below!
It's time for our June Volunteer of the Month! We would like to recognize Duval County Extension Director, Stephanie Toelle. Stephanie is an engaged agency representative, working closely to support our meetings which are hosted by the Extension office. She was instrumental in organizing our 2020 Farm Share Food Distribution event in partnership with Extension agents and volunteers. We are grateful that Stephanie shares her more than 25 years of experience at the Duval County Extension with us and is available to consult on our programs and activities.
More about Stephanie:
We were pleased to host our annual Speech & Poster Contest in March. Due to the ongoing health emergency, we held this year's contest virtually. This year's theme was "Healthy Forests, Healthy Communities". Trees are vital. As the biggest plants on the planet, they absorb carbon from the atmosphere, stabilize the soil, filter water, provide healthy habitat for wildlife and offer many additional benefits – for nature, people and biodiversity. Not only is it necessary to protect existing trees and plant new ones, but it’s also important to advocate and educate about trees and forest conservation within your community.
Congratulations to our 2021 Speech and Poster Contest winners!
1st (Grades K-1) - Vidyut Arjun, Jacksonville Beach Elementary
1st (Grades 4-6) - Marvel Li, Jacksonville Beach Elementary
2nd (Grades 4-6) - Adwita Pradhan, Jacksonville Beach Elementary
1st (Grades 7-9) - Grace Flaven, Lake Shore Middle School
1st (Grades 7-9) - Grace Flaven, Lake Shore Middle School
Our 1st place winners will go on to compete in the Area III level of competition later this year!
In 2018, the Duval Soil & Water Conservation District launched its Conservation Teacher of the Year award. This award recognizes the work of any K-12 teacher in Duval County who has been involved in both education and action during the past year. The ideal candidate is a principled conservationist who educates students on natural resource conservation practices and initiates student action in their community or school in order to improve quality of life for Duval County residents. All Duval County teachers who have participated in one of the District’s programs during the last year will be considered for recognition as our Conservation Teacher of the Year. This year's deadline is June 15th. Application
2020 - Steven Sherrill, Sr., Marine and AP Environmental Science Teacher at Sandalwood High School
Highlights: Participation in Annual Fred B. Miller Envirothon, instrumental in Sandalwood High School being named Duval County Public Schools’ first Green Champion School in 2010, winner of the 2017 Keep America Beautiful Youth & Education Award
2019 - Kendal Schmidt, Middle School Teacher at The Foundation Academy
Highlights: Participation Joe B. Forshee, Jr. Speech and Poster Contest, Monarch Waystation efforts and other student activities that include aquaponic farming and composting
2018 - Dr. Scott P. Sowell, Environmental Science Teacher at Darnell-Cookman Middle/High School
Highlights: Participation in Annual Fred B. Miller Envirothon and algae eutrophication experiments with his AP Environmental Science students. The District nominated Dr. Sowell for the Jacksonville Environmental Protection Board's Individual Environmental Achievement award, which he also won.