Ichetucknee Springs State Park - water lettuce lab
Ichetucknee Springs State Park - water lettuce lab

Ichetucknee Springs State Park

Member Since: 12/14/2010

Primary Contact: Trini Johannesen
Other Contacts: Ariana Marshall, Jessica Phillips, Gregory Ira

12087 S.W. U.S. 27
Fort White, FL 32038

Partner Information: The LIFE Ichetucknee Springs State Park Program is a partnership between the Department of Environmental Protection's Ichetucknee Springs State Park and the Columbia County School District. The LIFE program for Richardson Middle School in Lake City and Fort White Middle School works with the schools.

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Since 2003, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection has assisted in providing outdoor field experiments to Columbia County middle school students via its Learning in Florida’s Environment (LIFE) program. 2013 brings its newest support through the Fort White Middle School receiving the Regional EE Mini-Grant project with funding from the EPA Region 4 to enhance its endeavors. The goal is to provide our community with future citizens that are knowledgeable and concerned about the natural resources so important to our community’s future. Students from Fort White Middle School and Ricardson Middle School studying karst topography and water quality conduct hands-on experiments at Ichetucknee Springs State Park. The outdoor labs include Soil Percolation, Karst Feature Observation, Fish Adaptations, Orienteering, Decomposition Observations and Water Quality. The Program will also be one of the first to make use of the “Water’s Journey Springs Curriculum” developed by the North East Florida Educational Consortium.


Ichetucknee Springs State Park


Suwannee River Water Management District

Learning in Florida’s Environment (LIFE) program.


The PARKnership program is built upon the concept that learning in and out of the classroom and serving the community go hand-in-hand.  Students in grades 6-8 are actively involved in curriculum that uses the “real world” for hands-on exploratory learning.  Using the IchetuckneeSpringsState Park as its outdoor classroom, they develop the understanding of the importance of the land, air and water that all living organisms depend upon for life – all with the goal of instilling in our students their responsibility of protecting our resources.

Interwoven within the curriculum is the theme that the human impact on this environment is taking its toll and what can they do to make a difference. Students, therefore, become involved in a variety of community service learning projects – water lettuce removal, recycling, exotic plant extraction, native plant development,  home/community conservation and preservation activities, and water monitoring to name a few.

The Fort White/ISSP Parknership receives the 2013 EE Regional Mini-Grant.  The program has been working its way to this culminating activity since 2003 when the partnership was formed to institute our outdoor hands-on learning laboratory for our students at the ISSP.  The outcomes of this project are two-fold:

  • Promotion of the underutilized ISSP Education Center as an integral tool for educating citizens, local governments, developers, farmers, the business community and students about the personal responsibilities for the protection and management of the Ichetucknee spring shed; and
  • Promotion of the awareness, appreciation, knowledge, and stewardship of water resources for our students by actively engaging them in their learning by conducting an end of the school year Community-wide Earth Day Water Festival.

Student Field Hours

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