Educational outreach team in the community

August 13, 2021

Grace Place for Children and Families

In support of Grace Place’s mission of ending poverty through innovative outreach and education, our Conservancy Education Team visited over 150 Grace Place campers this summer for some fun and hands-on science learning. The campers were split into elementary and middle school groups.

The elementary students learned about arthropods such as insects and crustaceans. As a creative activity, each camper created their own insect species and shared their drawings and facts with their fellow learners.

The middle school students participated in activities about shark biology and conservation, including a shark dissection that provided a completely new experience for every student. To end the segment, campers were ushered outside to discover and observe insects in the true wild while also learning about and capturing Florida’s native lubber grasshoppers.

As part of an NCEF grant, each camper went home with their own STEM kit to encourage the campers to continue exploring their local environments with friends and/or family. Each kit included tools like binoculars, wildlife guides, nature journals, and magnifying glasses to empower hands-on learning throughout the year.

Project Waters

Last month, the Conservancy Education Team helped with Project Waters – a collaborative educational project between FGCU, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, and Rookery Bay.

Tonya Zadrozny, Conservancy education programs coordinator, spent two days out on the water with middle school students, investigating the impacts of sea-level rise and increased storms on sea turtle nests along a series of barrier islands.

Tonya led students through a mock sea turtle nest excavation on Keewaydin Island and the group assessed the potential impacts of extreme weather along the coast. Students and biologists alike enjoyed their time on the water and got to observe exciting wildlife like dolphins and manatees that many students had never seen before!

Project Waters is funded by NOAA and the North American Association for Environmental Education. The two-year-long program has a direct focus on supporting 21st-century community learning centers like Grace Place for Children and Families.