The South Florida Water Management District champions responsible stewardship of one of our most vital natural resources – water. What better way to cultivate understanding, appreciation and protection for our environment than through education?
We have public lands where field study programs are available for teachers and students and environmental education opportunities can be found for anyone just curious to learn more. Our teacher training modules include The Great Water Odyssey, an online program designed for elementary school students.
Our field study programs connect water resource and environmental education with land management activities. The programs partner public lands we manage with local schools to provide outdoor learning activities for students.
Please contact Niki Spencer for more information about these programs.
Field Study Opportunities on SFWMD Lands:
Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed (CREW) – Lee and Collier County
The 7,000-acre Corkscrew Marsh is the headwaters for the Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed (CREW).The entire watershed, more than 26,400 acres in all, spans both Lee and Collier counties and provides natural flood protection, water purification and critical aquifer recharge. Wildlife sightings are frequent as the watershed also serves as important habitat for animal species such as the endangered Florida panther, snail kite and wood stork. Other birds, particularly woodpeckers, red-shouldered hawks and a variety of warblers, are always plentiful. The District partners with the CREW Land and Water Trust to offer educational programs and recreational opportunities.
The DuPuis Management Area is a 21,875-acre multi-use natural area. The property is interspersed with numerous ponds, wet prairies, cypress domes, pine flatwoods and remnant Everglades marsh. A 400-foot boardwalk trail provides a meandering path through a cypress swamp. The area provides 22 miles of hiking trails and 40 miles of horseback trails. Recreational opportunities abound with an equestrian center, graded vehicle roads, backpack and group campsites and seasonal hunting. DuPuis is far from urban areas, and its dark night sky lends itself to excellent star gazing. The District partners with the Center for Environmental Studies at Florida Atlantic University to conduct events, lecture series and other educational opportunities at the onsite environmental education facility.
LILA (Loxahatchee Impoundment Landscape Assessment) – Palm Beach County
LILA is a working 80-acre model of the Everglades ecosystem on the grounds of the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. This "living laboratory" gives experts an opportunity to research and apply restoration techniques on a small, controlled scale before taking them into the 1.7 million-acre Everglades ecosystem. The unique facility was built in 2003 as a partnership between the South Florida Water Management District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Field study activities at LILA include:
Water quality monitoring and aquatic invertebrate surveys that include testing for critical water quality parameters, data collection and analysis of results
Reedy Creek, Osceola Environmental Studies Center – Osceola County
Reedy Creek connects Lake Russell to Cypress Lake and Lake Hatchineha. A riverine cypress swamp is located in the Reedy Creek watershed. While floodplain swamp dominates, 13 additional communities, including rare dry prairie, mesic flatwoods and scrub are also found. In 1995, the Save Our Rivers Program acquired thousands of acres in the Reedy Creek-Lake Marion Creek system. In Osceola County, 850 of these acres are assigned for Environmental Center use through a partnership program with the Osceola School Board and Osceola County. Here in the wilds of central Florida, visitors experience Florida's unique scrub habitat. Portable classrooms are used for hands-on environmental education and an interpretive center.
Find out about teacher training workshops and materials for elementary, secondary, high school and hands-on college-level studies of water resource issues. We have a variety of materials suitable for each group and links to environmental education resources.
We work with school districts, local governments and regional organizations to identify school-based curricula that educate students on water resource issues. SFWMD-sponsored teacher training workshops for The Great Water Odyssey have reached hundreds of teachers who brought the lessons to their classrooms. All lessons meet Sunshine State Standards and help teachers achieve their classroom goals for the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT).
Please contact Niki Spencer with questions about these programs.
The Great Water Odyssey is an online, interactive curriculum for third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students. The Great Water Odyssey is a creative, hands-on way to teach students about reading, science, language arts, geography, history, math and conserving water. Give students the chance to explore the world, travel through time and meet new friends while protecting one of Florida's most valuable natural resources – water!
Now available as a printable PDF document, Everglades: An American Treasure was developed to help students explore the biotic and abiotic systems that weave together to form our American treasure, the Everglades.
LILA: An Everglades Living Laboratory
The science behind Everglades restoration is keeping researchers busy at a unique outdoor laboratory: the Loxahatchee Impoundment Landscape Assessment (LILA), located in Boynton Beach, Florida.
LILA is a working, 80-acre model of the Everglades ecosystem on the grounds of the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge in Boynton Beach, Florida. This "living laboratory" gives experts an opportunity to research and apply restoration techniques on a small, controlled scale before taking them into the 1.7 million-acre Everglades ecosystem.
The unique facility was built in 2003 as a partnership between the South Florida Water Management District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Visitors to the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge will find LILA located on the birding trail. By visiting LILA, you'll be able to spend a morning watching a wide variety of native wading birds and other wildlife – at the same time scientists are collecting and analyzing data that will ultimately be used to restore Florida's precious Everglades.