What better way to cultivate understanding, appreciation and protection for our environment than through education? The South Florida Water Management champions responsible stewardship of one of our most vital natural resources – water. If you are a student or just curious to learn more, we have programs available for teachers and students. Teacher training programs include The Great Water Odyssey, Everglades: An American Treasure and LILA: An Everglades Living Laboratory. To experience learning in "Nature's Classroom," the South Florida Water Management District has developed a hands-on environmental education program, called Legacy. The program partners local high schools with public lands the District manages to provide outdoor learning activities for students. Teach the children well and they become life-long ambassadors for the environment.
Nature's Classroom: Learning on Public Lands [PDF] and [PPTX]
Our hands-on environmental education program, called Legacy, connects water resource and environmental education with land management activities. The program partners public lands we manage with local high schools to provide outdoor learning activities for students.
Our expertise in land management, water resource and environmental science is a perfect opportunity to bring outdoor learning experiences to teachers and students. Classroom-specific curriculum may include bird patrol field studies, data and photo monitoring of flora and fauna and aquatic invertebrate studies. Teachers, land managers and program coordinators work together to identify Legacy activities on specific lands. more »
Legacy Program goals focus on:
Strengthening the connection of District lands with water resource and environmental education
Providing communities with new opportunities to benefit from public lands
Enhancing environmental stewardship in youth
Encouraging recreational use of public lands
Originally developed by the St. Johns River Water Management District, this program is similar to other programs at our sister agencies, including the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's LIFE (Learning In Florida's Environment) program and the Southwest Florida Water Management District's Splash Grant program.
Please contact Lorraine Mayers, Legacy Coordinator at email@example.com or call 954-713-3200 ext. 4989.
Legacy Sites for 2010-2011 Include:
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.
Legacy activities at CREW include:
Bird surveys documenting bird species with annual data reports of findings presented to CREW, SFWMD and School Boards
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.
Legacy activities at DuPuis include:
GPS and photo documentation of pine flatwoods understory restoration with annual reports and PowerPoint Presentations to younger students
The Legacy Program at DuPuis Management Area – Presented by Clark Advanced Learning Center High School Students (August 27, 2010 - April 29, 2011) [PDF] and [PPT]
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. The District partners with the Center for Environmental Studies at Florida Atlantic University to offer educational opportunities for students and teachers.
Legacy activities at LILA include:
Water quality monitoring and aquatic invertebrate surveys will include tests for critical water quality parameters, collect data and analyze results
Legacy at LILA: Students' Final Presentation [PDF]
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.
Legacy activities at Osceola include:
Students will conduct a wildlife survey, map the locations using GPS and implement procedures to enhance tortoise habitat
Legacy at OSC AP Environmental Science: Students' Gopher Tortoise Survey Presentation [PDF]
“The swamp because I've never been anywhere like this.”
“All the outside activities. I love the environment!”
“The boardwalk to be in the middle of the marsh.”
“Setting the stakes and stomping through the woods.”
“Finding the Geocach after searching so hard.”
“Experiencing the beautiful boardwalk.”
“Talking with the SFWMD scientists.”
“The nature center. Learning about the animals was exciting.”
“Walking through the palmettos and connecting with nature.”
“Holding the lubber (grasshopper.) I didn't know they were so tame.”
“Marking the transects, then looking up to see 3 bald eagles flying overhead. This wouldn't happen just anyplace!”
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. In 2009 alone, SFWMD-sponsored teacher training workshops for the The Great Water Odyssey and Everglades: An American Treasure – both science-based curricula – reached more than 750 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).
The Great Water Odyssey is a computer-based 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!
TheEverglades: An American Treasure is a teacher training workshop for middle school and high school teachers developed to focus on skills that students require for FCAT success. These include reading comprehension, graph making, diagram interpretation and data analysis. Workshops include Inservice Credits, lab kits and other free resources. This five-day lesson was created to help students explore the biotic and abiotic systems that weave together to form our American treasure, the Everglades. This workshop also includes a module called LILA: An Everglades Living Laboratory, which features curricula and field studies on the science behind Everglades restoration research at an 80-acre outdoor laboratory. LILA is in the Arthur R. Marshall National Wildlife Refuge in Boynton Beach.
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.