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Environmental Education K-12

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Archbold Biological Station provides environmental education programs to help people of all ages discover and understand the unique and endangered Florida scrub. Several programs for children in Grades K-12 are offered each year. The program goals are; promote a sound foundation in ecological principles, nurture a sense of stewardship for Florida scrub habitat, demonstrate the value of scientific research, and develop a deeper understanding of the importance of natural habitats for scientific investigation. Details of K-12 environmental education activities are also outlined in our Biennial Reports (1995-96, 1997-98, and 1999-00).

Environmental Education Program for Grades 3, 4, and 5: Florida Ecology: Getting to Know the Real Florida. In fall and winter, teachers and school children are invited to participate in this 5-day program. During each of the first four days, teachers show Archbold  PowerPoint programs, and each program allow for student questions and discussion and includes a teacher's guide to the images. Suggested activities for student projects are listed in a teacher's manual. On the fifth day, the class visits Archbold Biological Station on an all-day field trip. Field trip activities are conducted by Archbold staff and volunteers. The field trip takes approximately 3-3.5 hours and picnic tables are available for snacks and lunch after the program is finished.

PowerPoint Programs

Day 1: Meet the Real Florida
Day 2: Getting to Know the Real Florida
Day 3: Life in the Real Florida
Day 4: Living in the Scrub Community

When students arrive, they are ushered into the auditorium for a discussion of field trip activities. These activities include; an hour-long "Scrub Hunt" looking for natural objects and ecological relationships, an introduction to animal tracking with a discussion and active investigation of animal tracks, observation of weather conditions and equipment at the weather station, and the "Scientist's Lab" where students are encouraged to interact with the hands-on displays.

The Florida Scrub Coloring Book (first produced by Archbold Biological Station in 1996, and reprinted several times, most recently in March 2005), is very popular; with teachers, at nature centers, and for home-schooled children, and may be used by children of all ages. The coloring book helps educators explain complicated ecological processes and relationships in the Florida scrub. The coloring book is available online and from the Station's gift shop. At the conclusion of each elementary school field trip to the Station, each student receives a Florida Scrub Coloring Book.

Lake Placid Middle School Honor Society students contribute many hours of community service by acting as teacher aides during day 5 (the field trip to Archbold) of the environmental education program (Grades 3-5). They help the elementary students; find items on the Scrub Hunt, identify animal tracks, focus their attention on interesting natural occurrences, record weather data, and assist with interactive displays. Several honor middle school students also write 2 newsletters each school year for the classes that have visited Archbold. The Scrub Scribe, Archbold Field Trip Follow up for Students by Students, contains articles on scrub organisms, interviews with Archbold researchers, and letters, poems, drawings, and games related to the scrub. Other honor students design a Web site for their school about honor-society activities.

Discovering Florida Scrub, a curriculum guide to exploring science in a native ecosystem (produced in 1999 with support from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission), is designed for teachers and students living near Florida's scrub and provides them with background information and hands-on science activities. The curriculum was distributed to schools and environmental education centers in the 26 Florida counties that have scrub habitat. This curriculum presents the complex world of natural science in ways that fit the needs of busy teachers and the learning styles of curious students. The curriculum encourages students and teachers to go into the scrub and to explore the habitat using hands-on inquiry-based activities. Although designed for Grades 3-5, the activities and information include novel approaches and advanced ideas suitable for older students. The organisms chosen for the activities are ones that can be found and worked with easily. 

Scrub Ecology, An Archbold Summer Day Camp. Each year since 1992, during May and June, four, one-week day camp sessions are held for active, nature loving children ages 7-12. Recently a fifth session was added to accommodate the popularity of the camp. The campers participate in many activities including wildlife observation, nature crafts, games, hikes, visits with scientists, and hands-on explorations in the scrub habitat.
see photo album

Other School Programs. The Archbold Education Office works with school groups of all ages and affiliations. Programs can be designed specifically for older or younger students. For example, field trips with a focus on plant ecology and plant identification have been provided for middle school classes. High school ecology students visit on field trips, work with researchers, and train for special contests such as the regional and state Envirothons. Teacher workshops feature the Florida scrub. Many Archbold scientific and education staff serve as judges in county and regional student science fairs and participate in school career day programs.

Jenny Schafer, education intern, and Morgan Lamborn (Lake Placid Middle School Honor Society), student assistant,at the weather station with Grade 5 students (Fred Wild Elementary, Sebring), 7 December 2001. Digital photo by Nancy Deyrup.
Jenny Schafer, education intern, and Morgan Lamborn (Lake Placid Middle School Honor Society), student assistant,at the weather station with Grade 5 students (Fred Wild Elementary, Sebring), 7 December 2001. Digital photo by Nancy Deyrup.
Grade 4 students (Woodlawn Elementary, Sebring) on a scrub hunt  led by Archbold's Rick Lavoy, 20 November 2001. Photo by Torgrim Breiehagen.
Grade 4 students (Woodlawn Elementary, Sebring) on a scrub hunt  led by Archbold's Rick Lavoy, 20 November 2001. Photo by Torgrim Breiehagen.


Scrub Scribe Issues

Nov 2008

Feb 2009

Dec 2009

Feb 2010

Dec 2010