By: Sharon Aron Baron
Broward County teachers who are interested in our environment can now inspire their own students by taking a unique training program through NatureScape Broward.
NatureScape Broward recently completed a National Wildlife Federation Habitat Steward training for Broward County Public School teachers. Habitat Stewards are individuals with a keen interest in the environment and a willingness to volunteer their time and expertise to help others create or restore wildlife habitat.
This training supports their ability to influence the stewards of tomorrow by connecting students today to nature through a hands-on curriculum, including campus ecology and active environmental stewardship.
To date, 141 Broward teachers have taken the Habitat Steward Training including Parkside Elementary teacher Kathryn McCullough.
“The Habitat Steward Training Course was very helpful for me personally, being that I have a home garden in Coconut Creek, the Butterfly Capital of the World, and that I am an elementary school teacher that built two gardens for my students – butterfly & fruits and vegetables at Parkside Elementary in Coral Springs,” said McCullough.
The five-day training included field trips to Broward County parks and natural areas, Plantation Preserve Linear Trail, and a visit to Flamingo Gardens Wildlife Sanctuary. Presentations were made by environmental speakers from Everglades National Park, Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Center, Florida Sea Grant Program and Broward County Environmental Protection and Growth Management Department. One of the most popular activities was the Educator’s Environmental Showcase, which featured exhibits and speakers from local agencies and organizations that are available to provide program outreach to schools.
Lisa Murphy, who teaches 5th grade at Westchester Elementary in Coral Springs said she would encourage any teacher at any instructional level to consider signing up for the program.
“I found the National Wildlife Foundation training informative and extremely interesting. It really drives home the connection between science concepts in the school system and the extremely rich Everglades ecosystem we have access to in south Florida,” she said.
NatureScape Broward is a program of the Broward County Commission and the County’s Natural Resources Planning and Management Division. In addition to this training, NatureScape Broward:
- Offers workshops for teachers and school maintenance staff
- Helps to create learning gardens on school campuses
- Hosts Environmental Education Days at various middle schools
“As a teacher, the resources made available to us during our course was extremely helpful in order to prepare lessons for our students and to have experts speak to our classes throughout the coming years, said Kathryn McCullough.”
For more information on NatureScape Broward, or to sign up your school to participate in the National Wildlife Federation Habitat Steward training, call Diana Guidry at 954-519-0317 or visit broward.org/naturalresources and click NATURESCAPE BROWARD.