SARASOTA COUNTY – Feeling walled in, as you practice social distancing to help stem the COVID-19 outbreak? Sarasota County Extension continues to develop online learning opportunities to help you break out, virtually.
The Extension office is offering an array of free or low-cost webinars on topics from cooking collards to conserving water, blog posts focused on current developments, and a range of instructional and informational videos, in addition to frequent social media posts and a range of web-based content.
“Our team is dedicated to educating and supporting our residents and businesses, and physical distance doesn’t change that,” said Lee Hayes Byron, director of the UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County office. “From pandemic-related safety and economic recovery issues to stress-relieving options, like gardening and wildlife viewing, our programs continue, and we remain available to serve our community, virtually.”
UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County, a partnership between the University of Florida and Sarasota County, translates academic research into community initiatives, classes, and volunteer opportunities related to 4-H youth development, agriculture, gardening and landscaping, natural resources; nutrition and healthy living, and sustainability.
To support that goal in this time of social distancing, Extension is offering more than 20 webinars in the next four weeks, with more in development every day. Some highlights are listed below, but you can find all the topics and register for any at ufsarasotaext.eventbrite.com.
- “Ask an Agent Anything” series: local food access (April 22), home and landscape pests (May 6), and lawn/landscape care (May 20).
- “Earth Day 50” series: microplastic pollution (April 23) and 4-H youth activities (April 30).
- “One Seed: Creative Collards“: tips on growing and cooking collards, plus a general gardening Q&A (April 29).
- Landscaping classes: trees (April 24), lawn care (April 27), pruning (May 4), palm care (May 5), HOA landscapes (May 7), and Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ (May 18).
- “The Basics of Solar Energy for Florida Homeowners“: technology, policies and funding options (April 29).
- “Green Cleaning Your Home“: inexpensive, effective options for home cleaning (April 30).
- “Preparing for Wildfires with Firescaping“: five-event series, held Thursdays (starts April 30).
If your schedule limits your options, you might find the Sarasota County Extension blog at blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/sarasotaco helpful. Recent posts include a look at the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, how Florida rule changes relating to COVID-19 might affect the eggs you buy, advice for safely washing fresh produce, and aid options for coastal businesses.
For visual learners, Extension’s Youtube channel (http://tiny.cc/ufsaraext_youtube) has video segments on backyard composting, weeding your (carrot) garden, 4-H life, and in-depth segments from recent Sustainable Communities Workshop topics and speakers.
Finally, Extension also posts tips, events and more through its social media channels: facebook.com/ufsarasotaext, twitter.com/ufsarasotaext, and instagram.com/ufsarasotaextension. The office maintains a trove of information at sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/sarasota and scgov.net/extension. And, you can find (and reach) Extension programs and staff at sarasota.ifas.ufl.edu/staff or 941-861-5000.
An Equal Opportunity Institution. UF/IFAS Extension, University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension. Sarasota County prohibits discrimination in all services, programs or activities. View the complete policy at scgov.net/ADA.