Everglades Literacy for All: The Everglades Foundation Invests in Education

By Jennifer Diaz

Preserving and protecting America’s Everglades requires a new generation of Floridians that understand and appreciate its importance.  In 2013, the Everglades Foundation partnered with Florida Atlantic University’s Pine Jog Environmental Education Center to enhance this awareness throughout Florida and beyond.  Collaborating with school districts, curriculum development specialists and selected schools, the two organizations developed a first-of-its-kind comprehensive Everglades education curriculum for K-12 students.  This unique Everglades Literacy Program is based on seven guiding principles linked to specific learning objectives and related lesson plans at each grade level.

Each grade level features three lessons built around a common theme.  Students explore key aspects of the Everglades, the issues surrounding this vast ecosystem, and ways to take action to help protect it through educational hands-on activities. These lessons have been piloted by teachers in classrooms across South Florida and all lessons are fully aligned with the state of Florida’s education standards.

Teacher training plays a critical role in making the Everglades Literacy Program effective in the classroom. The Everglades Foundation with FAU’s Pine Jog Environmental Education Center facilitate free professional development workshops to provide K-12 teachers with the insights and materials they need to implement the Everglades Literacy Program in their classrooms while integrating its content with other science and non-science related curricula.

To date, such workshops have been conducted in three counties including Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach. The Everglades Foundation looks forward to adding six additional counties in 2015. In order increase teacher-training capacity; a Train the Trainer program will be launched summer of 2015.

The Teacher Toolkit, curriculum materials and Everglades Literacy Conceptual Framework are available for free download at evergladesfoundation.org/curriculum.

For additional information regarding free teacher workshops, please email Jennifer Diaz at  jdiaz@evergladesfoundation.org.

 

Written by Jennifer Diaz. She serves as the Director of Education for the Everglades Foundation, Inc. Previously, Jennifer taught for Miami-Dade County Public Schools and has extensive experience as a science coach and science curriculum development.

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