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USF Patel College of Global Sustainability

The University of South Florida is one of only 22 colleges to receive the highest score possible in The Princeton Review's "2014 Green Rating Honor Roll."

The Princeton Review, which is known primarily for its college prep programs and its ratings of colleges' educational performance, rated 832 schools based on data concerning their sustainability-related practices, policies and academic offerings.

Schools received scores between 60 and 99, with USF among 22 colleges getting that top mark and making the "Honor Roll."

VIDEO: Florida Keys Prepare for Sea Level Rise

Jul 2, 2013
Andy Newman / Florida Keys News Bureau

Hurricane storm surge can inundate the narrow, low-lying Florida Keys, but that is far from the only water worry for officials.

A tidal gauge operating since before the Civil War has documented a sea level rise of 9 inches in the last century, and officials expect that to double over the next 50 years. So when building a new Stock Island fire station, county authorities went ahead added a foot and a half over federal flood planning directives that the ground floor be built up 9 feet.

Seasonal tidal flooding that was once a rare inconvenience is now so predictable that some businesses at the end of Key West's famed Duval Street stock sandbags just inside their front doors, ready anytime.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

Electrical outages during recent hurricanes have many homeowners investing in portable generators which have become more affordable and available to consumers.

And while generating your own electricity can provide comfort and convenience in an emergency, it doesn’t come without potential dangers.

So, here are some general tips on the maintenance and operation of a portable generator as you prepare for the 2013 Hurricane season.

General Care of a Small Generator

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Most drivers wouldn't do what Jason Leon did when he saw a large snake poking its head out of the brush beside the road: He pulled over, grabbed the snake and started pulling.

What he ended up with -- after a tussle and help from his friends -- was a record-setting giant Burmese python, as pictured on HuffPost Miami. 

Dalia Colon / WUSF

Saturday, April 20, marks the third anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion. The accident killed 11 workers and released nearly 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. But efforts to restore the gulf are far from over.

A new report by the federal Oil Spill Commission gives Congress a D-plus for its handling of the ongoing cleanup.

Before Disney World, Silver Springs in Central Florida was for decades one of the state's most popular tourist destinations.

Even if you've never visited Silver Springs, you might have seen it. The 1960s television show Sea Hunt was filmed here, as were countless movies, including Tarzan and Creature From the Black Lagoon.

The crystal clear water of Silver Springs made it invaluable to Hollywood. Guy Marwick, the founder of the Silver River Museum, says it drew more than 1 million visitors a year.

Larry Richardson / fws.gov

When the the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service quietly turned over its authority to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission last year, Florida became the only state with the power to green-light activities that harm its most vulnerable species without federal review.

For the third time in less than a month, a possible sinkhole has developed in Seffner. Hillsborough County Fire Rescue found soft soil around the home, and a sampling crew will test the area Wednesday.

FWC

You may have seen them on the beach, getting lovey-dovey in broad daylight. Perhaps you did your best to look away.

But we’re not talking about college kids having a spring break fling.

We’re talking about horseshoe crabs.

Victor Habbick / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Here's a troubling statistic: Of the 63,837 species worldwide that have undergone population assessments, 19,817 — or one out of three — are threatened with extinction.

That's according to Sarasota's Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium. But the lab isn't taking these numbers lying down. 

This week, Mote announced that it will host a new coalition of aquariums, zoos and governmental and non-governmental organizations to address the needs of sea turtles, sea birds and other vulnerable marine life.

Florida's oyster industry, and the 2,500 jobs associated with it, are in danger if officials can't find a way to get more fresh water into Apalachicola Bay, Gov. Rick Scott said Wednesday. Scott wants the federal government to settle a water dispute among Florida, Georgia and Alabama. Others blame drought, high temperatures, overfishing and the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

No arrests were made, although operations at TECO's Big Bend Power Plant in Apollo Beach were interrupted for a few hours Thursday due to a Republican National Convention-related protest. Five protesters chained themselves together in the middle of a road at the plant, while a sixth chained himself to a truck.

Watch: Environmental Protest at Big Bend

Aug 30, 2012
Alex Cook

Protesters in town for the RNC took a bus ride down to Apollo Beach on Thursday to support an environmental protest at TECO Energy's Big Bend power station.  

Environmental activist group Earth First! had chained themselves together in the road leading up to the plant, and police worked to free them from their constraints.  No arrests were made, and the protesters left peacefully.

Earth First! spokesperson Leah Rothschild said they chose the Big Bend station for their action because it's Florida's dirtiest power plant and TECO helped fund the RNC.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF News

A new effort to promote clean energy for transportation in the Tampa Bay area was launched at USF Tuesday morning, but it's not the first time such an initiative has been attempted. In the late 1990s, the Suncoast Clean Cities Coalition brought together dozens of member groups interested in alternative energy. However, the coalition died out in part because resources weren't available.

Fast forward to today, when electric cars are more prevalent and gas is nearly four dollars a gallon, and the need for a centralized organizing group has been rekindled. That need is being met with the Tampa Bay Clean Cities Coalition.

"The timing is perfect because now I think the general public that doesn't have time to pay attention to this stuff on a daily basis can see that these technologies are not for hobbyists or transportation geeks like me," said the USF's Patel School of Global Sustainability's Stephen Reich. "They're really mainstream alternatives to filling their tanks with petroleum or diesel every day."

Taegan McMahon

New research from USF is finding that a commonly-used fungicide may be toxic to aquatic life.

The chemical is chlorothalonil, the most commonly used synthetic fungicide in the United States. It’s used on peanuts, tomatoes, potatoes, and turf grass.

It’s in the same family as DDT, the chemical that was banned after conservationist Rachel Carson’s 1962 book “Silent Spring.”

USF biologist Taegan McMahon, a doctoral candidate in the USF Department of Integrative Biology, has published two papers with associate professor Jason Rohr about the dangers of chlorothalonil.

The American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC)

The University of South Florida has received a national honor for taking on more environmentally friendly practices.  

USF picked up a 2012 Second Nature Climate Leadership Award at the doctoral level for a number of initiatives that are "shifting behavior on campus and within communities in favor of a clean and sustainable future."

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