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Fresh LIFE in Florida's State Parks

As interest in our science education program, LIFE, continues to grow Friends of Florida State Parks (FFSP) is organizing a series of one-day LIFE training workshops this fall.

LIFE, which stands for Learning in Florida’s Environment, is a statewide program administered by FFSP, which encourages local schools to use state parks and other public places as open air science labs. Currently there are 33 state parks and other public places offering the LIFE program or actively working towards doing so.

LIFE offers middle school science teachers more than 100 tried and tested labs to choose from – all approved by the Florida Department of Education and all part of the school science curriculum.

Developing the program and providing the resources to administer and manage it takes considerable time, money and expertise – but it is a program that will reap huge dividends by providing a different, more experiential learning experience to thousands of children who will, hopefully, become the guardians of our parks in the years ahead.

Our aim is to have at least 50 participating parks by 2020 which would mean at least 50,000 schoolchildren visiting the parks every year and perhaps very many more. It costs between $2,000 and $4,000 to supply each park with the scientific equipment it needs for their participating schools to use but once the equipment has been acquired the parks can host multiple schools during the year.

LIFE teams are also working on adapting the labs so that they can be used by high school and elementary schools as well.

The aim of the workshops is to connect park staff, volunteers and educators experienced in running the LIFE program with parks staff and volunteers wanting to learn more about it so that they can introduce it into their own parks. Educators wishing to be involved with the program are also invited to attend.

The workshop schedule is as follows:

  • Sept 16. District 2. Ichetucknee Springs.
  • Sept 23. District 1. Wakulla Springs.
  • Oct 7. District 4. Myakka River STOP Camp.
  • Oct 21.  District 3. Wekiwa Springs.

The District 5 workshop will be held at Savannas State Preserve at a date to be announced.

If you are interested in attending one of the free workshops, please email me at ffsp.philpott@gmail.com.

Don Philpott. FFSP Executive Director

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