Paula Russo, Immediate Past President
The Florida State Parks Foundation believes it’s vital that children grow up understanding the importance of protecting our natural environment and knowing of Florida’s deep history and past cultures. Our state parks are ideal adjunct classrooms and two of the Foundation’s most important programs work to get as many kids into the parks as possible.
The first of the two programs is called, Learning in Florida’s Environment (LIFE), which is a model for science-based environmental education on public conservation lands. Each program represents a partnership between a Florida State Park and one or more school districts to bring students outdoors to learn science through hands-on field labs facilitated by educators, scientists, and land/resource managers.
With financial help, a LIFE Program site is in development now at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo. The park has renovated and transformed a former storage building into a perfect classroom and now it needs to be outfitted with tables, chairs, white board, and equipment like microscopes, and plankton and seine nets. These items, and much more, is what it takes to “grow” scientists. It’s a long list and costs add up fast.
The second program is known as Yellow Buses in the Parks. Its purpose is to pay for field trip transportation costs which are often out of reach for many school districts in Florida, especially in economically depressed areas. More field trips mean more school children can benefit from these great educational experiences in the parks!
If you’re looking for a worthy cause to support with a holiday or year-end tax-deductible gift, please consider these programs. Your contribution will help us expand these programs and reach more children. Click here and be sure to indicate which program you’d like your donation to go to!