Featured Colleague — Jim Adamski

jim-adamski-waterfall-fc-groveBy Joy S. Jones

In teaching, you cannot see the fruit of a day’s work. It is invisible and remains so, maybe for 20 years. — Jacques Martin Barzun, educational philosopher and Presidential Medal of Freedom Award Winner

When it comes to protecting the environment, Valencia does its share, from recycling and reducing waste, to planting native plant species and managing energy use, collegewide. Add to that, the College is raising a bumper crop of nascent environmentalists, thanks to Jim Adamski, professor of geology on the East Campus.

Says Jim, “climate change will be the most important global issue in the 21st century, which will affect everything from human health to food supplies, national security and economic growth. Climate change will also affect biodiversity and the water cycle. We continue to see ongoing drought and wildfires in our western states. However, I find it encouraging that many of our students are becoming aware of these issues and realize their importance.”

Much of the awareness he speaks of is being cultivated in a campus club he founded, and for which he currently serves as an advisor, called Valencia Earth Studies Association (VESA). VESA has a mission of raising student and community awareness of environmental issues.

“We host Earth Day on East Campus, in addition to helping with various other events during the academic year such as Arbor Day and College Sustainability Day.,” he explains. “Our big accomplishments this year were installing a bat house and duck boxes, planting 13 new trees and adding a new pollinator garden.”

While raising students’ awareness of the issues, he also helps them discover nature and ways to enjoy it, and for Spring Break 2014, he took a group of students on a field trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

“Valencia is an important part of the Central Florida community and the Orlando Sentinel regularly runs articles about the impact of Valencia on our community,” he says, “and I’ve tried to extend this outreach by partnering with local environmental groups for our annual Earth Day event.”

At the 2013 and 2014 Earth Day events, VESA hosted the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey, Back to Nature Wildlife Refuge, Bat Belfrys, Inc., the Florida Native Plant Society, Save the Manatee Club, Sierra Club, Wekiwa Springs State Park and other local groups to help educate students about environmental issues and opportunities.

“These organizations, in turn, get a chance to connect with and possibly recruit new student members and volunteers.”

Jim is uplifted and encouraged by many of the students’ shared passion for the environment and inspired by the knowledge, dedication and enthusiasm of his colleagues — namely Jack Rogers, professor of geology, Patti Smith,  assistant chief information officer; and three professors of biology, Steve Myers, Jim Belcher and Elizabeth Ingram.

“VESA has really benefited from our partnership with Rachel Allen and the Peace and Justice Initiative. Clarence Canada, grounds maintenance supervisor, has also supported VESA and our mission to promote environmental awareness. And Lynn Dorn, dean of science, East Campus, has been incredibly supportive of my work with the club.”

“It is a pleasure being Jim’s learning leader,” says Lynn. “He is a stellar individual and a wonderful mentor to the students, who genuinely look up to him as a role model as VESA’s club advisor. And the young men are especially fortunate to have someone of Jim’s caliber to engage with.”

While enhancing the student experience is everyone’s priority, Jim acknowledges that his faculty experience is also constantly enriched.

“I really enjoy working with the students. I learn an incredible amount from them and Iook forward to having another successful year in 2014 – 2015.”

A professional geologist, licensed in the State of Florida, Jim worked for nearly 17 years for the U.S. Geological Survey, first as a hydrologist and then as a research geochemist. Afterward, he had his own consulting firm in Central Florida, conducting studies of tree islands, which are features in the Everglades, for South Florida Water Management District.

Jim joined Valencia as an adjunct professor in 2007. Last year marked his fourth year as a full-time professor and first full year as a tenured faculty member. He serves on the board of directors for Friends of the Wekiva River and in his spare time, enjoys riding his mountain bike, kayaking, playing guitar and spending quality time with his wife of 27 years.

Jim earned a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degree in geology, both from the University of Arkansas.

Know of someone doing great work at the College, who has been an employee for one year or more? Send the colleague’s name to us at The_Grove@valenciacollege.edu so he or she can be one of our featured colleagues.

6 Comments

  • Krystal Pherai said:

    Jim's passion for earth studies truly is inspiring. I am happy to work with him through the partnership between VESA and the Peace and Justice Initiative. Way to go, Jim!

    AMWed, 28 May 2014 11:42:28 +0000Wed, 28 May 2014 11:42:28 +0000am14,11:42 am

  • Calrence Canada said:

    Jim is a great asset to Valencia and our community, I certainly enjoy interacting with him and VESA.

    PMWed, 28 May 2014 14:02:55 +0000Wed, 28 May 2014 14:02:55 +0000pm14,2:02 pm

  • James Adamski said:

    Thank you for the comments. VESA also gets an incredible amount of support from the staff at Student Development. I need to make one correction to the above article. Patti Smith, to whom I was referring, is a professor of biology on East Campus.

    AMThu, 29 May 2014 09:55:00 +0000Thu, 29 May 2014 09:55:00 +0000am14,9:55 am

  • Chara Allen Young said:

    Jim, it is so ironic that we were both at the US Geological Survey, and our paths led us to Valencia. Congratulations on all the great work you are doing. Our students are fortunate to have you as a professor and as a VESA advisor.

    PMThu, 29 May 2014 12:23:21 +0000Thu, 29 May 2014 12:23:21 +0000pm14,12:23 pm

  • Rachel Allen said:

    I love how Jim connects our students and the Valencia community with local organizations that are also working to protect the environment. He truly has a collaborative spirit which makes him fun to work with!

    Thank you, Jim, for all that you do for Valencia!

    AMFri, 30 May 2014 05:14:37 +0000Fri, 30 May 2014 05:14:37 +0000am14,5:14 am

  • James Adamski said:

    Thanks Rachel and Chara for your comments. I love our collaboration with PJI. Chara, I think Valencia is the best job ever!

    AMFri, 30 May 2014 09:07:27 +0000Fri, 30 May 2014 09:07:27 +0000am14,9:07 am

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