Spring 2021 Sustainability Fellow: Sarah Calzada

Laurelin Haas
Bat House Sign at Lake Elberta Park Slide

Partner: Apalachee Audubon Society

Student: Sarah Calzada, third year undergraduate in Geography

In Spring 2021, Sarah worked on a variety of projects with the Apalachee Audubon Society, including drafting an interpretive sign, organizing a community clean up event, and writing an editorial advocacy piece for the local newspaper. Because Sarah loved her experience of installing a bat house at Lake Elberta Park in Fall 2020, she returned to continue her work in the community.

During the semester, Sarah worked with Peter Kleinhenz and Heather Levy, Apalachee Audubon Society board members, and other community stakeholders. The Apalachee Audubon Society aims to protect the environment through education, appreciation, and conservation. The organization received a grant to restore Lake Elberta, and Sarah was tasked with a variety of projects to help restore the lake and teach diverse populations about its importance.

“The big takeaway from my fellowship this semester was to have patience and be flexible because my initial project of installing an interpretive bat sign did not work out,” Sarah said.

Sarah’s interpretive bat sign was put on hold because it was difficult to find native bat photos that were both high quality and under budget. However, Sarah was able to pivot and focus her attention on other meaningful projects, including a successful community clean-up event at Lake Elberta. Sarah and the other organizers meet their goal of 30 volunteer sign ups within hours after advertising the event.

“This semester of the Fellowship kind of reaffirmed what I want to do in life and how I want to go forward from here,” said Sarah. “I want my career to be in environmental sustainability and also probably working with people because I really like having that interaction.”

In addition to submitting a draft of the interpretive bat sign text and helping to organize the community event, Sarah is also working on drafting a newspaper article on the importance of bats to the local ecosystem. She hopes that the article will have a wide reach and that it will begin to help clear up misunderstandings about the important species.

“Sarah’s work this semester was in some ways more impressive than in the fall because of her amazing pivot and the fact that she was able to create a super successful program in a much shorter time frame,” said Amelia Fusaro, an Apalachee Audubon Society board member. “

To learn more about the Apalachee Audubon Society's work at Lake Elberta, visit apalachee.org/lakeelberta.

To learn more about the Sustainability Fellows program, visit sustainablecampus.fsu.edu/sustainability-fellows