Environmental Education School Programs
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
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.
What to expect with COVID-19 precautions set in place:
- All guests must wear a face covering for the entire program. This includes during the guided hike through the trails.
- All guests must adhere to social distancing guidelines and stay at least 6 feet apart from others.
- Hands-on activities and games will be limited due to social distancing.
- All items used in activities will be sanitized after each field trip.
- We will only be able to host up to 20 individuals per day, but you may reserve multiple days if needed.
- All groups must book/reserve a program and complete a contract prior to program date.
- For more information or to schedule a program please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Programs Currently Offered
Colors and Shapes (Pre-K, K, 1)
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.
Home for Ozzie (K-2)
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.
Others (Grades 1-3)
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.
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
Explorers (Grades 2-5)
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.
Scientists (Grades 5-9)
This program starts out with
an introduction to the purpose of science, the scientific method, and
experimental design in the pavilion. Students will learn how to format field
notes, record observations, and conduct basic field sampling at the UNF Sawmill
Slough Preserve. After the hike, we will return to the pavilion to debrief and
discuss the importance of various aspects of the field activity. Note that
students should wear appropriate outdoor attire and have water and a snack on
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.