Water Conservation Is Critical During Drought
The District is continuing to step up its water conservation efforts during the state’s annual “Water Conservation Month” in April. Each year the District joins with the state Legislature, Tampa Bay Water and dozens of local governments to make the declaration. However, because the state is experiencing a severe drought, the message is even more timely.
“Because April is part of Florida’s dry season, it is a good time to remind residents about the need to conserve,” said Beth Putnam, communications manager. “This year we are stepping up our efforts because the area remains in a serious drought due to a lack of rainfall over the past two years.”
District staff will be participating in a variety of environmental and outdoor events throughout April to get the word out about the importance of water conservation and water resources protection.
Water conservation is the focus of the District’s water conservation restroom trailer, which features the “Reduce Your Use” campaign and Florida-friendly landscaping principles.
The trailer will be at the WRBQ Oldies 104.7 concert at Coachman Park in Clearwater on April 25, as well as the Venice Shark’s Tooth Festival on April 11–13 and the Green Thumb Festival in St. Petersburg on April 26–27.
Some projects that receive funding from the District’s Community Education Grant Program also focus on water conservation.
In northeast Polk County, the Polk County Extension office is holding a series of Florida-friendly landscaping workshops for neighborhood associations. The area is being targeted because of its high water use due to heavy development, and the goal is to teach participants ways to conserve water in the landscape and to properly maintain irrigation systems. For more information, please contact Anne Yasalonis, Florida Yards & Neighborhoods coordinator, at (863) 519-8677 or visit PolkFYN.ifas.ufl.edu.
In Haines City, The Health Chic will host an Earth Day celebration on April 20 that will include Florida-friendly landscaping information, a drought demonstration and other water conservation-related activities. For more information, please call Wendimere Reilly at (863) 419-8584.
In Highlands County, the Highlands Soil and Water Conservation District is holding a showerhead exchange program. The group will demonstrate low-flow showerheads to the public as well as provide water conservation information and materials. Residents will be encouraged to exchange their old showerheads for a new low-flow model. The demonstrations are taking place March through June.
The District’s Communications Department is participating in several other events that focus on water resources. Please see chart below for more information.
Water Resources Events:
Ground Water Institutes for Teachers
These free, two-and-a-half-day workshops for teachers are offered in conjunction with the United States Geological Survey and the American Ground Water Trust and are a significant component of the District’s overall watershed education efforts. The goal of this program is to increase knowledge about local water resources among teachers and students so that they are empowered to play an active role in protecting these resources.
The first workshop is being held April 17–19 at the Marine Science Center in Crystal River. Additional workshops will be held May 15–17 at Nature’s Classroom in Thonotosassa, June 12–14 at the Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida in Sarasota and June 19–21 at the Turner Agri-Center in Arcadia.
These free training opportunities are being offered to middle and high school teachers and other nonformal educators. Interested teachers can register online at the American Ground Water Trust web site.
Suncoast Earth Force Youth Summit
The summit brings together youth, educators and community partners who have been involved in Earth Force programs during the past year. This event is being held at Al Lopez Park in Tampa on April 23. For more information about the summit or the District’s youth education outreach, please call the District at 1-800-423-1476, ext. 4757.
Peace River Field Trips
Educational field trips are being held on April 2 and April 16 in conjunction with the Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center. Each field trip is an all-day educational experience that includes transportation, presentations and lunch. The April 2 tour begins in Polk County and travels downstream. It includes a tour of the Shell Creek Water Treatment Facility and a boat tour of Charlotte Harbor. The April 16 tour begins in Charlotte County and travels upstream. This trip will include a tour of a phosphate mining facility, a visit to a mining reclamation site and a stop at a nature preserve. The field trips are free. For more information, please call Chris Salmonsen at (941) 575-5435 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hillsborough Adopt-A-Pond Lake, Pond & Stream Night
The Hillsborough Adopt-A-Pond Lake, Pond & Stream Night is being held April 18 at the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa. This evening event will feature displays and exhibits from environmental organizations and vendors, as well as educational speakers who will teach attendees about area lakes, ponds and streams. For more information on how you can attend, please call John McGee at (813) 744-5671 or email email@example.com.