Quote of the Day: “Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher.” William Wordsworth
Read Florida Senate passes $90.3B state budget; House next up - “The Florida Senate on Wednesday unanimously passed a $90.3 billion budget plan for next fiscal year, while the House began work on its version that is about $400 million less in total spending. The Senate vote was 40-0 for its spending blueprint for the fiscal year that begins July 1. Once the House passes its version, negotiations will begin on a final proposal that lawmakers can send to Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis before their 60-day regular session ends in May. DeSantis' own budget plan comes in at $91.3 billion. The House planned a floor vote Thursday on its budget bill...Major differences between all three plans include education spending, water quality and the environment and spending levels for mental health services in schools. All three proposals are also above current overall state spending levels...DeSantis asked lawmakers for $625 million to fund Everglades restoration, water quality improvements, protection for natural springs and the Florida Forever land-buying program, among other things. The Senate bill is higher at $656 million, while the House budget plan contains less than the governor wants at about $607 million…” Curt Anderson reports for the Associated Press.
Read It’s time to unfriend fertilizer - “The pollution that is sickening Florida waters and threatening human health is caused by agricultural and lawn fertilizer, and human and animal waste. County governments are legally obligated to reduce this nutrient loading. Fertilizer application by Alachua County farmers adds an estimated 460,433 pounds of nitrogen to the aquifer in the watershed of the Santa Fe River each year, according to an analysis of state data by the Florida Springs Institute. “Nutrients” may sound nutritious, but they fuel the growth of slime in many of our favorite springs. Because Florida is a right-to-farm state, county government is preempted from regulating farmers. And so the Alachua County Commission is set to decide on April 9 whether to strengthen the county fertilizer code beyond minimum state standards. Lawn fertilizer is the target, and passage of the new code would usher in a countywide nine-month blackout period. The revised code — Florida’s strictest — would limit application of lawn fertilizers containing nitrogen and/or phosphorus to April through June…” John Moran writes Special to the Sun.
Read In case Trump won’t increase Everglades funding, 20 in Congress ask House committee for it- “Twenty Congress members from Florida have asked the House Appropriations Committee for "the highest possible funding levels" for Everglades restoration. The request is a backdoor way to get more money for projects if President Donald Trump doesn't follow through on his promise Friday to increase his $63 million federal budget recommendation by "a lot more than you would ever believe." The Congress members, some of whom called that amount "short-sighted," want $200 million for the Army Corps of Engineers' environmental construction account, in hopes most of it would go to the Everglades, states a letter sent to committee leaders Monday. The letter is signed by Democrats and Republicans, including the Treasure Coast's U.S. Reps. Brian Mast of Palm City, who represents Martin and St. Lucie counties, and Bill Posey, who represents Indian River County...“For the third year in a row, President Trump’s budget has cut federal funding for Everglades restoration,” U.S. Rep. Alcee L. Hastings, a Democrat whose district includes parts of Broward and Palm Beach counties, said in a statement sent to TCPalm. “So much of South Florida’s quality of life depends on the Everglades. ... It is critical for the Florida Delegation to stand united against anything that slows down Everglades restoration…” Tyler Treadway reports for the Treasure Coast Newspapers.
Read Manatees face new challenge in Florida from harassing, non-native armored catfish- “Watching manatees gather in the crystalline waters of Blue Spring is one of the region’s outdoor treasures. Increasingly, however, it’s been a bit of a creep show: manatees are being sucked on by dark, plated, spiny and air-breathing invaders. Rather than gorging on blood or flesh, the fish are eating algae growing on manatees, but that still freaks out and endangers the big animals, which is a key reason for the start of another season of hunting and killing the sailfin suckermouth catfish. “You can see a manatee with 20, 30 or 40 catfish on it at the worst,” said Melissa Gibbs, a mostly serene biology professor at Stetson University, who has mastered wreaking devastation on the exotic fish with a 7-foot, three-pronged, barb-tipped spear. Gibbs explained that manatees seek winter refuge at Blue Spring near DeLand, escaping the colder St. Johns River. There is no food for them in the spring and its stream that flows a third of a mile to the St. Johns River. By staying calm and conserving energy, the animals can remain in spring waters for long periods before having to slip into the perilously chilly river to forage…” Kevin Spear reports for the Orlando Sentinel.
From Our Readers
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Upcoming Environmental Events:
April 4 & 5 - International Conference on Climate, Nature, and Society - (Miami Gardens) - At the second International Conference on Climate, Nature, and Society hosted by St. Thomas University and The Nature Conservancy, a diverse group of leaders from multiple faiths and sustainability focused organizations will gather in South Florida to discuss our changing climate, implications and solutions. The conference will explore how participants and communities of faith can take action to address climate challenges. Together, we can implement solutions that are respectful and supportive of the nature that sustains us and must sustain future generations, and preserve the environment that renews our spirits. Registration and agenda. Moot Court, School of Law, St. Thomas University, 16401 NW 37th Avenue, Miami Gardens, FL 33054 View Map - Directions. Thursday, April 4 from 9am-5pm and Friday, April 5 from 9am-12pm.
April 8 & 9 - Everglades Action Day - (Tallahassee) - The Everglades Coalition is hosting an advocacy day at the Florida State Capitol (400 Monroe Street, Tallahassee, FL 32301). Join fellow advocates from all corners of the state and meet with legislators to discuss the importance of a healthy Everglades ecosystem for a clean water supply and for a strong economy. Your voice on Everglades Action Day ensures that the famed ecosystem remains a top priority for elected officials! New to advocacy? No problem. Training and materials will be provided. The Everglades Coalition will sponsor group transportation to make it easy for all to get to Tallahassee (we have an east coast and a west coast bus). Click here to register, see you in Tallahassee!
April 8 - 6:00 PM - Earth Ethics Environmental Education Series - (Pensacola) - Join us on Monday, April 8th beginning at 6 p.m. at Ever’man Educational Center, 327 W. Garden Street, Pensacola, FL 32502 for Earth Ethics April Environmental Education Series. Earth Ethics in partnership with Earth Day Network is celebrating and supporting those who “protect our species”. This month we welcome Dorothy Kaufmann, Director at the Wildlife Sanctuary of Northwest Florida. Ms. Kaufmann’s Giving Wildlife A Second Chance presentation will discuss the organizations care of injured or orphaned wildlife including medical care, fostering, rehabilitate and wildlife release. Stay up to date on the event on Facebook here. Or if your not on social media, let us know you’ll be joining us by getting your free tickets at Eventbrite here.
April 9 - Nationwide Youth Lobby Event - (Tallahassee) - Our Climate and NextGen Florida are participating in a Nationwide Youth Lobby Dayby organizing young people in Tallahassee on April 9. We'll head up the evening before to the Florida People's Advocacy Center (603 N Martin Luther King Blvd, Tallahassee, FL 32301), then . We have opportunities to attend lobbying webinars with our team: Distributed Youth Lobby Day -- How to Lobby Your Elected Official Webinar, and information on how to plan a Distributed Youth Lobby Day near you. Register for the Tallahassee trip at bit.ly/flyld and share the opportunity with any young people in your life!
April 10 - 1:00pm- 2:45pm - Villages Environmental Discussions Group - (The Villages) - Villages Environmental Discussions Group (VEDG) will hold its next program on Wednesday, April 10, from 1:00 to 2:45 p.m., at Belvedere Library Community Room, (325 Belvedere Blvd., The Villages, FL 32162.) The guest speaker will be Ryan Armstrong, Manager of Bargains & Blessings Resale store, which is located at 301 N. Main St., Wildwood, FL. Ryan will discuss the work performed in 2014 by volunteers of the United Methodist Church, New Covenant United Methodist Church of The Villages, and men from House of Hope, who helped to renovate and transform the 8,000 square feet to create the resale shop. He will also describe some of the most important successes of this community resale shop. One may purchase quality, affordable furniture, major appliances, clothing, and household goods at the shop. Proceeds of these sales benefit local families who are aided by the Helping Hands Ministry. This program is FREE and open to all. Bring your neighbor and some questions. For additional information, send your note to email@example.com.
April 12-13 - 10th Annual Florida Wildflower Symposium - (Gainesville) - The Florida Wildflower Foundation’s signature annual event, focusing exclusively on the state’s native wildflowers and their ecosystems. The purpose of the event is to immerse participants in an educational experience that exposes them to the reality of Florida’s environmental challenges while giving them the tools to affect change. The symposium will offer field trips to local natural areas, hands-on workshops, and educational presentations by experts on planting and growing native wildflowers, creating habitat for pollinators, and much more. Straughn UF/IFAS Extension Professional Development Center 2142 Shealy Dr, Gainesville, FL 32608. For more information and registration, visit the website here.
April 13 - 11:00AM-3:00PM - Earth Day Celebration - (Fort Walton Beach) - Join Earth Ethics, Inc. for an Earth Day Celebration at Liza Jackson Park, 338 Miracle Strip Parkway SW, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548. The theme for Earth Day 2019 is "to protect our species”. We will have vendors that will support the theme, but others will include recycling, hybrid vehicles, solar energy, water education, plastic pollution, and more! This year Earth Day FWB is partnering with Drive Electric Earth Day website. Interested in being a vendor? Click here. Interested in being a sponsor? Click here. Stay up to date on the event’s activities at the Facebook event site here, and website here.
April 13 - 9:30 AM-4:00 PM - Recognizing the Rights of Nature in Florida Law - (Apopka) - Speak Up Wekiva has organized a workshop featuring the Executive Director of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund to discuss a campaign to bring Rights of Nature to Florida’s charter counties. This particular meeting is for community organizers who have an understanding about the Rights of Nature movement and are ready to take action in Florida. Space is limited-please email ChuckforFlorida@gmail.com to RSVP and ask for more information.
April 20 - 6:30 PM - Film screening of “Woman at War” - (Pensacola)- Join Earth Ethics, Inc, in partnership with Pensacola Cinema Art, for a viewing of “Woman at War”. This is a foreign Indie film based in Iceland that conveys a global message relatable to all Earth Warriors. “Woman at War is confronting some of the heaviest dilemmas of our time (e.g. how do we bring new life into a broken world).” Although fantastical, the climate change theme and how we deal with these issues is prominently displayed throughout the film.Join us at Studer Community Institute, 220 W. Garden Street (former Sun Trust building), Pensacola, FL. You must RSVP through Eventbrite at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/woman-at-war-movie-viewing-tickets-58810076522 in order to reserve your seating. Seating is limited to 30 spots. Tickets, to paid at the door, are $7 and includes free popcorn, wine or water, and light refreshments. There is free off-street parking for attendees. Contact Mary at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
April 27 - 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM - The Water Festival - (Deland) - The Volusia Water Alliance invites one and all to a street party celebrating water with a day of fun activities and performances in historic downtown DeLand. The festival will feature live mermaids, sidewalk chalk artists, dance and musical performances, a Blessing of the Waters (a Native American tradition), children’s games and activities, a Dog Zone, educational displays, and vendor booths. Visit VolusiaWater.org for more information. Admission is FREE. A few sponsorships and vendor spaces are still available. (West Indiana Avenue, DeLand, FL 32720)
April 27 - 12:00pm - The League of Women Voters Broward County Annual Luncheon featuring former Governor Bob Graham - (Margate) - Members and non-members alike are invited to join the Broward County chapter of the League of Women Voters on Saturday, April 27 at the Carolina Golf Club (3011 Rock Island Road, Margate, FL). Keynote speaker Bob Graham, former Florida Governor and US Senator, founder of the Save the Everglades movement, and a beloved figure in Florida politics, will speak about how and why we should participate in our democracy today. Reserve your tickets by April 19 by visiting this link: Order tickets here. Send questions or special needs to email@example.com.
May 16-19 - 39th Annual Florida Native Plant Society Conference - (Crystal River)- Our theme this year "Transitions" is pertinent to the Nature Coast region of Florida in a number of ways - sea level rise, migrations of ecosystems due to climate change, and the transition zone between north and south Florida. You will be delighted by mind-expanding experiences, tempted by sumptuous meals (including vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free) and amazed by the networking and social opportunities. As always, we will offer an abundance of presentations and workshops. 9301 West Fort Island Trail, Crystal River, FL 34429 . Click here for attendee and vendor registration.
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