Environmental Education Projects

News December 2011: Florida Projects among $1 Million Grant Recipients
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded more than $1 million in grants to non-profit and tribal organizations for environmental justice issues nationwide. The 2011 grants include three in the State of Florida:

  • Institute for Community Collaboration: Youth Leading Environmental Activism through Democracy, Hollywood,FL. The program teaches students about local food resources and encourages using area farmers markets and community gardens as healthy food sources. Youth complete training that they can use to implement a food service clearing project in their schools.
  • Suwanne River Area Health Education Center: Gainesville Environmental and Health Education Project, Gainesville, FL. the project assists 300 low-income Gainesville residents to address neighborhood neighborhood contamination of elevated levels of dioxin and arsenic, and bring attention to the need for scientific and comprehensive public education.
  • Protect Gainesville Citizens: Understanding Dioxin-Like Compounds in Indoor Dust, Healthy Homes Initiative, Gainesville, FL. Research on the exposure to contaminated house dust and ways to reduce its impact on public health, specifically focusing on dioxin and dioxin-like chemicals found in furniture, carpets and electronics.

Choctawhatchee Bay Watershed: Learning in Florida’s Environment (LIFE)

Contact: Greg Ira-FL Dept. of Environmental Protection (FL DEP), Office of Environmental Education

LIFEThis project provides two experiential learning opportunities each year to 200 students from two middle schools in Okaloosa County. The students conduct a total of six field labs at two state parks in the watershed: 1) Rocky Bayou State Park, and 2) Henderson Beach State Park. In addition, students from each school conduct environmental monitoring on their school grounds and complete a service learning project that is presented during the Choctawhatchee Estuary Festival. This project is funded through a grant provided by NOAA's Coastal Services Center through the Gulf of Mexico Alliance .

More info: FL DEP's LIFE Project Page

PDFProject Report for Year 3-Sept. 2010

Sunset Lake Invaders

Contact: Auburn Carpeneter-Education Projects Manager, TX State Aquarium

Sunset Lake InvadersHigh school students from Moody High School Innovation Academy in Corpus Christi, Texas have been identifying and mapping invasive species at Sunset Lake Park. Sunset Lake Park is a 333-acre coastal recreational area within Corpus Christi Bay that is adjacent to Portland, Texas. Students have been investigating impacts of invasive plants species (such as abundant salt cedar and white lead tree) on coastal health, collecting data with GPS units, and developing plans for remediation. Students will write and present an eradication plan for Sunset Lake Park to the Portland City Council in August of 2010. This project is funded through a grant provided to the Texas State Aquarium by the Gulf of Mexico Alliance through NOAA's Coastal Services Center.
More info: TX State Aquarium Website

Coastal Habitats: Mississippi's Natural Treasures

Contact: Shelia Brown-Marine Educator, Gulf Coast Research Laboratory
Jennifer Buchanan
-Education Coordinator, MS Dept. of Marine Resources

The Coastal Habitats: Mississippi’s Natural Treasures project was a cooperative effort between four agencies.  The agencies included the Marine Education Center of the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, The University of Southern Mississippi; Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve; Gulf Islands National Seashore, Davis Bayou;  and Moss Point Public Schools. The program was an experiential learning environmental education project focused on wetland and coastal conservation and stewardship. Educational activities at all of the field trip locations provided participating fourth grade students lessons on the structure of wetland ecosystems (biotic and abiotic), emphasizing the significance of the habitats and the need for conservation. Through in site field experiences of fresh water, brackish water and salt marshes, beaches, bayous, pine savanna, and maritime forests of coastal Mississippi; participants learned about the significance of these habitats to coastal Mississippi. Be sure to watch the video or check out the presentation in the side-bar to learn more.
More Info: Grand Bay NERR Website, Gulf Coast Research Lab Website

Gulf Alliance Partnership: Building Cultural Competency in Environmental Education

Contact Partners Involved: Greg Ira-FL Dept. of Environmental Protection (FL DEP), Office of Environmental Education
Tara Schultz
-Director of Science Education, TX State Aquarium
Karla Klay-Executive Director, Artist Boat
Jennifer "Murt" Conover
-Marine Education Associate & Aquarist, LA Universities Marine Consortium
Shelia Brown-Marine Educator, Gulf Coast Research Laboratory
Tina Miller-Way-Discovery Hall Programs Director, Dauphin Island Sea Lab

The project will increase environmental literacy of approximately 2,400 students and provide teacher professional development to approximately 32 teachers at eight sites around the Gulf of Mexico. In addition, the project will measure, track, and support improvements in the cultural competency of the program providers. Each project site will also seek to achieve measurable improvements in local environmental quality.
Find out More: Honeymoon Island State Park, Werner Boyce Salt Springs State Park, Leon Sinks Geological Area


  • Initial training workshop for project teams (June 14-16) in Tallahassee, FL.
  • Experiential Environmental Education projects at all sites during the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 school years.
  • Final Writeshop for project teams (June 2013)
  • Project documentation and dissemination (July-December 2013)

Science and Spanish Club Network

Contact: Suraida Nanez-James, Gulf of Mexico Foundation

SSCNThe Science & Spanish Club Network, SSCN, is a multicultural approach to coastal environmental education. A nonformal education program of the Gulf of Mexico Foundation, established in 2000, it develops youth leadership in stewardship about the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, and Greater Gulf Stream ecosystem. The SSCN uses a three-phased scope and sequence to improve a student's sense of physical place to become more keenly aware of living and working in the coastal zone through project-based and process-oriented experiences.

Formal and Informal Environmental Education for the Northern Gulf of Mexico

Contact: Shelia Brown-Marine Educator, Gulf Coast Research Laboratory
Jennifer Buchanan-Education Coordinator, MS Dept. of Marine Resources

Funding for this project is provided by the  EPA’s Gulf of Mexico Program. Formal and informal educational institutions provide participants sound scientific content knowledge with ocean and environmental literacy principals. The proposal was FIFEdesigned to foster improved stewardship of Gulf of Mexico ecosystems. The partnering agencies are the University of Southern Mississippi’s Gulf Coast Research Laboratory’s Marine Education Center in Ocean Springs, MS and the Center for Science and Mathematics Education, Hattiesburg, MS; and the Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Moss Point, MS. The first phase of the project is partially completed and included a five-day teacher workshop for ten teachers from five schools. Sherwood Forest Middle Magnet School of Baton Rouge and Alexandria Middle Magnet School of Alexandria are the two schools from Louisiana with Gulfport Central Middle School of Gulfport, N. R. Burger Middle School of Hattiesburg, and West Marion Elementary School of Foxworth serving as the Mississippi schools participating in the 2009-2010 phase of the program.  Instructional sites visits were made to all five schools during the fall semester. A total of seven community events have been completed.
More Info: Grand Bay NERR Website, Gulf Coast Research Lab Website

Big Cypress Watershed Project: Learning in Florida’s Environment (LIFE)

Contact Partners Involved: Greg Ira-FL Dept. of Environmental Protection (FL DEP), Office of Environmental Education
Curt Witthoff-Collier County School District
Susan Cone-Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
Ben Nottingham-Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge
Ernest Lasso Dela Vega-Southwest Florida Latino Environmental Education Network

LIFEFunding for this project is provided by the NOAA Bay-Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) Program. Approximately 500 students and 10 teachers participate in three outdoor field experiences each year. These include the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge, Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and areas on or near the school grounds. Students conduct approximately 9 field labs during the course of the three field experiences. Each school is engaged in a specific service learning project that builds on a local issue affecting the watershed. Students share the results of their service learning projects at the annual Dive into Oceans Day event in May at Rookery Bay NERR.

More info: FL DEP's LIFE Project Page

pdfProject Update April 2010

PDFBiannual Project Report July 2010

Going Beyond the Bayou

Contact: Jennifer "Murt" Conover-Marine Education Associate & Aquarist, LA LUMCONUniversities Marine Consortium

Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON) takes students Beyond the Bayou where they conduct environmental exploration through field-based and stewardship activities. Students learn about issues of water quality, nutrients and conservation as a context for learning science by putting it into practice.
More Info: LUMCON's Education Webpage

GOMA Diversity

MS Coastal Habitats-Video on You Tube!

Presentation on MS Natural Treasures Project

Charter of Human Responsibilities
Children & Youth International Conference-"Let's Take Care of the Planet"-Brazil 2010

Visit our Federal Partners:

NOAA Coastal Services Center
Coastal Services Center

EPA Gulf of Mexico Program

Connect with the Environmental Education Network:

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Addressing Cultural Diversity in Environmental Education: