Monday, December 29, 2014

EVENT CALENDARS: Tour Explores Cover Crop Test Plots

Tour Explores Cover Crop Test Plots at Plant Material Center  


WHAT: The Brooksville Plant Materials Center hosts a tour of research plots where they are collecting comprehensive data on the effect of various cover crop mixtures and suitability on soil quality and local growing conditions. 


WHEN: March 13, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.


WHERE: NRCS Brooksville Plant Material Center, 14119 Broad Street, Brooksville, Fla. 34601.


WHO: USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service


CONTACT:  Janet Grabowski at 352-796-9600, ext. 101 or


Urban Ag: Overcoming Obstacles Webinar

Free Webinar to Feature Urban Farmers Discussing Strategies for Managing Risk 

Urban farmers face many risks in producing safe and affordable food.  Some of the risks are common to all types of farming; however, many are unique to the urban setting, including zoning regulations, access to water, and managing contaminated soils.  While many cities in the U.S. are working to address some of the needs of urban farmers, profitability remains a challenge. 

A free January 15 webinar, “Managing Risks on an Urban Farm,”  will focus on the risk management strategies of two urban farms and how they have overcome several of the barriers facing urban farmers today. The webinar is being presented by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) and NCAT's ATTRA program and is funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA), 2012-68006-30177.

Title: Managing Risks on an Urban Farm

Cost:  Free

Date: January 15, 2015

Time: 12 p.m. Eastern Standard Time

To Register:  Go online at      


Andy Pressman; Moderator
Andy Pressman is a Sustainable Agriculture Specialist with the National Center for
Appropriate Technology (NCAT) and NCAT's  ATTRA Program. He has a background in small-scale intensive farming systems and works in the fields of organic crop production, local food systems, and urban farming.  Andy and his family also operate Foggy Hill Farm, a small diversified family farm and CSA located in southern New Hampshire.    

Greg Maslowe; Farm Manager
Newton Community Farm
Greg Maslowe is the Farm Manager of Newton Community Farm (NCF). NCF is located
in Newton, MA, a city of 80,000 just on the outskirts of Boston. The farm occupies 2.25 acres and uses intensive methods to grow vegetables and a small amount of fruit on one acre. NCF supports an 80-share Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, a weekly farmers' market, a 5-day per week on-site farm stand, and donations to local food pantries and shelters.  For more information, visit Newton Community Farm's website.

Eric McClam; Farm Manager
City Roots Urban Farm
Eric McClam is the Farm Manager of City Roots Urban Farm, located in downtown
Columbia, SC. City Roots is a 2.75 acre USDA Certified Organic farm that produces microgreens year round and operates an aquaponic system and a large scale compost operation and grows over 125 varieties of fruits and vegetables. City Roots sells directly to restaurants, through a CSA program, farmers markets, and hosts on-farm events.  City Roots earned the International Downtown Association’s Pinnacle Award in 2010 for their revitalization of a brown field site.  For more information, visit City Roots' website.    


Since 1976, the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) has been helping people by championing small-scale, local and sustainable solutions to reduce poverty, promote healthy communities and protect natural resources. In partnership with businesses, organizations, individuals and agricultural producers, NCAT is working to advance solutions that will ensure the next generation inherits a world that has clean air and water, energy production that is efficient and renewable, and healthy foods grown with sustainable practices. More information about its programs and services is available at or by calling 1-800-ASK-NCAT.

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Hold the Date - 2015 Tree and Landscape Short Course



On Friday, February 20th the University of Florida will present the 34th Annual Tree and Landscape Short Course.


This year the General Sessions will cover the latest on best mangement practices for landscape and tree care, while  concurrent sesions will cover CORE, landscape management and arboricutlture. All programs will be led by leaders from industry and the University of Florida. A full array of continuing education credits (FDAC's pesticide, FNGLA and ISA CEU's) will be available.


A complete agenda and instructions for registration ($35) will come out the first week of January. We look forward to seeing you there.


Happy Holidays to you all ....... thanks, Rob and Susan

Rob Northrop
Extension Forester

Urban and Community Forestry
University of Florida/ Hillsborough Co. Extension
5339 County Road 579
Seffner, Florida  33584

813-744-5519 x54106


Value the Individual - Enrich the Community - Restore the Forest

Weekly Harvest, December 24, 2014

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ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - December 24, 2014

Weekly sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the Internet by NCAT staff for the ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture website. The Weekly Harvest Newsletter is also available online.

Please consider a year-end donation in support of NCAT
The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) is the nonprofit organization that produces this weekly newsletter. Your contribution will help us weatherize homes for low-income people, plant and maintain school gardens, and help farmers and ranchers maximize profits to build local economies. If you haven't made your contribution to NCAT yet, take a minute to do so now.

News & Resources

  • Organic Regulations and Handbook Now Available in Spanish
  • Potential for Agroforestry Crops in Iowa Evaluated in New Publication
  • Life Cycle Assessment Quantifies Environmental Benefits of Organic Cotton
  • Study Explores How Climate Change Will Affect Agriculture
  • Farm to School Webinar Series Announced
  • Credit Union Focusing on Small Farms Planned in Maine

Funding Opportunities

  • AFRI Food, Agriculture, Natural Resources and Human Sciences Education and Literacy Initiative
  • Minor Crop Pest Management Program Interregional Research Project (IR-4)
  • Texas Drought Summit Scholarships

Coming Events

  • Organicology
  • PASA's Farming for the Future Conference
  • Healthy Farms Conference

News & Resources

Organic Regulations and Handbook Now Available in Spanish
The National Organic Program is now providing Spanish versions of the USDA organic regulations and program handbook, to make it easier for Spanish-speaking farmers, handlers, and certifiers to understand and comply with the USDA organic regulations. The 80-page Reglamentos Orgánicos Estadounidenses and the 310-page Manual del Programa Nacional Orgánico are both available online.
Related ATTRA Publication: El Proceso de la Certificación Orgánica

Potential for Agroforestry Crops in Iowa Evaluated in New Publication
Results of a study conducted by Trees Forever show promise for several agroforestry crops. The study created enterprise worksheets for six agroforestry crops suitable for Iowa soils and climate. The financial winners in Iowa were aronia berries, Christmas trees, chestnuts, and elderberries. The project is summarized in a 35-page online Landowners Guide to Perennial Crop Options.

Life Cycle Assessment Quantifies Environmental Benefits of Organic Cotton
Textile Exchange recently released the results of an international Life Cycle Assessment that demonstrates the tangible benefits of organic cotton cultivation. The results are overwhelmingly supportive of organic production, showing significant reduction in global warming potential, soil erosion, water use, and energy demand.
Related ATTRA Publication: Organic Cotton Production

Study Explores How Climate Change Will Affect Agriculture
Climate change will require major transformations in agricultural systems, including increased irrigation and moving production from one region to another, according to a new study by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis. The study provides a global scenario analysis that covers nine different climates, 18 crops, and four crop-management systems, as well as the interactions between crop production, consumption, prices, and trade.

Farm to School Webinar Series Announced
USDA Farm to School program will present a biweekly 11-part webinar series on building farm to school skills and developing new strategies for bringing local foods into the lunchroom. The first webinar is January 15, and a schedule of webinars through May is available online.

Credit Union Focusing on Small Farms Planned in Maine
Two finance professionals in Maine are planning to launch a credit union that will focus on helping small farms, reports The Maine Harvest Credit Union plans to serve members of Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association and Maine Farmland Trust by offering mortgages, equipment loans, and season loans.

>> More Breaking News

Back to top

Funding Opportunities

AFRI Food, Agriculture, Natural Resources and Human Sciences Education and Literacy Initiative
USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) requests applications for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative's Food, Agriculture, Natural Resources and Human Sciences Education and Literacy Initiative, formerly known as AFRI NIFA Fellowships Grant Program. The program provides fellowships to undergraduate, predoctoral, and postdoctoral students in the agricultural sciences.
Applications for predoctoral and postdoctoral fellowships are due February 11, 2015.
Letters of intent to apply for undergraduate fellowships are due February 18, 2015

Minor Crop Pest Management Program Interregional Research Project (IR-4)
NIFA is accepting applications for the IR-4 program. This program enables the crop-protection industry to provide safe, effective, and economical crop-protection products for growers and consumers of minor/specialty crops. Applications for $1 million to $4.8 million may be submitted by eligible institutions of higher education.
Applications are due by February 18, 2015.

Texas Drought Summit Scholarships
Scholarships are available for Texas farmers and ranchers who would like to attend a summit to learn how to make their operations more resilient. The "Texas Drought Summit" on January 29, 2015, is being sponsored by Farm Aid. It will be held in conjunction with the Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association Conference in San Antonio. Farm Aid is offering scholarships to support registration and up to $150 in travel costs.

>> More Funding Opportunities

Back to top

Coming Events

February 5-7, 2015
Portland, Oregon

Organicology is an educational conference for organic farmers, activists, policy experts, educators, retailers, and sustainability organizations. It offers intensive training sessions, workshops, world-class keynote speakers, entertainment, and networking. Organicology seeks to bring all stakeholder groups to the table.

PASA's Farming for the Future Conference
February 4-7, 2015
State College, Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture's 24th annual conference has the theme "Nature as Mentor." The event includes intensive pre-conference programming, more than 100 workshops on a diverse array of topics, a trade show, and more.

Healthy Farms Conference
February 6-7, 2015
Omaha, Nebraska

Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society presents this annual conference. It features keynote presenters and breakout sessions with topics ranging from urban agriculture to hugelkultur to rotational grazing in a drought, as well as a full youth program.

>> More Events

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Weekly Harvest Archives
Digital versions of recent and archived Weekly Harvest newsletters are available online.

National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) logo and link to home pageATTRA was developed and is managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). The program is funded through a cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Business-Cooperative Service.

Visit the NCAT website for more information on our other sustainable agriculture and energy projects.

© 2014 NCAT

Back to top

New ATTRA Publication
Integrating Livestock and Crops: Improving Soil, Solving Problems, Increasing Income

Question of the Week
Is feeding brewer's grain to steers beneficial? How much should I feed per head?

Ask a Sustainable Agriculture Expert
Submit questions to our professional staff online

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Subscribe to Cosecha Mensual (Monthly Harvest), ATTRA's Spanish-language e-newsletter

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Extension of CSP public comment period - press release

NRCS is extending the public comment period on the Conservation Stewardship Program interim rule. Public comments will be accepted through January 20, 2015.



Renee Bodine


Public Affairs Florida

Desk 352.338.9565

Cell 352.514.8292

Friday, December 19, 2014

Coordinator 1, Distance Education and Media Communications

Coordinator 1, Distance Education and Media Communications

(Requisition Number 0907092)


The UF Soil and Water Science Department is seeking a full time staff position to coordinate and assist faculty in offering online degree, certificate and extension programs. This position is depended upon for proactive enhancements, evaluation, and recommendations to the teaching and extension faculty in order to maintain and create new successful online programs.  The successful candidate will work with the Distance Education Coordinator, faculty, and staff to develop, implement and provide on-line education activities including the use of state-of-the–art technologies to support distance education.    A more detailed breakdown of job duties is included below.


Specific duties include:

  • Work with individual faculty members to develop and implement distance education courses. Work closely with the faculty distance education coordinator and teaching faculty to ensure quality of course delivery.
  • Provide individual assistance to faculty on distance education instructional initiatives, prepare lead instructor for online delivery, assist faculty to improve existing online courses, assist in identifying new courses for potential online e-learning, setting production schedules, uploading of materials, monitoring of class work and presentations.
  • Assist teaching faculty with online interactive chat sessions. Develop digital training materials, web interface, and tutorials for online learning. Provide technical support to the E-Learning processes for faculty and teaching assistants. Assist faculty with necessary tutorials to update class materials for online courses.
  • This position is responsible for coordinating departmental communications to external stakeholders. Includes Soil and Water Science Department website content and design, and integrating formal teaching course modules into extension in-service training modules. All additions and modifications are expected to be handled in a proactive manner so that the website remains current and contains relevant information.  Website redesign may be necessary as new templates are incorporated at either the IFAS or University level. 
  • Requires frequent collaboration with departmental IT specialist and staff from IFAS communications.  Record all departmental seminars as assigned and archive them on the SWSD web site. 


Master’s degree in an appropriate area of specialization; or a bachelor’s degree in an appropriate area of specialization and two years of appropriate experience.  Experience and demonstrated competence in working with online Learning Management System platforms, such as Sakai or especially Canvas, and online meeting platforms especially Adobe Connect.   Good understanding of online course delivery.   Experience with HTML, CSS, Dreamweaver, PowerPoint, and other related programs.  Experience working collaboratively on educational courses and/or projects and leading multiple projects.  The ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing.   Computer administration experience is also desirable.


Applications containing a resume, letter of interest and the names and contact information for three references should be submitted through the official University of Florida Human Resources procedures detailed at by January 5, 2015







K. Ramesh Reddy | Graduate Research Professor and Chair |

Soil and Water Science Department| IFAS | University of Florida | 

PO Box 110290 | 2181 McCarty Hall A.
Gainesville, FL 32611-0290 | USA
PH 352-294-3154 | FAX 352-392-3399




Additional Contacts:  Ms. Angela Petringelo, | Tel: 352-294-3151 and Ms. Cheryl Combs | Tel: 352-294-3150


The Soil and Water Science Newsletter "MYAKKA" is available at:  The Soil and Water Science Spring 2014 Newsletter “ MYAKKA” is now available for your reading at:   Please forward this message to your contacts.  If you need a hard copy of the newsletter, please contact Mr. Michael Sisk at:


Florida Land Steward Update 12/19/14


Florida Land Steward Update
December 19, 2014

Have Land?  Get a Plan and Stay Connected.  Florida Land Steward is your source of assistance, information, events and resources.

News, information and upcoming events below.  
Please share this update with your neighbors, colleagues and others that may be interested.

- Florida Land Steward Newsletter (Fall / Winter 2014 (Vol 3, No 4) and back issues -


News & Info Brief


Florida Ag Producers can apply for financial assistance until March 20, 2015
Agricultural producers can apply until March 20th for 2015 financial assistance to make natural resource improvements through several specific initiatives.

The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Florida has designated funding for longleaf pine forests, seasonal high tunnels, pollinators, water quality, organic farming, on-farm energy and gopher tortoise habitat. Farmers and ranchers can apply through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program.

Longleaf pine initiative--helps private landowners improve the sustainability and profitability of longleaf pine forest ecosystems.

Seasonal high tunnel initiative--helps producers install high tunnels designed to extend the growing season, increase productivity, keep plants at a steady temperature and conserve water and energy.

Pollinators-- helps producers develop habitat for pollinators.

National water quality initiative—helps producers in Deep Creek and Clarks Creek watersheds on the Lower St. Johns River and the Little Scurlock Creek on the Lower Choctawhatchee River to improve water quality.

Organic initiative--helps producers install conservation practices on USDA certified organic operations or those working toward organic certification.

On-farm energy initiative--helps producers conserve energy on their operations.

Working lands for wildlife initiative—helps producers create gopher tortoise habitat.

The first step to getting involved in these programs is to develop a conservation plan with a NRCS specialist. Contact your local field office in Florida. Learn more about participating in conservation programs at

Source: University of Florida news release
Small- and mid-sized growers often cite marketing as one of their greatest challenges. Yet, there never seems to be enough time or money to promote your products directly to those who may want to purchase them.

Florida MarketMaker and Florida Food Connect are two resources managed by UF/IFAS that aim to help alleviate the burden of marketing for Florida's growers. While Florida MarketMaker unites growers with potential markets throughout the state, Florida Food Connect is a tool that links schools with the local producers who can meet their needs.

Florida MarketMaker provides a free and simple, yet powerful, web-based search tool to connect with others across the food production and distribution chain. It is the largest and most in-depth food-related database of its kind, featuring a diverse community of more than 81,000 Florida businesses:  farmers/ranchers, fisheries, seafood dealers, farmers markets, food hubs, food pantries, processors/packers, wholesalers, retailers, distributors, wineries, restaurants and other types of buyers. Essentially, MarketMaker gives growers the power to create their own searchable websites, opening the door for a flood of buyers to discover them.

Florida MarketMaker has operated in Florida since 2009 but recent developments have led to improvements and increased capabilities for marketing and market research. This month, Florida MarketMaker released a new version, intended to make the website more user-friendly and increase functionality. UF/IFAS Extension partnered with a nonprofit organization, Riverside Research, to collaborate on further development of this website as a solution that aims to alleviate marketing challenges for growers in the digital age.

Here's how it works: Growers register their businesses in MarketMaker because food buyers of all types access the database to find products and services to meet their specific needs. Through MarketMaker, producers can reach more buyers and more efficiently form profitable business alliances. Growers can differentiate their businesses by categorizing their produce and affiliating with specific labels or industry. Buyers can use MarketMaker to find more suppliers of differentiated, high-quality products leading to more efficient sourcing and higher margins.

Consumers use MarketMaker to find suppliers selling what they need. When conducting a search, the search engine shows the results on a map. Once in the system, growers' profiles are easily discovered by many types of buyers, opening the door for new types of business relationships.
Growers who sell direct to consumers can also easily advertise their products on the Buy/Sell forum.

Once growers have registered in MarketMaker, they will also be featured in Florida Food Connect, the portal for Farm to School because the two sites are intricately linked. Growers interested in selling products to use in school cafeterias can easily make connections with distributors, school district food services, and individual schools looking to source regionally. In the coming year, Florida MarketMaker will merge with Florida Food Connect.

Florida Food MarketMaker is at: Florida Food Connect is at: If you would like more information about this topic or need help getting started on Florida MarketMaker, please contact Wendi Bellows at 352-294-7667 or email

The Nov-Dec 2014 issue of the Southern Fire Exchange bimonthly newsletter shares research highlights and resources focused on fire and birds in the Southeast. In addition, we are excited to feature the Florida Scrub Working Groups in our Partner Spotlight and to share a recap of two SFE field tours this fall. As always, you’ll find a list of upcoming webinars, conferences, and trainings, along with fire-related news and reminders:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is publishing a rule that outlines how it will improve the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), one of USDA’s largest conservation programs. The interim final rule includes program changes authorized by Congress in the 2014 Farm Bill.

USDA has established a 60-day comment period for the rule. The rule is available in – search EQIP on the main page.  Public comments can be submitted through this site or by mailing them. Comments are due by Feb. 10, 2015. The changes are intended to simplify the EQIP regulation regarding conservation practice scheduling, payment limitations and other administrative actions.  More details at the Florida Land Steward Blog

Tax laws on timber transactions are very specialized but important to timber owners in terms of the ongoing cost of owning and managing timber, forest stewardship and compliance to the tax law. This bulletin reviews the major federal income tax laws to help forest owners in filing their 2014 income tax returns. The information presented here is current as of September 30, 2014:
2014 TAX TIPS (pdf)

Applications accepted through Feb. 27, 2015 to remove invasive plant
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Florida Forest Service is now accepting applications for the Cogongrass Treatment Cost-Share Program. Cogongrass is an invasive, non-native grass, which occurs in Florida and several other southeastern states. Cogongrass infestations negatively affect tree regeneration, growth and survival, as well as wildlife habitat, native plant diversity, forage quality and property values. They also increase the risk of wildfires and alter fire behavior.

The Cogongrass Treatment Cost-Share Program is offered for non-industrial private lands in all Florida counties. It provides reimbursement of 50 percent of the cost to treat Cogongrass infestations for two consecutive years. Applicants who wish to conduct treatments in 2015 may apply through Feb. 27, 2015.

To learn more about this program and obtain an application form, contact a local Florida Forest Service office or visit All qualifying applications will be evaluated and ranked for approval. This program is supported through a grant from the U.S. Forest Service.

For more information about cogongrass and management see

For more information about the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit 

Do you have pests or a disease in your trees? Leaves or needles wilting, and you don’t know why? Sawdust falling out of your trees, and you don’t know how to save them? There is help: ask your question at the free Forest Health Diagnostic Forum:

All the new videos are on the Florida Forest Stewardship Program home page:

Drop a line to Chris Demers,

More news and info at the Florida Land Steward Blog



EAST FLORIDA (Madison County, east and south)

December 20

High-Tech Agriculture Workshop, 10 am - 1 pm, farm at corner of SW 27th Ave. and SW 5th St. Ocala, FL 34474. Provided by Black Farmers and Agriculturalists of Florida. Will teach how to incorporate smart phone technology in agricultural production. Contact Howard Gunn Jr. (352) 572-1063,

January 23, 2015

2015 Timucuan Science & History Symposium: Looking Back 450 Years in the Place Where the Waters Meet, registration begins 8:00 am ET, Ribault Club on Fort George Island in Jacksonville, FL. The registration fee is currently $25 and will increase to $35 on January 1. See link above for details or contact the Timucuan Trail Parks Foundation, (904) 707-3584.

February 26

Forest Stewardship Workshop: Integrating Wildlife and Forestry, 9 am to 3 pm ET, Austin Cary Forest Learning Center, 10625 NE Waldo Rd, Gainesville, FL 32609. Details to come. Contact Chris Demers,, (352) 846-2375.

March 18-19,

Florida Urban Forestry Council Symposium: The Cost of Not Maintaining Trees (link), Patel Center of Global Sustainability, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL. Two full days of talks, featuring some of the world’s leading experts in the fields of arboriculture, urban forestry, and utility vegetation management. Foresters, 12 Cat 1 SAF CFEs are approved. See link above for details and registration. Event contact is Sandy Temple, (407) 872-1738,

June 16-18

Conference on Laurel Wilt Disease and Natural Ecosystems: Impacts, Mitigation and the Future (link), Coral Springs Marriott, 11775 Heron Bay Blvd. Coral Springs, FL. A timely opportunity to learn the most recent state of knowledge regarding laurel wilt, its biology, impacts in native ecosystems and efforts to mitigate for its devastating effects. Foresters, SAF CFEs pending approval. See link above for details. For a brief introduction to laurel wilt, see this video to learn more:

WEST FLORIDA (Jefferson County and west)




January 22, 2015

Webinar: Cover Crop Economics Decision Support Tool (link), 2 pm ET, see link for details.

January 25-27

Southeastern Society of American Foresters Annual Meeting - "Southern Forestry Environmental Issues: Water Quality and Beyond", King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort, St. Simons Island, GA. Landowners and foresters are invited to get the latest information on federal and state environmental issues and how they impact southern forestry operations and businesses. Pre-registration rate is $245 for SAF members and $300 for non-members, available through January 7. Details and registration at

January 27

Webinar: Conservation Biological Control: Habitat Management to Control Pests (link), 2 pm ET, see link for details.

January 27-
February 17

2015 Master Tree Farmer will be conducted every Tuesday evening beginning on January 27, 2015 continuing through February 17. The program will start at 7:00pm and end at 8:30pm. This year the program will be delivered via the internet which means you will have the option to watch it at home.  Details at

January 28

Webinar: Conservation Planning for Diverse Vegetable Rotations: Tools and Issues (link), 2 pm ET, see link for details.

March 16 -
April 15

Conservation Site Assessment & Planning (link), online: March 16 - April 10, 2015; In-person: April 14-15, 2015, Ordway-Swisher Biological Station, Melrose FL. Presented in a hybrid format, this workshop builds a foundation of skills useful in conducting site assessments and developing resource management plans. See link above for details and registration or contact the workshop coordinator,


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More events at these calendars:


UF/IFAS Web Calendar
Florida Forest Stewardship Program Calendar
Florida Master Naturalist Program

Brooker Creek Preserve Events, Pinellas County

Florida Forest Service Training Opportunities

Forestry Webinars

Check with your UF/IFAS County Extension Office for more events
and information relevant to your county:



Florida Land Steward Partnership:









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