Monday, November 8, 2010

Entry #10

Dr. Snapp's Colloquium Class

From a personal standpoint, I tried to make the most out of this Colloquium class. I had to let myself experience things; whether I liked them or not. I don't think I would've done half the things I did in this class if it weren't for this Colloquium class. It was that extra little push of you need to do this because
it's a class you're taking and you need a good grade. However, I did find myself enjoying the field trips, class discussions, and exercises we did in class.

Academically, we all need to take this class to graduate from FGCU. I don't know how it would differ as in student enrollment to the course if it weren't necessary. That would definately be interesting to find out. I may not have taken this course if it wasn't actually required but I'm glad I did.

One of the most interesting discussions I remember from this course was actually relating to my field; Communications. I never thought the two would actually relate. However, with everything "going green" now a days, I can honestly say I am more knowledgable of my surrounding that can possibly lead to a better future in my field. I can now give insight to companies, in the Communications field, on how to take the correct steps. Whether it's conserving paper or recycling and reusing resources, it can lead to success as a business in general. I would be a good addition to any business looking to save money or other alternatives to what they are doing currently. In some of the Communication field, some of the top donors to businesses are looking for companies that are trying to be environmentally friendly as well.

 As we all said throughout the whole course, I love how this class is very hands on and how we get to go places and do things ourselves instead of read from the text all day. Like I said earlier, since everyone has to take this class, it is tempting to get notes/quizzes/papers/etc. from prior students. It makes it easier but in the long run doesn't pay off. Colloquium is a busy class and there is a lot of work, but it's nothing as college students we can't handle. It's been enjoyable and wish everyone the best of luck in the future! GO EAGLES!

Entry #9

I can't say I have ever been to Downtown Fort Myers before this field trip. However, I am very happy that I got the chance to venture into downtown. I loved the atmosphere of all of it's surroundings. The place that made me feel most energized and comfortable was within the depths of downtown. I loved all the historic brick and the restaurants that I saw. I could totally picture myself being there on a Friday night with friends. I also like how you can park and everything is within a walking distance away; instead of driving everywhere (say from bar to bar or from shopping center to shopping center).

I like the concept of urban landscape. I'm almost tired of malls and shopping centers and I thought that downtown had a really cool atmosphere to it. The presence of plants and trees definately made it feel less like a "city-city" which I like also. When I think of NYC I think of buildings everywhere, subways, trains, tons of cars, pollution, and most of all TRASH! Downtown seemed to be very well maintained and connected well to it's outside surroundings.

There were numerous plants and animals while walking in downtown. I liked the palm tree exhibit; the different kinds of palm trees from all around. There was always places to sit and relax throughout the city also. The green spaces were just outside the "walls" of downtown where it would be easy and convenient to be with family and friends. I can honestly say that I feel emotionally moved by this place. I had no idea that downtown Fort Myers had such history (anywhere from the theatre being used in a movie to actually being used as a military fort).

The city seems to be devoted mainly to people rather than vehicles, parking, etc. I saw one parking garage while I was walking and not a lot of "thru-traffic" was allowed downtown unless you were actually trying to get to a certain place. I think that it is easier to park just outside the city and to walk places than to drive into the city and try to find parking and the cost is more expensive. I think it equaled out to only a couple bucks to park for an hour in the parking garage just outside the city. Inside the city, was more expensive and you'd be driving around forever trying to actually find a parking spot. I think that this is a hint to park your car in the garage and take a nice walk; you never know what you may find! There are a lot of stores and also government centers within the city. The little art shops, restaurants, post offices, court house all generate parking needs. Parking is different varying on times, weekdays, weekends, etc. which is possibly arranged to meet the needs of the public. I also remember from the field trip the use of brick on the road. The brick roads of downtown make it less likely for cars to speed or even drive downtown. This is pedestrian and biker friendly.

I think some of the newer life of the city comes from bars and restaurants. It's something out of the natural for most people. Instead of taking an hour to go eat somewhere that you always eat, you and your family or friends could "make a night" out of downtown. Go out to eat, grab a couple drinks, and explore! I think that shopping malls have taken away from downtown because it is what's convenient and popular. I think many people think they won't find anything downtown and it would just be a waste of time and they have no interest in finding out about the history of Fort Myers. I don't think that downtown Fort Myers has a goal of growth on their mind but rather maintenance. I think money should go to helping people find out about downtown and what it can provide to the public. For example, I had no idea before this field trip that downtown could even become an option in my nightlife or even everyday life.

There are both hotels and apartments located within downtown Fort Myers. If I had to work anywhere close I would love to live within the city of downtown. It is well kept and a vibrant, beautifuil area. People who live here may shop within or outside the city. I know a Farmer's Market was mentioned on our tour and I think that this would be a great place to stop by while looking for groceries. Personally I don't think downtown is trying to grow by any means, but rather to keep downtown looking good; by urban renewal and such. Although urban renewal and expanding it's boundaries could also play an important role to complimentary support each other.

As far as homelessness and graffiti I didn't see any during the day while we were walking. I think that downtown is well kept and minimal as far as crime. A lot of places, although having an older look to them, seemed to have good security and no one would bother to try to rob anywhere. I would feel comfortable traveling in downtown day or night. I feel that all the places open up either to a main road or somewhere convenient and there aren't really any places to get stuck where an uncomfortable situation may occur. I think tourists are safe and I would definately live in a place (not forever) like this if I needed to. It's convenient and would be somewhere fun to experience and live in for a while.

Entry #8

In our society today, with as much waste as we produce, many see landfills as a must. The purpose of a landfill is to bury trash in such a way that it will be isolated from groundwater, will be kept dry, and will not be in contact with air. According to a landfill is a carefully designed structure built into or on top of the ground in which trash is isolated from the surrounding environment (groundwater, air, rain).
(, LLC. Copyright © 2010)

However landfills produce emissions and toxic substances that enter the air or water. This can include water found in ditches and even lakes near the landfill. As mentioned landfill leakage can produce air pollution and pollution to surface water. Some other threats of landfills are landfill fires and decomposition. Landfill fires can easily be ignites from all the chemicals, such as gases, and substances found within the actual landfill. I could only imagine how hard these fires are to put out. Decomposition is another problem. Think about how long certain things take to decompose! Fruits and vegetables are said to take maybe a couple of weeks to decompose while on the other hand things such as baby diapers and soda cans can take up to 500 years to decompose!

We can ensure that these toxic materials don't negatively impact people or the environment by properly monitoring landfills and that they are built correctly. Also, instead of just trying to throw everything away, we can try to filter the trash to see what's recyclable or not.

Although I don't think there is any one certain way to fix this problem, it can start in the American household. Don't throw so much trash away!

I think it affects the poor/rich neighborhoods because you obviously wouldn't find a landfill right next to a mansion. People that live in rich neighborhoods and houses pay the money to be located in such nice areas. On the other hand, people that live in cities and lower class places that don't pay as much are subject to being affected by these industries.

"32952" Brevard County

1. Florida Power & Light Co. Power Plant               Cape Canaveral
2. Sea Ray Boats Inc.                                                  Merritt Island
3. Reliant Energy Indian River Power Plant                           Titusville
4. NASA                                                      Kennedy Space Center
5. Corinthian Marble Works Inc.                                      Rockledge

Biggest Polluter
Florida Power & Light Co. Power Plant  

What are they releasing?
Lead Compounds
Hydrochloric Acid

What does this company do or produce?
Produces electricity

An actual picture of Florida Power & Light Co. Power Plant. Look at all the manatees!

Entry #7

Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization

From the ECHO website: ECHO is a non-profit organization whose vision is "to bring glory to God and a blessing to mankind by using science and technology to help the poor."

ECHO works internationally with the poor to be more effective (like in such areas as agriculture). ECHO provides 3 main services to help others excel; Education/Training, Innovative Options, and Networking.
ECHO is currently impacting 180 countries by reducing hunger and improving the quality of lives all across the world.

The process of production, marketing, distribution, and consumption of agricultural products is quite complex. It starts from square one, the preparation of fields all the way to the harvesting part. (Not to mention the marketing, distribution, and consumption part)

"The Story of Stuff" by Anne Leonard, although from a different standpoint, really made me understand all the things that is needed in this "never-ending" process. The exercises we did in class also helped me to understand this. I wasn't really looking at the big picture before.

 Instead of:
 There once was a cow, you milk the cow, and WA-LA, you have milk on your dinner table!

Now I think about the more detailed things:
What are you feeding this cow to keep the cow alive and healthy?
How did you get this cow to your farm?
How are you getting the milk you have prepared to the store?
How are you packaging this milk?

I can now think about everything from the machinery you are using to plow your field and the gas being used to operate machinery and the gas you're using in transportation.

At ECHO I noticed that all the items they used they used we're recycled or biodegradable. For example, they had soda cans, carpets, and buckets all playing a part within it's own ecosystem. They also used well water to distribute water throughout the crops. Rooftop and Urban Gardening was also used. After going inside the hut where I learned that about 10-15 adults/children had to stay, I realized the importance of space these people have!

I believe that this activity at ECHO is very sustainable. I loved how I go tto walk threw all the different cultures/climates and learn how each worked and what people had on their hands to deal with. I think that if this information can be passed throughout the world it could solve a lot of problems with hunger and I think that everywhere has the resources to try these strategies out.

Simply stated, organic produce and other ingredients are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. Animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products do not take antibiotics or growth hormones.
If something is 100% organic it is made with 100% organic ingrediants. If something is considered organic, it's made with 95% organic ingrediants. ORGANIC = Naturally Grown.

Entry #6

1. List all of the items you handle in 24 hours.
- Bed covers
- Toothbrush
- Toilet paper
- Gatorade Bottle
- Clothes (shoes, shirt, pants, etc.)

- School supplies (Binder, Book, Paper, Pen, etc.)
- Laptop
- TV remote
- Cell phone
- Purse
- Money/Coins
- Plastic Cup
- Car keys

- Food
- Make-up
- Hair Dryer
- Hair Straightener
- Sunglasses
- Chair
- Door Handle

2. List all the packages these items come in.
A majority of these items come in plastic packages. Example: Household items such as toilet paper or a toothbrush. Also plastic wrapping for food items such as grapes. For meat items, it comes in styrofoam with a plastic cover. Other items may come in cardboard.

3. List all the food you eat in 24 hours.
- Bowl of Apple Jacks
- Toast
- Cup of Milk
- Strawberry Yogurt
- Peanut and Butter Marshmellow Sandwich
- Doritos
- Water
- Hershey's Chocolate Bar w/ Almonds
- Olive Garden
       - 4 Breadsticks
       - Bowl of Sald
       - Lasagna
       - 3 Diet Cokes
- Cup of ice cream

4. List all the packages these foods come in.
Most come in packaging from a manufacturer; which usually consists of cardboard and plastic. Coke from coke bottles come in a plastic bottle; same as water. Cereals come in cardboard boxes with plastic wrapping on the inside. The marshmellow for my sandwich came in a glass container while the peanut butter came in plastic.

5. List total calories for these 24 hours.

- Bowl of Apple Jacks = 129 calories
- Toast = 100 calories
- Cup of Milk (Whole) = 146 calories
- Strawberry Yogurt = 449 calories
- Peanut and Butter Marshmellow Sandwich = 375 calories
- Doritos = 140 calories
- Water = 0 calories
- Hershey's Chocolate Bar w/ Almonds = 400 calories
- Olive Garden

150 calories EACH! AWW MAN--these are the best part of the whole dinner!!
       - 4 Breadsticks = 600 calories
       - Bowl of Salad = 85 calories
       - Lasagna = 850 calories
       - 3 Diet Cokes = 39 calories
- Cup of ice cream = 200 calories

Monday, September 27, 2010

Entry #5

So on this blog, I decided to get FESTIVE!

Halloween is spooky by nature, but it doesn't have to be a scary time for the environment. I've been keeping up on my environment issues and thought that this would be a great time to tie it into the upcoming holiday--Halloween! I was reading tips and "tricks" (haha) to help have a safe and eco-friendly Halloween.

1. Send your kids out with Reusable Bags
When I was younger I used something as simple as a pillow case to store my candy in. It's great because it saves you the trouble of going out and buying a plastic trick or treat container. It also holds more candy which would be a hit with the kids. Paper and plastic bags can also tear easily, spilling Halloween treats and disappointing children. Reusable bags are much more durable.

2. Make your own Halloween costume
Easy as 1-2-3! Just get an old bed sheet and you have the perfect ghost costume! BOO!
Instead of going out and buying a Halloween costume, which usually ends up in the trash after one year anyways, make your own! Have kids get creative and use their imagination. Kids never want to wear the same costume twice and usually outgrow their costume by the next year anyways. After Halloween, you can either wash and store your homemade costumes for other use, trade with friends, or donate the clothing from which they were made to day care centers, homeless shelters, or charitable organizations.

3. Give Eco-Friendly Treats
Instead of wasting money on candy have something else to give to trick or treaters such as fun shaped erasers, pencils, crayons, or other inexpensive gifts or gadgets you can find at your local dollar store. Let's face it most candy wrappers end up on the streets from anxious kids and this can lead to problems. Change it up a bit!
Haunted Halloween erasers!
4. Walk instead of Drive
Let's be serious, most kids draw up a full detailed map of their trick or treat route before the big night. Let them get some exercise by walking, or in some cases running, door to door instead of driving. This reduces fuel consumption and air pollution. If it's necesary to drive to a Halloween party or what not, try carpooling.

Entry #4

For this entry I was lucky enough to get the chance to get away from the lovely FGCU dorms one weekend and spend some time at "home-home." I am originally from the east coast of Florida; Merritt Island.
1. My house here is about 10 years old.
2. Wood, brick, cement, glass for windows
3. As much as I hate to say it, I don't think our house is that environmentally friendly. For example, there are many light switches in our kitchen where if you turn one light on, you turn them ALL on. You can dim them, but I still think it's silly to have 9 overhead lights when really you just need one. I don't think our house is that environmentally friendly, however, I think it's the people inside it that make it work :)
Property Size (sq ft)

Creepy what you can find online. As of now, only my mom and dad live there. I live there when I come home for holidays and summer.

My house at Christmas! Don't worry though, we only keep our lights on a couple hours a night, not the whole night :)

5. I used to work in the mall which was only a couple miles from my house (approximately 6 miles). My elementary, middle, and high school were all within a 10 mile radius of my house. The closest gas station was around 5 miles away and also the closest grocery store was about 5 miles away also.
6. My house is neatly landscaped. The community we live in actually has requirements for each household. All the same elegant mailboxes, palm trees have to be a certain height, and the "keep your lawn nice--or get out" policy. My parents put down mulch accordingly and I feel like they are constantly doing yardwork. We don't have a fence but we have a hedge that goes around our whole backyard.
7. Should have looked at this question. Like I said I feel like they are constantly maintaining our yard. We have a "rider" mower that allows my parents to save time cutting the grass (and their backs).
8. We have a somewhat small pool but we do always keep up with the chemicals because we do use it often. We use chlorine and muriatic acid.
9. This got a little messy while thinking of everything so I planned accordingly:
Auto Products- Brake Fluid, Lubricant, "Emergency" gas
Inside the House- Air freshener, Disinfectants, Wax
Pesticides- Animal Repellent
Landscape- Fertilizer
Personal Care- Eye makeup remover, soap, etc.
Home Maintenance- Paint, Plastic
Arts/Crafts- Adhesive, Dye
Pet Care- Tick and Flea Control
Home Office- Ink, White Out
Mostly just stored around the house or garage. Mostly in containers that they were sold in.
10. My dog Chance. We have birds outside and occasionally squirrels. We've had one gator incident in my past 10 years of living in the neighborhood when a gator went roaming around in yards/pools. Fire ants outside, and other pets that neighbors have; dogs or cats mostly.
11. My home would be an unnatural environment because it's man made and had to be built. The land there was once all orange groves, and now it stands as a neighborhood/community. The way we think is what constitutes natural vs. unnatural. Morals of the human nature. Although there were once orange groves, the population is constantly increasing and we need somewhere to build these houses and communities for people to live in.
12. I think I am "of nature" because like anything else, I was born and live just like the way nature does. I eat, sleep, and depend on other things to survive.

I don't necesarily think my home was built in the means to be enviromentally friendly. However, I think the people that live within a home can also determine or improve those statistics. I know in the winter, we turn the AC off and leave doors/windows open to get our air and try to conserve energy. We also always turn the lights off if we're not home or not using them and try to take short and minimal showers. In other words, we try to be considerate and aware of our surroundings.

Entry #3

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary has been where it is long before humans started to develop land around it. Historical events that have kept it that way may be storms that created the area in the first place. Also, there are conservation acts that have kept the land/swamp the way it is now and have kept people from building on the land.

Wetlands are important in many ways. Wetlands manage storm water runoff and help recharge and purify aquifiers (which hold water). They also serve as a habitat to many species. Like I said, wetlands often function like natural sponges storing flood water and slowly releases it. Periodic burning allows the proliferation of fire-evolved plant species and reduces of eliminates competing species. Obviously, we all need water to live. It provides food and nutrition to everything living in the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. Higher elevation can been seen as symbols of perseverance and tolerance. This sanctuary has been here for ages, not to mention some of the trees were here before our generation were even born. I think it's great that this sanctuary hasn't been cut down because it's a memorable place and serves a purpose in the community.

I got to see many species when I went on the Corkscrew field trip. There are endless species of plants and animals at the sanctuary but here are some that our tour guide pointed out:
From the bird family- Cranes, Doves, Hummingbirds, Owls, and Vultures
Different Fish and Insects- Trust me, I "interacted" with the mosquitos
Mammals- Alligators, frogs, snakes, turtles, racoons, fox, deer, squirrels, bobcats, florida panthers
Plants- Lillies, Duckweed, Pine trees, and saw palmettos

We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us.  When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.  ~Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac

Entry #2

Throughout my 21 years of life, I have had many experiences outdoors. When I was young I lived in Virginia and would love to "adventure." My backyard was woods and trails and I absolutely loved it. I definately got to use my imagination whenever I ventured off with friends or family. It was full of huge trees, creeks, mud, dirt, and in the winter-time of course snow. It was also full of animals; deer, rabbits, crawfish, squirrels, etc.
My old house in Virginia.

Being the youngest of 2, I had to follow in my big sisters footsteps and join a girl scout tribe. Although I don't remember the name of our tribe or the exact locations we went, I have very fond memories of the outdoors during these years. (..and the time we got locked out of our cabin and my mom had to climb into the 2nd story window to let us in and save the day)

Like everyone else, I had to grow up, and my time "playing" in nature lessened. However, I have been playing soccer ever since I can remember. I was always at soccer practice after school or at night and my weekends were also full of soccer. My family also liked going places that had to deal with the outdoors also. While we lived in Virginia, we would go on tours to visit the White House and walk around to different historic locations. When we moved to Florida, our family time was spent outdoors at Disney World, Sea World, etc.

This made my overall relationship with the outdoors a great experience, and the fact that I'm still playing soccer in college makes me still feel connected to nature in the same way I was as a child.

I was a little worried about starting the class I admit. Some anxieties I had were having to memorize endless animal names and ecosystems. One thing that I have definately learned is that there isn't always necesarily a "wrong" or "right" answer to things asked in this class. It's very opinionated and open minded which I love. I love getting the chance to share my stories about my past experiences with nature and also being able to listen to everyone elses stories.

In all honesty, I felt like a kid again when we went on our wet walk. (My favorite field trip thus far) On the campus tour, I felt like I learned and gained knowledge about our campus that I hadn't really known before. I knew we were a "green" school but I learned about our highly engineered buildings and their connection with the AC units to help save energy, our newly installed solar panels which hope to save money in the long run, and even our boardwalks on campus share a purpose.

Entry #1

"The University Colloquium brings together students from all five colleges in a series of interdisciplinary learning experiences. These experiences are designed to address the ecological perspective outcome in relations to other university outcomes and guiding principles."

My expectations for learning have actually differed from the first few weeks of school. Although my class has only met 3 or 4 times, my expectations are constantly changing; in a positive way. Like all Colloquium students, I thought this was going to be abother boring environmental class. Having to spend hours learning and memorizing names of animals and ecosystems. However, I have learned it is much more than that.

I enjoy being outdoors at times and these field trips have actually been enjoyable. I have been relating my readings to our field trips also. The outcomes so far from this class have been awesome. Our first couple field trips were a campus tour, a visit to the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, and a campus wet walk.

Here's us ladies and gentlemen. Florida Gulf Coast University. Through both our campus tour and wet walk I have learned a great deal about our campus history and our overall interaction with nature. An example is the newly installed solar panels on campus. I have also heard and now realize that FGCU practices and promotes environmental sustainability.

Like I said I have always loved nature but with this class, already, I have deepened my thoughts towards the outdoors. On our Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary field trip I really got to open up to nature. The sites were beautiful and I found the boardwalk very peaceful.

We were given time to take a break on our walk on the boardwalk to write down some notes or thoughts in our journals. Here's what I wrote:
I feel like I could be anywhere I wanted. I could just get lost in nature here; in a good way. It's quiet and peaceful and the sounds are sounds I feel that I have never heard before in a way.
My favorite note I wrote was: This place feels like it's protecting me from the world.