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Environmental Education School Programs

The Eco-Education Programs at the University of North Florida provide school children with the unique opportunity of learning more about wildlife and nature while outdoors. All of our eco-education programs are ranger guided and begin with an introduction to the University of North Florida and the UNF Wildlife Sanctuary. The concept of wildlife is discussed and relevant safety points are extensively described.

 

Our education programs are designed for K-9 grade. We strive to bring youth and the community into nature, hosting our programs in the 382 acre Sawmill Slough Preserve on campus. Along our five mile trail system we teach participants about the local plants, animals and habitats that make up the preserve. Every program can be adapted to suit the age group of your students.

 

Programs Currently Offered

Colors and Shapes (Pre-K, K, 1)

This program includes a short hike through the Red Maple Boardwalk. On the hike, children will use a picture checklist to identify common natural occurrences in the UNF Wildlife Sanctuary. Students will learn about the plants and animals that can be found in northeast Florida and how they work together. Students will have hands on experience feeling, and smelling the different plants found throughout the preserve as well as playing nature-themed games with their peers.

 

Standards: SC.K.L.14.1: Recognize the five senses and related body parts. SC.1.L.14.1: Make observations of living things and their environment using the five senses.

Home for Ozzie (K-2)

This program revolves around the children's book "A Home for Ozzie," written by current and former UNF Eco Adventure staff. The rangers will have story time with the students, followed by a hike through the preserve which will bring the story to life. The book focuses on Ozzie the Osprey, UNF's mascot, and the different habitats and animals we may encounter. Emphasis is placed on habitats and the different species found on the preserve.

 

Standards:

SC.K.L.14.3: Observe plants and animals, describe how they are alike and how they are different in the way they look and in the things they do.

SC.1.L.17.1:Through observation, recognize that all plants and animals, including humans, need the basic necessities of air, water, food, and space.

SC.2.L.17.2: Recognize and explain that living things are found all over Earth, but each is only able to live in habitats that meet its basic needs.

Insects and Others (Grades 1-3)

This program starts out with a hike through the UNF Wildlife Sanctuary, during which students will observe the habitats of aquatic and terrestrial insects and their relatives. After the hike, they will participate in the outdoor lab where they will get hands on experience observing the different insects and creatures found in the lake, naming the different resin preserved insects, and solving insect themed riddles. Students will also learn about the different insect mouth-parts and how they work. These activities illustrate the basics of insect ecology, anatomy, and behavior.

 

Standards: SC.1.N.1.3: Keep records as appropriate - such as pictorial and written records - of investigations conducted.

SC.2.N.1.1:Raise questions about the natural world, investigate them in teams through free exploration and systematic observations, and generate appropriate explanations based on those explorations.

SC.3.L.15.1:Classify animals into major groups (mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, arthropods, vertebrates and invertebrates, those having live births and those which lay eggs) according to their physical characteristics and behaviors.

Backyard Botany (Grades 3-6)

This program's hike will explore the different properties of plants and garden ecosystems. Students will learn about the parts of the plants and flowers, as well as the basics of photosynthesis and the water cycle. Interactive, hands on activities include labeling worksheets as well as crafting their own seed growing starter kits.

 

Standards: SC.3.L.14.1: Describe structures in plants and their roles in food production, support, water and nutrient transport, and reproduction.

SC.4.L.16.1: Identify processes of sexual reproduction in flowering plants, including pollination, fertilization (seed production), seed dispersal, and germination.

SC.5.L.15.1: Describe how, when the environment changes, differences between individuals allow some plants and animals to survive and reproduce while others die or move to new locations.

SC.6.L.14.2: Investigate and explain the components of the scientific theory of cells (cell theory): all organisms are composed of cells (single-celled or multicellular), all cells come from pre-existing cells, and cells are the basic unit of life.

Healthy Explorers (Grades 2-5)

Students will hike through the different habitats, while learning about the animals living in them, that can be found in the UNF Wildlife Sanctuary. This program will cover the importance of nutrients to the environment as well as their importance to humans. Students will have the chance to explore nutrient cycling in nature and link it to the nutritional needs of humans.

 

Standards:

SC.2.L.16.1: Observe and describe major stages in the life cycles of plants and animals, including beans and butterflies.

SC.3.L.17.2: Recognize that plants use energy from the Sun, air, and water to make their own food.

SC.4.L.16.3: Recognize that animal behaviors may be shaped by heredity and learning.

SC.5.L.15.1: Describe how, when the environment changes, differences between individuals allow some plants and animals to survive and reproduce while others die or move to new locations. 

 

Stewardship Superheroes (Grades 2-9)

Teach students how to be effective stewards of the environment by learning about human impacts on the environment and ways to help protect wildlife. This program includes various activities that go over ways we can enjoy the outdoors but also while respecting it by picking up trash, staying on the trail, keeping your distance from wildlife, and how to teach others to become better stewards as well.

 

 

Standards:

SC.2.L.17.2: Recognize and explain that living things are found all over Earth, but each is only able to live in habitats that meet its basic needs.

SC.3.L.17.2: Recognize that plants use energy from the Sun, air, and water to make their own food.

SC.4.L.17.4: Recognize ways plants and animals, including humans, can impact the environment.

SC.5.L.17.1: Compare and contrast adaptations displayed by animals and plants that enable them to survive in different environments such as life cycles variations, animal behaviors and physical characteristics.

SC.6.E.7.4: Differentiate and show interactions among the geosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere.

SC.7.L.17.3: Describe and investigate various limiting factors in the local ecosystem and their impact on native populations, including food, shelter, water, space, disease, parasitism, predation, and nesting sites.

SC.8.N.4.2: Explain how political, social, and economic concerns can affect science, and vice versa.

SC.912.L.17.8: Recognize the consequences of the losses of biodiversity due to catastrophic events, climate changes, human activity, and the introduction of invasive, non-native species. 

 

For more information or to schedule a program please email us at rectrail@unf.edu

 

All groups must book/reserve a program and complete a contract prior to program date.