The last time Cedar Key School students participated in the state's Learning in Florida’s Environment (LIFE) program, they did so with the help of the Cedar Key Energy Advisory Panel and Suwannee River Water Management District.
Today, when 50 students participate in a second LIFE program it will be with state funding. That's because an agreement with the state Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Environmental Education will establish the state’s 18th Learning in Florida’s Environment (LIFE) Program site in Levy County.
Levy Schools Superintendent Bob Hastings will be on hand this morning at Cedar Key Scrub State Reserve to greet Greg Ira, state Environmental Education director, and Misty Alderman, Education and Training specialist, with the state DEP.
From 8:45 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. the students will participate in their second field experience with labs focusing on ecosystem ingredients, soil horizons and land cover classification. After completing the field lab, students will be able to identify distinguishing characteristics of land cover types.
Project partners in attendance, including Levy County Schools Superintendent Robert Hastings and Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) representative Tiffany Black, will sign a partnership agreement and observe the students in action throughout the day.
Future field experiences for this LIFE program site include a field experience conducted by FWC’s Division of Marine Fisheries.
Cedar Key School conducted its first field experience at Atsena Otie Key in October, which officially began the project using a $5,000 grant from SRWMD after state money for the program ran out.
"The Energy Advisory Panel thought it was important to have our school participate in the LIFE program as it has been shown that kids that participate in this program have a much better awareness of their environment and a better understanding of the interrelationship of all living things and the environments that they depend on," Tom Deverin wrote in a Conservation Corner column in the Nov. 17 issue of the Cedar Key Beacon.
Staff from the DEP come to Cedar Key to develop lesson plans and teach the science teachers how to better teach environmental science in an outdoor classroom. The first class was Atsena Otie, the second is Thursday's at Cedar Key Scrub and one will be at the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge.