Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge
Primary Contact: Susanna Laurenti
10216 Lee Rd
Boynton Beach , FL 33473
The Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge is headquartered in Boynton Beach Florida, and encompasses 147,392 acres within Palm Beach County.
Educational Partners: The Arthur R. Marshall Foundation, The Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, Jupiter Middle School
The primary goal of this project is to orient a group of Jupiter Middle School students to the wetland environment at the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. The students will gain a basic understanding of the ecology of the Northern Everglades, especially as it relates to (and is dependent upon) water quality. They will learn how to collect water samples and test for nutrients and pollutants, and draw conclusions from the resulting data. Teachers will learn the same information in greater depth and explore various strategies for teaching about the Everglades. This project fulfills the mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service because public education is one of that organization's critical goals. The A.R.M. Loxahatchee Wildlife Refuge is an ideal site for the project described here because, as the largest reamaining tract of the Northern Everglades, it represents an "oasis of nature" amid suburban development. Here, students can experience the wetland in its near-natural state and see first-hand the difference that clearner air and water make to plants, animals and the greater environment.
This program will serve 110 7th grade students from Jupiter Middle School. Curricular themes include wetland ecology, basic water chemistry and beginning concepts in botany and biology. The material covered will fulfill goals to offer STEM-focused learning opportunities and comply with state and school district standards mandating that students review the scientific method several times during the middle school years.
This program is part of a Regional Environmental Education Mini-Grant with funding from the EPA Region 4.
Few ecosystems in the country have a greater connection to pressing current events than the Florida Everglades. Not only is the Everglades the subject of a multi-billion dollar state and federal restoration plan, but it is also a perfect example of the complicated intersection of nature and the man-made environment. From the tremendous destruction caused by invasive plants and animals to the near disappearance of entire species such as the Florida Panther, the Everglades is a virtual case study of the threats of development to natural systems. Land and water managers overseeing Everglades areas must balance the needs of the natural system with those of surrounding human communities. Inundating wetland areas to avoid neighborhood flooding is a prime example of these competing imperatives. Children participating in this project will learn about these complex issues and have the opportunity to see first-hand (by collecting and analyzing water samples) the impact that development can have on wetland water quality.
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