The Friends of the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge has been awarded a Great Ideas Initiative Grant from the Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County.
The grant will fund an intern to work with the fish and wildlife staff to enhance and expand the educational programs at the Arthur R Marshal Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge.
Environmental education is one of the primary objectives of the National Wildlife Refuge System. The Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge is an excellent place to bring a class to conduct hands-on environmental education activities and programs. On average 3,000 to 4,000 school children, primarily from Palm Beach and Broward counties, visit the refuge every year.
Based on Florida Academic Standards per grade, lessons taught at refuge cover topics from investigations using the five senses, to characteristics of scientific knowledge. Programs are grade-specific with traditional educators working hand-in-hand with environmental educators in the field to create a well-rounded educational experience.
Programs start within the traditional classroom setting, building a strong foundation for various environmental education lessons. This is done through traditional teaching methods using reference materials, textbooks and lectures. These programs transition to field experiences on the refuge, where the lessons are reinforced in real world settings. Interpretive tours and environmental education are conducted in natural settings emphasizing natural systems as teaching aids. Once back in the classroom, activities extend from creating writing lessons, to publishing stories or science fair projects.
The Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County started the Great Ideas Initiative in 2016. It provides grants of up to $25,000 to nonprofits with proposals that enhance the lives of Palm Beach County’s children. To qualify, the nonprofit must have an annual operating budget of $1 million dollars or less and been in business for at least two consecutive years.
Children’s Services Council, a special district created by Palm Beach County voters, provides leadership, funding and research on behalf of the county’s children so they grow up healthy, safe and strong.