Archbold Biological Station, Biennial Report 1997-1998

 
Children at Ecology Summer Day-camp sample aquatic life at the Neofiber Pond, just north of the Stationís Main Grounds; photo by  Nancy D. Deyrup.

       Accomplishments 1997-98
  • Presented 68 Station group tours and off-Station talks to 1450 adults.
  • Revised the Environmental Education curriculum Florida Ecology: Getting to Know the Real Florida.
  • Trained 80 Lake Placid Middle School Honor Society students to become peer teachers in environmental education.
  • Guided 13 middle school Honor Society students in the production of 4 issues of Scrub Scribe: Archbold Field Trip Follow Up by Students for Students newsletter.
  • Received a Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission Advisory Council Environmental Education grant to develop Florida scrub curriculum and offer a workshop for teachers of Grades 3-5 called Discovering Florida Scrub.
  • Presented 200 upper level students of Biology with local ecology information.
  • Trained 10 high school students for State and Regional Envirothon team.
  • Attended and helped with 7 Science Fairs and Career Days.
  • Distributed 17,000 copies of The Florida Scrub Coloring Book with St. John’s River Water Management District.


Children at Ecology Summer Day-camp sample aquatic life with a funnel trap at MacArthur Agro-ecology Research Center; photo by Nancy Deyrup.


Ecology Summer Day-camp (third session, June 1998) children and faculty assemble outside the general lab, their headquarters in Archbold Biological Stationís Main Building; photo by Fred Lohrer.

 


Environmental Education

Education Coordinator: Nancy D. Deyrup
Education Assistants: Richard J. Lavoy (1998), Helen W. Obenchain (1998), Charlotte B. Wilson
Interns: Audrey Buchanan, Melinda R. McElveen
Volunteers: Dylan Alegria, Sara Bailey, John Beckford, Anne Bellenger, Jeff Craig, Stephen Deyrup, Jared Elliott, Toni Ford, Sherrie Hall, Laura Holt, Russell Holt, Ruth Kowalski, Lake Placid Middle School Honor Society Students ( 36 students in Fall 1997 and 24 students in Fall 1998), Richard Lavoy, Amy Lohrer, Ingrith Martinez, Helen Obenchain, Alex Packham, Helen Packham, Nicole Popov, Dustin Pickert, Brian Sheehan, Kevin Sheehan, Robin Sherwood, Scott Wicker, David Willis  ]

[Biennial Contents | Biennial 95-96]

Elementary School Students. In 1989, Archbold Biological Station’s unique environmental education program, Florida Ecology: Getting to Know the Real Florida, was initiated. Most grade 4 students, and some grade 5 students, of Highlands County continue to be introduced to the Florida scrub through this program. During 1997–98, more than 2,225 elementary students from Highlands, Hendry, and DeSoto counties visited Archbold for the field trip component of this program (see Appendix J). The Florida Ecology program, which was reviewed and revised in 1998, consists of four classroom days of Station-developed filmstrips, activities, and discussions conducted by the classroom teacher, followed by a field trip to the Station. The field trip is comprised of four units: (1) a Scrub Hunt consisting of an hour’s walk through the scrub looking for natural objects and relationships; (2) an observation of weather conditions and instruments at the weather station; (3) a discussion and investigation of animal tracks found on a sandy firelane; and (4) a visit to the Scientist’s Lab, an exciting hands-on exploration of plant and animal artifacts as well as specially designed interactive displays on scrub organisms.

     Middle School Students. In the 1997 and 1998 school years, a total of 700 hours of volunteer help was contributed by Lake Placid Middle School Honor Society students. Community service is a requirement for Honor Society membership. Most students volunteer to participate in the Station’s environmental education program as assistants during the field trip component. Several of the Honor Society students work together as a literary team to write and produce a newsletter, The Scrub Scribe, Archbold Field Trip Follow up for Students by Students, for the elementary classes who visited the Station during the environmental education program. The Scrub Scribe includes: articles on animals and plants of the scrub; an interview with an Archbold scientist; letters, drawings, and poems about Florida’s scrub by students; and a scrub-related word search, crossword puzzle, or other game.

     Other School Programs. The Education Office works with school groups of all ages and affiliations. In addition to the Florida Ecology: Getting to Know the Real Florida program, Education personnel conduct programs for children’s organizations, private schools, and home schoolers. Local high school students can often be seen working with the Station staff during career shadowing and Envirothon competition training. Regional and State Envirothon competitions stress knowledge and problem-solving in five areas of the environment: wildlife, aquatics, forestry, soils, and a yearly revolving topic such as watersheds and land management. Many Station scientists and education staff also volunteer their time as judges for the County and Regional Science Fairs and as educators for Career Days.

     Scrub Curriculum for Elementary Schools. In 1998, the Education Office was awarded an Environmental Education grant entitled Discovering Florida Scrub by the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission’s Advisory Council on Environmental Education. Very little, if any Florida scrub curriculum exists for Florida elementary school teachers. Knowing that teachers need ideas and techniques based on accurate scientific principles, and opportunities to expand their knowledge of ecology and participate in hands-on inquiry based environmental education activities, the education staff wrote a grant proposing a project to write a Florida scrub curriculum for teachers of grades 3-5 and to develop a teacher training, Discovering Florida Scrub, workshop. The curriculum will be available to teachers and informal educators as a publication and to anyone with access to the Internet.

     During June and July, four, one-week Ecology Summer Day-camp (see photos, this page) sessions were held each year for children ages 7–12 years who love the outdoors and enjoy nature activities. Daily, the campers are introduced to careful observation, ecological concepts, and scientific research by the education staff and Station research biologists. Environmental education activities include many nature games (e.g. six-legged relay race, insect lunch, un-nature trail), crafts (e.g. leap frog checkers, bat kites, bug houses), visits by Station scientists (e.g. bats by J. Layne, plant pollination by M. Deyrup, bird adaptations by R. Bowman) and adventures (e.g. blind trail, hunting for aquatic organisms, night hike, ranch safari).

     Volunteer Program. One hundred and nineteen volunteers participated in the Archbold Biological Station’s volunteer program donating a total of 4,879 hours of services during 1997–98. Forty-five adult volunteers, several of whom have taken part in the program since it was established in 1995, continue to assist in a variety of areas including research at the Station, Riverwoods Lab, MacArthur Agro-ecology Research Center (MAERC), and education. Sixty Lake Placid Middle School Honor Society students each contributed over 10 hours of volunteer help during school visits.

     Community outreach continues through the year with Station group tours, off-site talks to community organizations, exhibits at environmental fairs, and providing information booklets for the self-guiding nature trail and for the native plant butterfly garden. A new visitor public education kiosk, parking area, and public picnic area was established just in time for the 1998 holiday season influx of visitors.

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© Archbold Biological Station, 12 April 2000
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