Maia McGuire, Florida Sea Grant agent for UF/IFAS Extension in Flagler and St. Johns counties, has been awarded the 2014 Don Sweat Sea Grant Extension Award.
The award is presented annually to a Florida Sea Grant agent who takes initiative, creativity and leadership in his or her extension program. For almost 15 years, McGuire has developed innovative extension programs that are known statewide and nationally.
She is perhaps most recognized for developing a variety of environmental education programs for teachers and K-12 students in the areas of marine and coastal ecology.
Two of her most popular curricula, one for third-grade students studying manatees, and one for fourth-grade students studying whales and dolphins, are designed to meet Florida’s Sunshine State Standards, and have been downloaded by educators across the nation.
McGuire also has developed week-long informal educational programs that teach adult learners to conserve water and energy, and remove invasive plants from Florida landscapes.
She contributed to the early development of Florida’s monofilament recovery and recycling program, which collects discarded fishing line to prevent it from entangling birds, sea turtles, fish and other wildlife. She has coordinated the placement of more than 80 outdoor containers in the four-county northeast Florida region, and as a result, earned the Individual Program Leadership award from the Florida Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals.
“Maia does an outstanding job building and maintaining that bridge between government, business, environmental entities and the public,” said Paul Haydt, senior project manager for the St. Johns River Water Management District. “She is a strong resource who is readily accessible to me as a professional and seems to be everywhere providing outreach and education programs.”
McGuire’s name has been added to the permanent plaque on display at the Florida Sea Grant state headquarters at the University of Florida.