Nature’s Academy launched the Island Adventures Project (IAP) in 2009 in order to provide completely free field trips for local fifth grade students in Pinellas and Manatee counties.
Trips bring students to Fort De Soto in Pinellas County and Coquina Beach in Manatee County. These sites are the perfect environment to teach the critical role that water plays in shaping and sustaining Florida's natural systems within the Tampa Bay watershed and estuary. Immersed in a series of activities, participants gain a deeper understanding and compassion for the complex hydrology and ecology of the area, why it is significant, relevant anthropogenic threats and future watershed conservation measures needed.
The ultimate goal of the IAP is to foster better stewardship of the limited resources within Tampa Bay and Sarasota Bay watershed. Each participant leaves with a deeper understanding and compassion for the complex ecology of the area, why it is significant, the relevant anthropogenic threats, and future conservation measures needed.
Since 2009, Nature’s Academy has provided field trips for 200 classes totaling 4,500 local fifth graders at no cost to participants.
Island Adventures Project Activities
Students become true citizen scientists as the data they collect in their species biodiversity survey data is entered into the Ecological Society of America Data Registry. and water quality testing is uploaded to World Water Monitoring Day database. Adding the students’ data to a public scientific database strengthens the sense of ownership and stewardship the IAP is designed to foster. Additionally, this provides teachers with access to site specific abiotic and biotic data to be incorporated in their daily classroom activities.
In 2012, Nature's Academy participants removed 1,800 pounds of trash from our beaches!
The IAP has proven its efficacy with an average of 87% of students demonstrating an increase in knowledge between pre- and post-testing.
Why support IAP?
IAP addresses a multitude of issues - both environmental and educational. Tampa Bay harbors a rich and diverse assemblage of plants and animals, along with a rapidly growing human population that has made the region the second largest metropolitan area in the state. 57% of Manatee and 52% of Pinellas fifth graders are failing science county-wide, this is consistent with the statewide failure rate of 54% (FCAT). The environmental impacts of a growing population coupled with yearly school budget shortfalls and the majority of Manatee and Pinellas County fifth graders failing science identify a clear need within the community.
Nature’s Academy believes the educational benefits that the IAP provides can greatly improve student FCAT scores and overall environmental literacy, as well as strengthen skills in social studies and math.
IAP participant schools have Title I status and are selected based on need. Each participating class receives a $50 stipend to be used to create a final project which reinforces themes addressed during the field trip in the classroom setting.
Nature’s Academy has redirected $10,000 back to the fifth grade classrooms of participating Title I schools.
Please visit The Spoonbill Shop. 100% of proceeds from merchandise go directly to the Island Adventures Project!
Please consider a donation today!
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