The Conservancy of Southwest Florida has launched virtual learning opportunities to connect audiences of all ages with information and resources about the region’s wildlife and coastal habitat.
The Conservancy Nature Center, a top destination for school field trips and educational outings for families, is temporarily closed to the public to help control the spread of coronavirus.
However, Nature Center staff continue to promote the nonprofit’s mission of protecting the water, land, wildlife and future of Southwest Florida by developing a comprehensive virtual curriculum that includes lesson plans, hands-on activities, educational videos, scavenger hunts and links to other valuable resources.
“With local schools closed through at least the end of April, our team wanted to make sure we could continue to support teachers and students, as well as community members, to learn about the ecosystems in Southwest Florida,” said Heather Skaza Acosta, director of education at the Conservancy. “We are responding to teachers, who voiced their need for virtual learning opportunities in STEM disciplines, to engage their students who are now working from home. New lessons, activities and videos will bring learners along with us as we explore nature to support meaningful environmental education and demonstrate why it is so important to continue advocating for wildlife and our environment.”
Available at Conservancy.org/Virtual-Learning, components of the virtual learning plan include:
• Location exploration: The Conservancy’s team of environmentalists take viewers on backyard scavenger hunts and guided walks that explore native wildlife and habitats that define Southwest Florida.
• Daily discoveries: Members of the knowledgeable animal care team offer behind-the-scenes looks at the Conservancy’s animal ambassadors, in addition to outlining adaptations that help various touch-tank critters survive in their unique environment.
• Little Explorers at home: Staff members bring engaging stories and activities from the Conservancy’s popular Little Explorers program to home, presenting arts and crafts ideas that are ideal for families with smaller children.
The Conservancy also will be creating and uploading virtual field trips to its website throughout the spring. Additionally, the Conservancy’s social media channels – Facebook and Twitter – will feature videos, trivia and other learning opportunities.