Two local school will receive Blue School Grant funding from the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) for hands-on projects to enhance student development in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) related topics and increase understanding of Florida’s water resources.
The Blue School Grant Program offers a total of $20,000 in financial support to teachers working to promote water resource protection through hands-on learning opportunities. The Blue School Grant Program has funded 61 projects since its beginning five years ago. A total of $87,500 has been awarded to 49 schools throughout the District.
Grants of up to $2,000 per teacher are awarded for a range of 6–12th grade educational programs to enhance student knowledge of Florida’s water resources. Projects may include water conservation garden projects, water conservation classroom/community awareness projects and freshwater resources educational programs.
Congratulations to the two Duval County schools receiving 2020–21 Blue School Grant funds:
• A. Philip Randolph, for a water-conserving landscape project
• Oak Hill Academy, for a water resources school awareness project.
For information about Blue School Grants, visit the SJRWMD website.
On Wednesday, October 14th, the candidates for the Duval Soil & Water Conservation District participated in a virtual candidate forum. Learn about the position and the candidates running!
You can read candidate statements HERE and watch the forum HERE.
John R. Barnes
John J. Nooney
Arthur R. Bides*
*Candidates who have confirmed participation in the Duval Soil & Water Conservation District 2020 Virtual Candidate Forum
Calling all shutterbugs! The Duval Soil & Water Conservation District is excited to participate in the 2020 National Association of Conservation Districts Photo Contest. Our local contest is open to all Duval County residents. Winners are eligible for a cash prize and will go on to the national contest in December. Winners from the National competition will be announced in February. Contestants may enter as many as five photos each year that each fit into one of the following four categories: Conservation Practices, Close-up Conservation, Conservation in Action, Agriculture and Conservation Across America. The deadline to enter our local competition is November 1st, 2020.
To enter please fill out the two forms below. You can submit your photo submission in two ways. 1. Email it to email@example.com with the required forms. 2. Print your photo and two forms and submit it to our office location at 260 US-301 Baldwin, FL 32234.
Photo Contest Categories
Photo Contest Entry & Release Forms
Photos must be in a JPEG or TIFF file format. 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 photos.
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 contest.
The winners of this year's competition will be announced at our Start Farming Panel event on November 17th at 6:00 pm at the UF / IFAS Extension Duval County Agriculture at 1010 McDuff Ave N, Jacksonville, Florida 32254 (Click here for event details).
We look forward to seeing all of your great submissions!
Questions? Please feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you may have about the competition!
Join us for our 4th Annual Start Farming event! Talk with your First Coast farmers, ask questions, buy local goods and find money to start farming today!
Caria Hawkins, Abundant Harvests Farm
Punita Patel, Backyard Buffalo
Jessi Fiske, Juicy Roots Farm & Homestead
Amie Keslar, Front Porch Pickings
Find Money for Farming - Paul Gleason, NRCS
Sustainability - Ashantae Green, USGBC North Florida
Composting 101 - Tiffany Bess, Apple Rabbit Compost
Urban Permaculture - Joshua Rosenberg, NativeJax
Equity in Farming - Mallory Schott, White Harvest Farms & Farmers Market
Building Healthy Communities - Veronica Pasciuto, Celestial Farms
Value-Added Agriculture - Brentley Stead, Bee Friends Farm
Duval Soil and Water Conservation District
Clay County FL Soil and Water Conservation District
This workshop is offered as a free service to our citizens and our agricultural community on the First Coast. There is no charge for eco-vendors and agriculture-related organizations to participate in the Virtual Market. Contact us to learn more and reserve your space. Sponsorships available.
For our October Volunteer of the Month, we would like to recognize Ashantae Green for her service to the Duval Soil and Water Conservation District! Ashantae has assisted with planning for all of this year's educational programs including our Joe B. Forshee, Jr. Speech and Poster Contest and the Fred B. Miller, Jr. Regional Envirothon. Her current efforts include serving on the planning committee for our 4th annual Start Farming Panel Discussion and Virtual Market. In addition, Ashantae provides the District subject matter expertise on sustainability and environmental equity issues.
More about Ashantae:
We know it can be difficult to find information on candidates running for local races. Informed voters are key to making wise decisions that will impact our county. Often, candidates don't provide information about themselves, create websites or attend public forums. This year, the national health emergency has made it even more difficult to get to know candidates. We are hosting a 2020 Virtual Candidate Forum on October 14th (Update: Watch on demand). We also want to help make candidate statements and campaign links as accessible as possible.
The Duval Soil and Water Conservation District has 5 voting Supervisor positions who serve at-large to all 918 square miles and ~913,000 people of Duval County with no political affiliation. The seats are numbered, Group 1-5. Every 2 years, a staggered amount of seats are open for re-election. In 2018, Groups 1, 3 and 5 were on the ballot. Supervisors Allen L. Moore (1), Jennifer Casey (3) and James Cook (5) were elected and sworn into office.
In November of 2020, Groups 2 and 4 are on the ballot. The seats are currently held by Hunter Anderson (2) and Ed Wright (4). Hunter and Ed are both not seeking reelection.
CANDIDATES IN GROUP 2 ARE: John R. Barnes, Binod Kumar, John J. Nooney & Matt Reimer
CANDIDATES IN GROUP 4 ARE: Lagarall Bates, Arthur R. Bides, Ashantae Green & Carter Jones
The following information below has been provided by each candidate.
Group 2, John R. Barnes
John R Barnes is the Vice President of Government Relations at Veritec Solutions. In 2016, John was appointed an Affiliate Member to The Duval Soil and Water Conservation District. As an Affiliate member, John has played a critical role in public outreach for the board. John has done this by helping to secure donations, sponsorships, and partnerships with local businesses for Duval Soil and Water Conservation District events.
John is a proud alumnus of The University of North Florida. At UNF, John was elected and subsequently re-elected as Student Body President. John received a bachelor's degree from UNF before getting his master's degree from University of Florida. John has worked with local nonprofits including The Boys and Girls Club of America, First Tee, the USO, and Builders Care.
After four years with this board, John is asking for your vote on November 3rd, so he can continue to:
Group 2, Binod Kumar
I have lived in Duval County for over 35 years. I have a small family. My son was born and raised in Jacksonville; he graduated from the Stanton High School, the Florida State University and finally the University of Chicago Law School.
I am an engineer by training and profession. I have a graduate engineering degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and an MBA for the University of North Florida. I am a licensed Professional Engineer in Florida. I was in private practice for a number of years as a consulting engineer advising government installations, school boards, military bases, naval air stations, air force bases and such on energy conservation issues. I retired a few years ago from JEA as their energy conservation engineer.
If elected, I will work diligently and with my full commitment to address the issues of Soil and Water Conservation District, particularly educating our young school children an appreciation for our natural resources and conservation. I will seek public/private partnership to clean up St. Johns River and reduce/eliminate raw sewer discharge into it. Raw sewer discharge, among others, is a source of algae growth which is a toxin.
Group 2, John J. Nooney
Candidate did not provide a statement.
Group 2, Matt Reimer
VOTE FOR MATT REIMER TO CLEAN UP THE DIRTY WORK. Matt has always had an interest in running for an office and there is no better time than now. The Soil & Water Conservation District plays an important role in the sustainability of all the natural resources Duval County has to offer and that we all enjoy. Matt will put the best interest of all of the people in Duval County first. Too many elected officials are looking out for themselves, certain groups, or only those that share their opinions. That has to change. The time has come for leadership to listen to the people they represent and that is what Matt Reimer promises to do for you. After graduating from the University of North Florida in 1994 with a Bachelor of Technology in Construction Management he spent the next six years living and working in Ohio, Texas, and California, however, no place felt as good as it did to be in Duval County, so when the opportunity arose to return by Jacksonville, Matt came back. Since that time, he has raised two kids here with his wife Kathy enjoying all the opportunities the First Coast has to offer.
Group 4, Lagarall Bates
I am Ms. La'Garall Bates, a resident of the beautiful city of Jacksonville Florida Westside & Riverside Area. Mother of two, A daughter, sister and friend to all. I graduated from great education systems such as Florida State College in Legal Studies and Jacksonville University as a Sociology Major. My roots run deep and I'm very compassionate regarding my city and making our water system excellent. I am interested in what and how the water laws are affecting it's residents.
My pursuit of public office is inspired by those who desire a healthier soil & water community. Being a past city council candidate and grassroots campaign representative over the course of 10 years has given me experience as well as allowed me to understand the needs of the people in our city. I also had the pleasure to be apart of Clean up Jacksonville and other environmental and volunteer opportunities.
Group 4, Arthur R. Bides
My name is Arthur Bides, and for the past 10+ years, my studies and career focused on water and water resources. I have turned my passion into my profession. I hope to use my knowledge, passion, and expertise to protect our natural resources.
I am a Water/Wastewater Engineer, a Professional Engineer in the State of Florida, and a Florida Stormwater Management Inspector. I am also a member of several professional organizations, including the Soil and Water Conservation Society, the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure, the Florida Water Environment Association, and the American Water Resources Association. I received a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering, focusing on Water Resources from the University of Florida. Every day I see the impact policy has on our local surroundings.
As a native Floridian, I enjoy participating in Florida's outdoor water sports, like surfing and scuba-diving. I am a Marine Corps and Florida Army National Guard Veteran. My wife Paula and I are passionate about serving our community and keeping Jacksonville an excellent area for our two young daughters to grow up. Together, we volunteer for local organizations, including the Donna Marathon, St. Vincent's/ Aging True's Thanksgiving Meals on Wheels, MathCounts, and the American Legion.
Group 4, Ashantae Green
GREEN is her last name, and so is her life! As a mother & business owner, Ashantae understands the environmental & economic importance of promoting & protecting land, waterways, agriculture & natural resources for generations to come. Her love for people and the planet came while growing up on the eastside of Jacksonville, FL. There she experienced 1st hand the health effects & challenges of food insecurity, a weak tree canopy & unhealthy soil, water & air. This experience motivated to bring environmental education & solutions to all citizens throughout the first coast.
Today, Ashantae brings passion, preparation, years of cultivated partnerships and community work to the table. Ashantae is a graduate of Florida State college at Jacksonville, and currently set to complete certificates in Sustainability Management from LSU & Sustainable Agricultural & Urban Land Management from UF in October 2020. Ashantae is a current volunteer of the Duval Soil & Water Conservation District, a board member of many related organizations; a subject matter expert for the Jacksonville City Council’s Subcommittee on resiliency; a participant of the Florida Department of Agriculture Ag Innovations Working Group & an Architectural Designer & consultant for conservation & environmentally friendly construction.
www.facebook.com/agreenduval, www.instagram.com/agreenduval, www.twitter.com/agreenduval
Group 4, Carter Jones
Candidate did not provide a statement or a photo.
For our very first Volunteer of the Month, we would like to recognize Marilyn Joyce Miller for nearly 15 years of volunteer service to the Duval Soil and Water Conservation District! Joyce began volunteering for Duval’s Regional Envirothon student competition in 2006. She hopes to keep the Envirothon competition going in 2020, even if we have to do it virtually because of national health emergency. She is always looking for new ways to reach more schools!
More about Joyce:
The Duval Soil and Water Conservation District is looking for a part-time District Aide. This volunteer position works closely with elected officials and assists with District communications and administrative needs. See the position description below and contact us if you are interested!
Cars began lining up at 1:00 pm for the 3:00 pm free drive-thru food distribution held yesterday in the parking lot of the UF/IFAS Duval County Extension office at 1010 N. McDuff Ave. The event in partnership with Farm Share Jacksonville ended early because of the demand. With cars lining up hours ahead, organizers opened a little early, but were forced to close the queue and everything was distributed by 3:30 pm. Hundreds of families and individuals in need received produce, non-perishable foods, dairy and other items.
“The Coronavirus pandemic has affected our community in unprecedented ways. So many of our neighbors are hurting financially and struggling to provide the most basic necessities for their families. It was an honor for the board to join with other local organizations to assist our neighbors who are most in need,” said Hunter Anderson, Chairman of the Duval Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors.
Special thanks to our community partners:
• UF/IFAS Duval County Extension
• Farm Bureau Women’s Committee
• National Resources Conservation Service
• City of Jacksonville
About Farm Share: Farm Share is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that has worked daily for almost 30 years to make sure that food-insecure Floridians receive the food and support they need. In partnership with more than 2,000 food pantries, churches, schools and other nonprofits, Farm Share distributed more than 88 million pounds of food to more than 17.5 million households residing in all of Florida’s 67 counties last year.