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Re-Blogged from the University of Florida, IFAS….

Today, like every June 8 since 1992, many people around the globe celebrate World Oceans Day. This event was created to advocate and inspire people, communities, and nations to take action on the sustainable use, protection, conservation, and preservation of the oceans and their inhabitants.

Every year, there is a theme for World Ocean Day. This year’s theme is “revitalization: collective action for the ocean.” This theme recognizes that people around the globe need to work together to protect our oceans. And we should be on it; after all, the oceans produce at least half of the world’s oxygen, feed billions of people, contribute to the world economy, and host the most biodiversity on Earth.

Therefore, I am challenging you to join me to help revitalize our oceans by being part of the solution to a global problem; the problem of marine debris, especially the problem of plastic pollution. Plastics are the most common form of marine debris.

Marine debris is defined as any persistent solid material that is manufactured or processed and directly or indirectly, intentionally or unintentionally, disposed of or abandoned in the marine environment or the Great Lakes. In other words, products created by us that end up in the oceans.

Among the impacts of marine debris are damage to habitats, economic loss, damage to infrastructure, navigation hazards, facilitation of transport of invasive species, and negative impacts on human health and wildlife.

The great news is that there are many things that you can do from where you are to help and take action. Things that you can put into action at home, at school, at the store, on the water, and the shore, and that will make a big difference in our efforts to help our oceans, and to help ourselves.

Happy World Oceans Day. Say no to single-use plastic products. Do your part. And, enjoy the oceans.


Posted: June 8, 2022

July is Lakes Appreciation Month! Polk County, our 17 Municipalities, along with the Lakes Education Action Drive Board of Directors would like to encourage our residents and visitors to get involved and appreciate our beautiful lakes. LEAD is taking the lead (pun intended) here in Polk County to host a Lakes Appreciation Challenge. We want to invite you to participate in the “Show Your Lakes Appreciation Challenge”, social media lake selfie photo contest.

Between now and July 31st take a selfie while cleaning on one of Polk County’s lakes, tag the Lakes Education Action Drive on Instagram and use the hashtag #PolkLakeSelfie. One lucky winner will receive a $100 Gift Card from the Andy Thornal Company provided by Watson Clinic. Other entries may receive a gift card from Fred’s Market Restaurant and additional outdoor gift cards from Andy Thornal Company. For more information Follow Us on Instagram.

And, for more information on the origin of Lakes Appreciation Month, listen to our latest podcast on Podbean. On this podcast, we speak with Steve Lundt, the Senior Water Quality Scientist for Metro Water Recovery. Formed in 1961, Metro Water Recovery is the largest wastewater treatment provider in the Rocky Mountain West.

Steve has worked on lakes and reservoirs for the past 25 years as a Certified Lakes Manager. He has been on the board of the North American Lakes Management Society (NALMS), CLRMA, Barr/Milton Watershed Association, and other lake related organizations. Besides a background in lake monitoring, Steve has a long background in watershed management, public education, and outreach about water quality topics.

NALMS mission is simple, but a powerful one: to forge partnerships among citizens, scientists, and professionals to foster the management and protection of lakes and reservoirs, for today and tomorrow. NALMS does not focus on professionals, academic researchers, or any small interest group alone; rather, NALMS is a melting pot, welcoming anyone interested in lakes.

Danny Kushmer, Executive Director

May 18, 2021, Winter Haven. On Tuesday, the Lakes Education Action Drive (LE/AD) Board of Directors voted to approve new board member Hunter King. “Ms. King becomes the first board member to be added in several years and we welcome her to Polk County and to LE/AD” said, executive director, Danny Kushmer.

Hunter King is a regional invasive plant management biologist for Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. She graduated in 2020 with her M.Sc. in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology from Clemson University and in 2017 with her B.Sc. in Environmental Biology from Southwest Baptist University. She has spent the last three years working for the Missouri Department of Conservation as a fisheries technician primarily conducting hydrilla management, and up until now has lived in Missouri for her entire life.

“We are pleased to welcome Hunter and know she will be a valuable addition to our Boards of Directors,” said Laurie Smith, President of the Board of Directors. Hunter has attended several previous boards Zoom meetings, her knowledge and background will be a great addition not only to the Boards of Directors but Polk County as well.”

Like Polk County and her 17 Municipalities, LEAD’s Fiscal Year runs from October 1st through September 30th. For more information on LEAD, please visit our website at www.lakeseducation.org, and visit and “Like” us on Facebook and Instagram.

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P.O. Box 7607, Lakeland, FL 33807 863-221-5323LE/AD is a non-profit organization established in 1985 that strives to educate the public on lake water quality; the effects storm water runoff has on our lakes and how you can make a difference. Our organization is funded through your donations. Please join today to help continue to support this wonderful organization! Visit www.lakeseducation.org to learn mo

Danny Kushmer to become the Lakes Education Action Drive Executive Director

June 28, 2019 Lakeland, Florida. After a brief absence from Polk County, Danny Kushmer, returns as executive director for the Lakes Education Action Drive (LE/AD) beginning July 1st. Danny replaces Tabitha Biehl who was recently promoted to Land and Natural Areas Manager with Polk County Parks & Natural Resources.

Danny spent nearly 10 years as the governmental affairs manager for the Southwest Florida Water Management District with offices in Bartow. During this time, he served on the communications team for the Central Florida Water Initiative, was instrumental in the formation of the Polk Regional Water Cooperative and, served on the board for LE/AD. Danny is a partner with his wife Cally in the firm Florida Horizon’s, a Florida-based LLC partnering in real estate, governmental affairs, public relations, and environmental education.

Laurie Smith, President of the Board said, “Danny is a well-known figure in Polk County and has spent his entire career working with water. From farming to regulation, he understands Florida’s water quality and natural resource issues and will be a great fit for LE/AD.”

“I am honored to have been chosen as executive director, for me, this is not a position it’s a passion.” Kushmer said, “With over 550 lakes in Polk County, LE/AD encourages Polk County Citizens and visitors to enjoy their lakes. But, also understand the vital role these water bodies play in providing drinking water, irrigation, electrical and power generation, and of course maintaining our precious environment.”

The Lakes Education/Action Drive (LE/AD) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the natural beauty and quality of lakes in Polk County, Florida. Established in 1985, LE/AD has taken an active role in the pursuit of preserving our lakes and environmental resources. Lakes are ecologically and economically valuable, and our lakes deserve our care and protection. In addition, LE/AD encourages residents to take advantage of the many excellent opportunities our lakes provide.

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