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volunteer removing invasive plants

eVIP Volunteers at the 2023 Dell Property Earth Day Project

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Save The Date

National Public Lands Day 2023

Join the Orange County Environmental Protection Division to celebrate National Public Lands Day on September 23 from 9 to 11 a.m. This year, volunteers will continue the effort started during Earth Day 2023, assisting with invasive plant and fence removal on the Dell Green PLACE property near Savage Christmas Creek Preserve. The event will be a family friendly project that is great for small groups, scouts and students seeking volunteer hours! Limited spots available, send an email for more information or to register for the event.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Where Are They Now?

M'kenzy Link, Former Intern

intern sitting in grassy field

Orange County Environmental Protection Division (EPD) is happy to welcome back a former Green PLACE intern, M’kenzy Link, as a staff member! EPD recently hired M’kenzy as the On-Call Senior Technician for the Green PLACE team. During her time as an intern, M’kenzy earned a B.S. in Environmental Studies at the University of Central Florida. Now that she has graduated, she is excited to continue her passion for the environment at EPD! 


On how the EPD Internship influenced her career path: My time as an intern taught me a lot about natural resource management as a whole, which gave me a better idea of what kind of future career I would want. It inspired me to want to become more involved in "big picture" sustainability.


On memorable moments at EPD: Once a year the Green PLACE team does Wetland Restoration Monitoring at the TM Econ Mitigation Bank, which involved wading through chest-deep water and swamp. It was tough but one of the most fascinating field days.


On notable projects: I have been working on developing outreach programs to spread more awareness of our Green PLACE properties, which will inspire more people to visit the beautiful conservation areas.


On advice for future interns: Job shadow as many departments as you can! It's good to figure out what you like, but more importantly what you don't like. Taking that initiative can be beneficial for present decisions, but it also allows you to make connections that can benefit you in the future. Allow yourself to meet as many different people as possible, there's always something new to learn!

Orange County Jr. Naturalist Program

Dragonflies & Damselflies at Hidden Pond Preserve

Jr Naturalist Program logo

Join the Orange County Environmental Protection Division for a morning of dragonfly and damselfly watching as we take a short hike around Hidden Pond Preserve. Register today! Participants will learn about dragonfly and damselfly life cycles, acrobatic aerial behaviors and the importance of conservation. Bring your binoculars, as we will be searching for these "mosquito hawks" and more, on the observation deck. Send an email for more information and to receive future class announcements.

Pollution Prevention Week

Reducing Pollution at Its Source

Pollution Prevention Image

September 18-22 is Pollution Prevention (P2) Week! Many of us grew up learning about the three R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. This year, Orange County Environmental Protection Division (EPD) would like to challenge residents and businesses to think about the first R—reduce. By making more conscious choices about products and habits, we can stop pollution at its source and make an even bigger impact protecting our environment. Investing in a reusable water bottle instead of recycling disposable bottles seems like a no-brainer. Swapping out disposable k-cups for a reusable pod for your coffee may be a less obvious alternative. EPD wants to empower residents to look at ways we can reduce pollution sources in our community. Follow Orange County at @ocfl on Instagram during P2 week for source reduction trivia, tips and tricks!

Sustainability in Orange County

Citizen Planner Academy

citizen planner academy

You can help make our community a more prosperous, livable and healthy place for all our citizens and guests both now and in the future. Citizen Planner Academy is a series of classes designed to promote and increase citizen engagement in sustainable decision making by developing knowledge of the planning process, and to introduce various planning disciplines. Sign up for this month’s workshop to learn the basic concepts of sustainable planning!

Orange County Wetlands Ordinance

We Want to Hear from You!

photo of flower in wetlands

Orange County is proposing changes to its Wetland Conservation Areas Ordinance. The goals of these changes include identifying and protecting priority wetlands and surface waters, balancing wetland protections with property rights, making processes more streamlined, predictable and consistent, and making the ordinance easier to understand. Learn more and share a good idea or comment online.

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Receive More News From EPD

Would you like to learn more about the Orange County Environmental Protection Division (EPD)? EPD is excited to share a variety of information about events, sustainability, the Back to Nature Wildlife Refuge, regulatory updates, lake management, water quality and more! If you would like to be included on the email list, please fill out this brief sign-up form.

ONGOING ACTIVITIES
Storm Drain Label
Storm Drain Labeling
Spearhead a storm drain labeling project in your community. Orange County eVIP provides all the supplies, a one-hour training session and the support to create an enjoyable and meaningful service project for your group. Please help us keep our surface water clean and our storm drains functioning properly. This is a great project for scout groups! 
Girls identifying natural specimen with phone app
The Explore Nature Project
The Explore Nature Project provides an opportunity to help clean up natural lands in Orange County and learn about the countless species in these diverse ecosystems. To view recent observations captured by Explore Nature volunteers, visit eVIP's iNaturalist Project page. Then click join to upload and share your finds! Volunteer hours will be verified upon request.

Intern on natural land
Internship Program
To learn more about the program, send an email stating your interest. Internships are competitive and applications are accepted year-round. Students can earn service hours, college credit and meaningful work experience. Interns who complete a three-month unpaid internship are eligible to apply for paid internships as available.
Orange County Water-Quality Monitoring
Orange County partners with the UF/IFAS LAKEWATCH program to provide volunteers with training and equipment for water-quality testing on local lakes. Volunteers need lake access, a few hours each month to collect samples, transportation to deliver samples, a canoe or watercraft and a one-year-plus commitment to sampling. 
EnviroScape Training and Presentations
Learn how to use the EnviroScape Model to provide fun, hands-on watershed education presentations. Are you an educator? Once trained, classroom teachers and youth group leaders can also "check out" our education materials. Alternately, request EnviroScape presentations for your students. Presentations are scheduled year-round as schedule permits.
Volunteers performing trash pickup
Group Community
Cleanup Kit
Is your group looking for an environmental project? eVIP has a new kit that helps individuals lead a cleanup and assist in keeping Orange County free of pollution. eVIP provides the supplies, training and support. The project is a good fit for volunteers of all ages and groups of all sizes. Educational materials will be provided as requested. 
Thank you for your interest!
If you would like more information on any of the opportunities listed above,
please contact the Orange County Environmental Protection Division Volunteer Coordinator 
Carrie Mohanna at [email protected] or 321-689-8232.
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Orange County Environmental Protection Division
407-836-1430 | 321-689-8232 (C) | 407-836-1499 (F)
3165 McCrory Place, Suite 200, Orlando, FL 32803

Serving our community by conserving, protecting and enhancing the environment for current and future generations.
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