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Pinellas Florida Waters Stewardship Program

Ended Nov 23, 2020

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Full course description

Become a Water Steward

Working With Water, Working With People

To make a difference concerning the issues surrounding water quality and quantity in our communities, we must understand the various ways in which we interact with water. As Floridians, we are connected to our oceans and bays by our faucets and laundries, to our neighborhood ponds and lakes by our yards and streets, and to our regional and statewide neighbors by our surface and groundwater supplies.

The Florida Waters Stewardship Program will use expert presentations, online explorations, experiential learning, and communication skills training to foster a greater understanding of these interactions and provide the tools necessary to become stewards of our water resources.

During this 11-session course, participants will explore state and local water resources, learn about emerging water issues, and meet local experts.

Participants will also plan and implement a stewardship project that makes a difference in their community, attend a relevant stakeholder meeting and interact with other participants via online discussions between class sessions.

This course has limited seating/availability. Register early to reserve your spot. Youth (under 18) are eligible to register as long as an accompanying adult is also registered for the program. If this applies to you, please contact Lara ( or 727-453-6905) for a special discount code for both parties to participate. 


·      Session 1a – Monday, September 14 (4:00–6:00 p.m.):

    • Welcome, Introductions, Course Overview
    • Working with Water Presentation - Watershed Basics
    • Working with People Presentation – Stewardship & Leadership

·      Session 1b – Monday, September 21 (4:00–6:00 p.m.):

    • Guest Speaker Topic  – Pinellas County Watershed Management
    • Guest Speaker - Robert Burnes, M.S., M.A.S., ENV-SP, Senior Environmental Specialist, Pinellas County, Environmental Management.
    • Mini-tour – Brooker Creek Preserve

·      Session 2a – Monday, September 28 (4:00–6:00 p.m.):

    • Class Discussion
    • Working with Water Presentation – Changing Waterscapes
    • Working with People Presentation – Working with Thorny Issues

·      Session 2b – Monday, October 5 (4:00–6:00 p.m.):

    • Guest Speaker Topic – Surface Water Improvement Projects
    • Guest Speaker - Will Vangelder, Surface Water Improvement & Management (SWIM) Manager, Southwest Florida Water Management District
    • Mini-tour – Lake Seminole SWIM Project

·      Session 3a – Monday, October 12 (4:00–6:00 p.m.):

    • Class Discussion
    • Working with Water Presentation – Water Laws & Other Tools
    • Working with People Presentation – The Power of Partnership

·      Session 3b – Monday, October 19 (4:00–6:00 p.m.):

    • Guest Speaker Topic – Wastewater
    • Guest Speaker – Shea Dunifon, Education Coordinator, South Cross Bayou Water Reclamation Facility, Pinellas County Utilities
    • Mini Tour – Virtual tour of South Cross Bayou Water Reclamation Facility

·      Session 4a - Monday, October 26 (4:00–6:00 p.m.):

    • Class Discussion
    • Working with Water Presentation – Future Water Supply and Emerging Issues
    • Working with People Presentation – Communication Is More Than Words

·      Session 4b - Monday, November 2 (4:00–6:00 p.m.):

    • Guest Speaker Topic – Future Water Supply & Demand
    • Guest speaker - Tirusew Asefa, Ph.D., P.E., D.WRE, Manager, Planning & System Decision Support, Tampa Bay Water.
    • Mini-tour – TBD

·      Session 5 – Monday, November 9 (4:00–6:00 p.m.):

    • Panel Discussion
    • Stewardship Project Updates

·      Session 6 – Monday, November 16 (4:00–6:00 p.m.):

    • Guest Speaker Topic – Communicating About Water
    • Guest Speaker - Nanette Holland O'Hara, Chief Communicator, O'Hara Communications

·      Session 7- Monday, November 23 (4:00–6:00 p.m.):

    • Guest Speaker Topic – Climate Change
    • Guest Speaker – Libby Carnahan, Sea Grant Agent, UF/IFAS Extension Pinellas County.
    • Stewardship Project Report Outs
    • End of course evaluation
    • Graduation!


Stewardship Project

This year’s stewardship project will be on an individual level. You will come up with an action you want to take that will benefit local water resources and implement steps to achieve this action throughout the course. We will have time during class session to discuss your ideas and receive support.


Earn A Certificate of Completion

If you wish to receive a certificate of completion at the end of the program, you must complete the following:

  •       Attend at least nine of the eleven class meetings, two of which MUST be the first and last (Session #1a and Session #7)
  •       Attend and briefly describe a stakeholder gathering
  •       Complete online homework
  •       Participate in the online discussions
  •       Share a reflection of your experience with your individual stewardship project at Session 7


How It Will Work

This year’s program will be taught 100% online due to COVID-19. Course registration, access to course materials, online discussions and more will take place through the UF/IFAS online learning platform, Canvas. Class sessions will be taught LIVE using Zoom. Links to access Zoom will be provided in our Canvas course online. It will be a learning curve for everyone, but we will make it work!

For the best experience, we recommend having access to a web camera and/or microphone to encourage dialog and interaction. If you do not have access to these, you can interact via the chat feature in Zoom. Zoom is also available for download as a smartphone application. More details for course access will be provided to registrants.



If the cost of the program will prevent you from participating, please complete a scholarship application. Application deadline = 11:59pm, Sunday, August 30th.



For more information about this course, please contact your local UF/IFAS Extension Pinellas County Natural Resources Agent, Lara Milligan at or 727-453-6905.