In a 2012 public opinion survey conducted by Tampa Bay Water, 50% of people polled indicated that they were not familiar with the source of their water. In response, a UF/IFAS Extension Pinellas County natural resources agent formed a statewide committee to develop the Florida Waters Stewardship Program (FWSP), a program focused on helping people learn about Florida’s water resources. The FWSP program included six three-hour sessions that met every other week at different locations in Pinellas County to highlight a specific water feature and water topic. FWSP class sessions also included an onsite mini tour, class discussions, presentations by the natural resources agent and a local guest speaker, activities, and planning time for a class project. Sixty-one percent of participants, whose occupations ranged from teachers to environmental scientists to volunteers, self-identified as concerned citizens. Programs like FWSP provide the foundational knowledge and skills that can lead to positive community action.
UF/IFAS Pinellas County Extension Agent Libby Carnahan guides a canoe tour at Weedon Island Preserve in Clearwater. UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones