One hundred and fifty years ago, President Abraham Lincoln signed into law the land grant university system which set the stage for Extension outreach education to local communities. This law directed states to create institutions of higher learning for the study of agricultural science and engineering, providing 30,000 acres of public land to each state for that purpose. Land grant universities support outreach activities through their Extension Services. The University of Florida has 67 county Extension offices throughout the state; Pinellas County Extension is located at 12520 Ulmerton Road next to Heritage Village in Largo.
Saturday, Sept. 15, has been set aside for Pinellas County Extension to showcase the Lawn and Garden Help Desk, which has provided county residents with horticulture and commercial lawn care expertise since the 1970s.
Residents are invited to enjoy the celebration from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Staff will be on hand to answer horticultural questions. Spin the wheel and test your knowledge about Extension for a chance to win an LED flashlight. Come early and enjoy an informative tour through the Natural Areas at 9 a.m., registration is at www.eventbrite.com/event/4211085470.
Florida Botanical Gardens joins in the celebration by having their volunteers and Master Gardeners offering 30-minute tours through the garden’s formal and Florida-friendly garden areas.
On Saturday, Sept. 22, Pinellas County Extension invites residents to enjoy a hike through the natural area of Brooker Creek Preserve in Tarpon Springs. Certified interpretive guides will lead visitors through ecosystems that transform with the slightest changes in elevation. Along the way, guides will explain the ecological and historical variations they experience. The tour begins at 9 a.m. and registration is available online at www.eventbrite.com/event/3715972574/eorg. Plan to stay after the hike and cool down inside the Environmental Education Center while exploring a variety of interactive and educational exhibits.
The following Saturday, Sept. 29, Pinellas County Extension will add to the 150th Land Grant anniversary by recognizing National Public Lands Day and National Estuaries Day at Weedon Island Preserve in St. Petersburg.
There will be a guided tour of the coastal mangrove hammocks as well as the opportunity to get down and dirty with the Pinellas Sea Grant on the canoe and kayak coastal cleanup. Both the hike and cleanup begin at 9 a.m.
At 2 p.m. the interactive marine learning stations welcomes visitors and guests. Bring a plain T-shirt to make a fish-printing keepsake. Register for events online at www.weedonislandpreserve.eventbrite.com. During the day, take time to explore the Cultural and Natural History Center and view the exhibits about the land and its inhabitants.
Pinellas County Extension is a partnership between Pinellas County government and the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences as part of a nationwide network of land grant universities. The University of Florida is an equal access/equal opportunity institution.
The mission of Pinellas County Extension is to provide research-based knowledge and education programs enabling people to make practical decisions to improve their quality of life and the world around them. Education focuses on sustainable living, lawn and garden, families and consumers, and 4-H youth development.
Pinellas County Extension offers programming at the Extension office, 12520 Ulmerton Road, Largo, 582-2100; at the Brooker Creek Preserve Environmental Education Center, 3940 Keystone Road, Tarpon Springs, 453-6800; and at the Weedon Island Preserve Cultural and Natural History Center, 1800 Weedon Drive NE, St. Petersburg, 453-6500.