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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

Re-Blogged from the University of Florida, IFAS.

Everything Grows

Recently while singing Raffi’s, “Everything Grows” with my two boys, my oldest said, “no it doesn’t…fire hydrants don’t grow. Signs don’t, fences don’t, doors don’t…” Despite his snarky, yet funny observation, I reflected on the stanza, “food on the farm, fish in the sea, birds in the air, leaves on the tree. Everything grows, anyone knows, that’s how it goes.” Our gardens are one of the most powerful parts of our landscapes. Everything in our gardens grows – food, birds, plants, trees, and even ourselves.

In previous articles, we explored the power of gardening. Gardens we cultivate also cultivate physical, cognitive, emotional, social, and spiritual benefits. For our summer gardening article series, “In the Garden, We Grow,” we will explore all the ins-and-outs vegetable gardening, so we too may grow.

Starting at the Beginning

The most common gardens in Florida are in-ground, raised beds, or containers. Hydroponics and aquaponics exist too, but that is a bigger topic for a different day. Most homeowners find success with raised bed gardens or container gardens due to Florida’s sandy soils. To select a location for a garden, find an area that gives approximately 6-8 hours of sun, is near a water source, and is away from buildings and trees.

If it is your first-time gardening, start small. Containers are a great first step into gardening or an alternative for anyone living in an apartment, condo, or townhome. If you have the ability to build a raised bed, start with a three-by-three foot raised bed with a 12”-18” depth. Of course, feel free to build a garden bed that works best for you. If bending over is difficult, build taller beds. To reduce the amount of soil needed to fill taller beds, first fill the beds with large logs and then fill the remaining space with soil.

Soil

Like all gardening, our success starts with our soil. When starting a raised bed, a general recommendation is the 1:1:1 ratio of compost, peat moss, and vermiculite. A 3’x3’x18” vegetable bed requires 13.5 cubic feet of soil, which translates to 4.5 cubic feet of compost, peat moss, and vermiculite. Mix your soil well, put it into your raised bed, and you have a reliably strong foundation to start your garden!

Water

To water your vegetable garden, you may install micro-irrigation or you may water it by hand. Please water in the morning to allow any excess water on the leaves to dry throughout the day. This helps reduce water use and reduces the threat of fungal issues developing in your garden.

Pests

With any garden, pests can be a nuisance. Scout regularly, treat early, and rotate plants around your garden. Remove pests by hand, but if you have a prolific pest problem, try insecticidal soaps, neem oil, or Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis). These pesticides are generally considered safe and should manage most garden pests.

Fertilizer

To help with your vegetable garden, you can fertilize. Fertilize after you completed a soil test and right before planting. You may side-dress as your vegetables and fruits grow.

Planning our Gardens

Due to our warmer seasons, you can have a productive garden all year. As we continue our “In the Garden, We Grow” article series, we will explore the different plants, pests, and other fun gardening strategies. So, feel free to start your garden, explore, and experiment. Sometimes we try something in our gardens that does not work but that is ok. For as long as we continually try new things and share with our community, we grow too.

 


Posted: June 8, 2022

Content provided by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Signs of spring – balmy weather, blooming flowers and nesting birds – are occurring throughout Florida. Warmer temperatures also mean alligators are more active and visible. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) recommends taking precautions when in and around the water and has expanded its safety materials to include a video and infographic in Spanish.

While serious injuries caused by alligators are rare in Florida, the FWC offers the following tips about how to safely co-exist with them:

  • Keep a safe distance if you see an alligator and never feed one. When fed, alligators can lose their natural wariness and instead learn to associate people with the availability of food.
  • Swim only in designated swimming areas during daylight hours. Alligators are most active between dusk and dawn.
  • Keep pets on a leash and away from the water’s edge and never let them swim in fresh or brackish water. Pets often resemble alligators’ natural prey.
  • Call the FWC’s Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-FWC-GATOR (866-392-4286) if you believe an alligator poses a threat to people, pets or property and the FWC will dispatch a contracted nuisance alligator trapper to resolve the situation. The FWC places the highest priority on public safety and administers a Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program (SNAP) to proactively address alligator threats in developed areas, while conserving alligators in areas where they naturally occur.
  • Find more resources about living with alligators and Spanish translation information tools at MyFWC.com/Alligator.

The American alligator, Florida’s state reptile, is a conservation success story. Florida has a healthy and stable alligator population, which is estimated at 1.3 million alligators of every size. They are found in freshwater lakes, ponds, swamps and slow-moving rivers in all 67 counties in Florida.

Lakes Education/Action Drive 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 to preserve 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.

 

Over the years, the Lakes Education Action Drive has provided lakeshore signage educating visitors on Polk County Watersheds. Many of these signs have been updated by the County or Municipality where they are located. However, some of these signs have not.

Below is a list of the lakeshore signage, LE/AD has placed over the years. We last investigated the condition of these sign in 2014 and would like to once again, take stock of their condition.

For a Printable List, Click HERE

 

 

Lake Name General Location Street Address Latitude Longitude Subject Material Photo Y / N Last Known Condition Current Condition
Blue Lake Blue Park @ pavilion N of Lake Dr NW and Lake Blue Dr 28.0488       -81.7709 Lake Blue connects to Peace River Good 9/5/2014
Blue Lake Blue Park @ pavilion N of Lake Dr NW and Lake Blue Dr 28.0488       -81.7709 Healthy Land and Water Good – Fair , crazing 9-5-2014
Bonny Lake Bonney Park trail at N end of boardwalk Bartow Rd Lakeland 33801 28.0376       -81.9341 Lake Bonney Watershed Fair, crazing 8/26/2014
Bonny Lake Bonney Park trail at N end of boardwalk Bartow Rd Lakeland 33801 28.0376       -81.9341 Stormwater Runoff Fair, crazing 8/26/2014
Ft Meade SE Patterson Park, E of bridge 521 4th St Fort Meade, FL 33841 27.760         -81.802 Paterson Park in Peace River Watershed Good 8/28/2014
Ft Meade SE Patterson Park, W of bridge 521 4th St Fort Meade, FL 33841 27.760         -81.802 Aquatic Plants Good 8/28/2014
Gibson At boat ramp W side of lake 4901 Lake Gibson Park Rd 28.1044        -81.0506 Stormwater Runoff Fair, crazing 8/26/2014
Gibson At boat ramp W side of lake 4901 Lake Gibson Park Rd 28.1044        -81.0506 Lake Gibson Watershed Fair, crazing 8/26/2014
Hartridge Lake Hartridge Nature Park along path 0 Havendale Blvd Winter Haven 28.047          -81.748 Lake Hartridge Watershed Fair – Poor, bottom mold 5/27/2014
Hartridge Lake Hartridge Nature Park along path 0 Havendale Blvd Winter Haven 28.047          -81.748 Wading Birds Fair – Poor, bottom mold 5/27/2014
Hartridge Lake Hartridge Nature Park along path 0 Havendale Blvd Winter Haven 28.047          -81.748 Waterfowl Fair – Poor, bottom mold 5/27/2014
Hartridge Lake Hartridge Nature Park along path 0 Havendale Blvd Winter Haven 28.048          -81.749 Living in FreshWater Fair – Poor, bottom mold 5/27/2014
Hartridge Lake Hartridge Nature Park along path 0 Havendale Blvd Winter Haven 28.048          -81.749 Wetlands Fair – Poor, bottom mold 5/27/2014
Hollingsworth S of Lake H Dr @ Mississippi Ave 18 Lake H Drive Lakeland FL 33803 28.028          -81.950 Aquatic Plants Good 8/26/2014
Hollingsworth S of Lake H Dr @ Mississippi Ave 18 Lake H Drive Lakeland FL 33803 28.028          -81.950 Wildlife Good 8/26/2014
Hollingsworth S of Lake H Dr @ Mississippi Ave 18 Lake H Drive Lakeland FL 33803 28.028          -81.950 Healthy Land and Water Excellent  8/26/2014
Hollingsworth S of Lake H Dr E of Johnson Ave 821 Frank Lloyd Wright Way  Lakeland FL 33801 28.029         -81.949 Lake H Watershed Fair, crazing and faded 8/26/2014
Hollingsworth S of Lake H Dr E of Johnson Ave 821 Frank Lloyd Wright Way  Lakeland FL 33801 28.028         -81.949 Aquatic Plants Excellent  8/26/2014
Hollingsworth S of Lake H Dr E of Johnson Ave 821 Frank Lloyd Wright Way  Lakeland FL 33801 28.028         -81.949 Wildlife Excellent  8/26/2014
Hollingsworth S of Lake H Dr E of Johnson Ave 821 Frank Lloyd Wright Way  Lakeland FL 33801 28.028         -81.949 Stormwater Runoff Excellent  8/26/2014
Hollingsworth S of Lake H Dr E of Johnson Ave 821 Frank Lloyd Wright Way  Lakeland FL 33801 28.0285       -81.9490 Welcome to Southern Landing Excellent  8/26/2014
Howard Lake Howard Nature Park N of Lk Howard Dr 0 Lake Howard Dr, Winter Haven  28.015           -81.748 Aquatic Plants Good – Fair 5/27/2014
Howard Lake Howard Nature Park S end of parking lot 0 Lake Howard Dr, Winter Haven 28.014              -81.747 Lake Howard Watershed Good – Fair 5/27/2014
Howard Lake Howard Nature Park S end of parking lot 0 Lake Howard Dr, Winter Haven 28.014              -81.747 Stormwater Project Good – Fair 5/27/2014
Howard Lake Howard Nature Park S end of parking lot 0 Lake Howard Dr, Winter Haven 28.014              -81.747 Wildlife Good – Fair 5/27/2014
Howard Lake Howard Nature Park S end of Parking Lot 0 Lake Howard Dr, Winter Haven 28.014              -81.747 Aquatic Plants Good – Fair 5/27/2014
Hunter E of Lake Hunter Dr @    Cresap St 0 Lake Morton Dr Lakeland FL 33801 28.033         -81.962 Aquatic Plants Fair, crazing 8/26/2014
Hunter E of Lake Hunter Dr @   Cresap St 0 Lake Morton Dr Lakeland FL 33801 28.033         -81.962 Wildlife Poor, crazing 8/26/2014
Hunter At  boat ramp north end of lake Sikes Blvd Lakeland 33810 28.036         -81.961 Stormwater Runoff Poor, crazing 8/26/2014
Hunter At  boat ramp north end of lake Sikes Blvd Lakeland 33810 28.036         -81.961 Lake Hunter Watershed Poor, crazing 8/26/2014
John Peterson Park, South side by boardwalk and playground 3700 Cleveland Heights Blvd Lakeland FL 33803 27.9960       -81.9430 Healthy Land and Water Good, a little mold on bottom 8/26/2014
John 150ft N of JOHN-1 3700 Cleveland Heights Blvd Lakeland FL 33803 27.9960         -81.9432 Lake John Watershed Good, a little mold on bottom 8/26/2014
Maude Lake Maude Nature Park by walkway S of parking area 0 7 th St NW Winter Haven 28.039          -81.718 Lake Maude Watershed Good 8/22/2014
Maude Lake Maude Nature Park next to pier to south 0 7th St NW Winter Haven 28.039          -81.719 Living in the Water Good 8/22/2014
Maude Lake Maude Nature Park walkway to north 0 7th St NW Winter Haven 28.041          -81.719 Wading Birds Good 8/22/2014
Maude Lake Maude Nature Park By walkway by swings 0 7th St NW Winter Haven 28.051          -81.718 Alligators Good 8/22/2014
Maude Lake Maude Nature Park By walkway by swings 0 7th St NW Winter Haven 28.051          -81.718 Wetlands Good 8/22/2014
Maude Lake Maude Nature Park by north pier 0 7th St NW Winter Haven 28.042          -81.720 Alligators Poor, broken plexi cover 8/22/2014
Maude Lake Maude Nature Park by north pier 0 7th St NW Winter Haven 28.042          -81.720 Watching Wildlife Fair – Poor, mold or dirt 8/22/2014
Morton E of Lake Morton Dr @ Palmetto St 0 Lake Morton Dr Lakeland FL 33801 28.037         -81.950 Birds of Lake Morton Excellent  8/26/2014
Morton E of Lake Morton Dr @ Palmetto St 0 Lake Morton Dr Lakeland FL 33801 28.037         -81.950 Healthy Land and Water Excellent  8/26/2014
Parker Near Gate 1, N of boat ramp on trail 2001 Lakeland Hills Lakeland FL 33801 28.0786       -81.9456 Healthy Land and Water Good 8/26/2014
Parker Near Gate 1, N of boat ramp on trail 2001 Lakeland Hills Lakeland FL 33801 28.0786       -81.9456 Lake Parker Watershed Good 8/26/2014
Parker On trail nr Gate 2, N of PARK-1&2 2001 Lakeland Hills Lakeland FL 33801 28.0815       -81.9457 Wildlife Good 8/26/2014
Parker On trail nr Gate 2, N of PARK-1&2 2001 Lakeland Hills Lakeland FL 33801 28.0815       -81.9457 Aquatic Plants Good 8/26/2014
Parker Sertoma Park near boat ramp 1800 E Memorial Blvd Lakeland FL 33803 28.0520       -81.9284 Lake Parker connects to Peace River Fair, crazing, scratched 8/26/2014
Shipp Lake Shipp Park @ pier 1651 Lake Shipp Dr, Winter Haven 28.001          -81.737 Stormwater Runoff Good – Fair 5/23/2014
Shipp Lake Shipp Park @ pier 1651 Lake Shipp Dr, Winter Haven 28.001          -81.737 Lake Shipp Watershed Good – Fair 5/23/2014
Shipp Lake Shipp Park @ pier 1651 Lake Shipp Dr, Winter Haven 28.001          -81.737 Wildlife Good – Fair 5/23/2014
Shipp W.G. Poe Park near pavilion 2403 7th St NW, Winter Haven 28.000          -81.737 Stormwater Runoff Good – Fair 5/23/2014
Shipp W.G. Poe Park near pavilion 2403 7th St NW, Winter Haven 28.000          -81.737 Lake Shipp Watershed Good – Fair 5/23/2014
Silver South end Martin Luther King Jr Park N of boat ramp 0 3rd St NW Winter Haven 28.051          -81.731 Stormwater Runoff Good 8/22/2014
Silver South end Martin Luther King Jr Park N of boat ramp 0 3rd St NW Winter Haven 28.051          -81.731 Lake Silver Watershed Good 8/22/2014
Silver South end Martin Luther King Jr Park N of boat ramp 0 3rd St NW Winter Haven 28.051          -81.731 Aquatic Plants Good 8/22/2014
Silver South end Martin Luther King Jr Park N of boat ramp 0 3rd St NW Winter Haven 28.051          -81.731 Wildlife Good 8/22/2014
Somerset At boat ramp S of Glendale St 1605 Glendale St. Lakeland, FL 33803 28.0072       -81.9305 Better Boating Excellant 9/2/2014
Somerset At boat ramp S of Glendale St 1605 Glendale St. Lakeland, FL 33803 28.0072       -81.9305 Lake Somerset connects to Peace River Excellant 9/2/2014
Summit Lake Summit Park at boat ramp 0 Lake Summit Dr Winter Haven FL 33884 27.992         -81.697 Aquatic Plants Good 8/28/2014
Summit Lake Summit Park at boat ramp 0 Lake Summit Dr Winter Haven FL 33884 27.9920         -81.697 Water Pollution Good 8/28/2014
Summit Lake Summit Park at boat ramp 0 Lake Summit Dr Winter Haven FL 33884 27.992         -81.697 Lake Summit connects to Peace River Good 8/28/2014
Twin Lakes Twin Lakes Park 535 N Rochelle Dr Lake Alfred, FL 33850 28°05’51.95”N
81°43’38.57”W
Twin Lakes connects to Lake Swoope New 1/20/22

 

For a Printable List, Click HERE

 

Lakes Education Action Drive

The Board of Directors of LE/AD wants to thank the Southwest Florida Water Management District for partnering with us in replacing educational signage at Twin Lakes in Lake Alfred.

Over the years, LE/AD has taken the er…Lead in placing educational signage at various lakes throughout Polk County. Many of these signs are in need of replacement and the Twin Lakes is where we started.

New signs at Twin Lakes

At the bottom of this post you can see the old signs and why they needed to be replaced. But, here are the graphics up-close.

Again, thank you very much Southwest Florida Water Management District for your generous support!

Old Signage

Danny Kushmer

 

 

May, is Water Safety Month. Here is a great article from the University of Florida.

Florida leads the nation with many impressive statistics such as having the most IGFA fishing world records (925), being the state with most amount of coastline in the lower 48 (1,350 miles) and having more boats registered here than any other state (954,731 recreational and 30,274 commercial registered vessels)! With almost half of the 836 reported 2020 accidents happening between the months of May-August. This is a great time to brush up on some safety information as you approach the water’s edge!

Keep Reading……

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.

– END –

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

The Lakes Education Action Drive is happy to announce, the LEAD’r (our podcast) is now on Podbean. After seven episodes on our free site on SoundCloud it was time to upgrade to a professional presence.

Please follow us on Podbean and/or Apple today.

Water means different things to different people. Join Danny Kushmer as he and his daughter, Kaylie Kushmer have a conversation about water around the world on #WorldWaterDay. The Lakes Education Action Drive Podcast is designed to inform our members, residents, and visitors of Polk County the importance of our most precious resource, water.

Kaylie Kushmer

Kaylie is a 5th Generation Floridian with a passion for water. In her early 20’s Kaylie went on her first mission to bring clean water to the people of the Amazon. As Kaylie say’s “This trip changed my life”. Kaylie continued her journeys to the Amazon, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, and Nepal gaining a better understanding of the global clean water crisis.

Now, sit back and learn how we, in Polk County can apply Kaylie’s experiences to our everyday life protecting our most precious resource, water.

Podcast, Click Here: World Water Day 2021

Kaylie in the Amazon and Nepal…………

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/world-water-day-2021/id1559568771?i=1000513951679

Another successful Cardboard Boat Challenge and Lakes Festival is in the books. Lakes Education Action Drive would like to give a “HUGE” thank you to the City of Lakeland and it’s Lakes and Stormwater Division. Without them, this event would not take place.

On Friday, we got to host Chip Brewster of FOX 13. He came to Lake Hollingsworth to challenge staff members of the Lakeland Magic and Zoey and Mason.

Of course, what makes for quality television is, sinking. And, Chip and the Team from the Lakeland Magic did not disappoint.

On Saturday, about 50 cardboard boats (pre-built and on-site built) competed for the honors of being a survivor.

Along with the 50 boats and their teams, the shores of Lake Hollingsworth saw about 300 spectators enjoying this beautiful natural venue.

Teams competed in 6 categories. On-Site Family, On-Site Youth, and On-Site Corporate/Family had 1 1/2 hours to design and build their boat. While Pre-Built Family, Pre-Built Youth, and Pre-Built Corporate/Family had to use all of the same materials but could do so prior to the race.

And the winners are……………..

On-Site Family
1st Team Gerber 2:02
2nd Team Brown 2:30
3rd Team Rathbone 3:16

On-Site Youth
1st ASCE Team 3 1:35
2nd ASCE Team 4 2:18
3rd Troop 106 2:32

On-Site Corporate/Family
1st FDOT 2:06
2nd ESA 1:11
3rd None

Pre-Built Family
1st Team Royan 2:26
2nd Super-Duperrault’s 2:36
3rd House of Gerber 2:58

Pre-Built Youth
1st RSA Robotocs 3:29
2nd Central Florida Aerospace Academy 5:08
3rd Combee Academy, Turtle Savers 6:53

Pre-Built Corporate
1st Wood Environment & Infrastructure 1:02
2nd FDOT 1:04
3rd Lakeland Sister Cities 1:33

LE/AD Lakes Awareness (Team that displayed the best Theme)
House of Gerber, Tale of 2 Turtles

Titanic Award (The most epic sinking)
Rochelle School of the Arts, The Current

Spirit Award (Cheered the most)
Combee Academy of Design and Engineering

Best of Show (As viewed by the judges)
Safety Products Inc, S.S. Safe Waters

People’s Choice (Voted by the people)
WonderHere, Sailing on a Sea of Wonder

Survivor (Still floating after all these heats)
Wood Environment & Infrastructure, Dump No Waste – Drains To Lake

Please follow Lakes Education Action Drive on Instagram and tag your photos #lakeseducation #CBBC19 and #LakelandCardboardBoat19