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Spring Break Field School - Nature Coast Aquatic Preserve

Saturday, March 12, 2022 - Wednesday, March 16, 2022

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The Spring Break Field School is a unique opportunity for students to learn about Florida’s diverse ecosystems through firsthand experience. Students will also learn about efforts to protect, conserve and restore Florida’s natural environment from a wide range of professionals. 


The focus of the Spring Break Field School is the recently established Nature Coast Aquatic Preserve located on the west coast of Florida. The Nature Coast Aquatic Preserve is Florida’s first new preserve to be designated in more than 30 years and is designed to maintain water quality and biological value to ensure healthy ecosystems. The aquatic preserve includes nearly 400,000 acres of seagrass which support valuable working waterfronts industries, including fisheries, seafood production, and ecotourism.

Who is eligible to participate?
The spring break field school is open to all current UNF students. The cost to participate is $375 and includes transportation, accommodations, most meals, entrance fees and more. The deadline to apply is Sunday, January 30, however, final payments will not be due until Sunday, February 27.

What activities will be included?
The Nature Coast Aquatic Preserve is the second-largest aquatic preserve in Florida (more than 450,000 acres) and includes shoreline along three different counties. In order to fully understand the ecological diversity of the area, students will engage in a number of activities throughout the area.


Planned activities include, but are not limited to:

  • Kayaking on the Chassahowitzka River with ACA-certified instructors
  • Hiking in the Chassahowitzka Wildlife Management Area
  • Visiting the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge to learn about manatee protection
  • Exploring the Nature Coast Aquatic Preserve by boat
  • Networking with scientists, historians and conservation professionals

Contact the Institute of Environmental Research and Education if you have any questions about the program, application or payments.