STEM education is growing more and more popular in the field of education. Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics compose this newfangled, modern way of learning. The goals of STEM education are to increase the number of students who are likely to pursue advanced degrees in a STEM field, diversify the STEM-capable workforce, and to increase STEM literacy for all students (even those who choose not to pursue it as a career). Those who do ultimately choose careers in a STEM field can often times be afforded a rare opportunity to have a great impact on our ever-changing world. Such is also true in the field of environmental conservation. At first glance, it may seem like modern technological & engineering advancement and nature don’t have a lot in common. The opposite is true, however. There is a great deal of STEM research and development that goes into the most advanced conservation efforts implemented today. STEM education (through experiential learning in nature) offers our nation’s youth a much more hands-on method of learning to solve problems such as pollution or species endangerment with STEM-focused field trips. Here are five parks you should visit, in Florida, for your next STEM-focused field trip!
Fort De Soto Park
Along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, southwest of St. Petersburg, is Fort De Soto Park. One of the most educationally and naturally rich STEM field trips in Florida, students will gain firsthand experience of one of Florida’s barrier islands while exploring this superb ecosystem. Kayak through mangroves to observe ospreys and egrets while they feed on prey in rare glimpses of nature in action. Students can also gather live data on biodiversity & water quality and perform dissections of spiny dogfish, on the Coastal Connections Edventure offered by Nature’s Academy. This will allow them to reflect and showcase all they have learned about the flora and fauna of this diverse ecosystem.
Myakka State Park
Near the Myakka River lies another STEM field trip location in Florida where students can hike down a winding trail in the misty floodplain forest, local to Myakka State Park. Students will traverse a naturally attractive suspension bridge, and look for signs of natural disturbances along the way in their pursuit of understanding this wetland ecosystem. They will learn a great deal about how alligators came to be considered “ecosystem engineers” while conducting water quality tests, and studying local birds, fish and invertebrates during the Myakka Mysteries Edventure offered by Nature’s Academy.
Bald Point State Park
At the western most edge of Florida’s Panhandle lies Bald Point State Park. This park offers wonderful opportunities to explore some of Florida’s most scenic beaches and rare ocean wildlife. Recreational activities offered include: camping, boating, fishing, swimming, picnicking, bicycling, canoeing & kayaking, hiking, trails, hunting, and wildlife viewing.
San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park
Many historians claim the name of this park may very well have stemmed from a mispronunciation of “San Francisco” between the Natives and early settlers. It is home to one of the few remaining mature forests in Florida, which is an ecosystem that can range from dry to moist. They are predominately conifer or deciduous in nature, and decades-old. Bicycling, hiking, horse & nature trails are some of the more popular activities to engage at this state park. It is also home to a diverse and remarkable animal ecosystem as well, which includes: bobcats, white-tailed deer, gray foxes, turkeys, and many different species of songbirds.
Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park
In the western reaches of Central Florida lies the Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park. This is where nature exists in its purest form. The abundance of wildlife in this area is ripe for learning, and majestic to observe. The animal diversity ranges from: black bears, river otters, alligators, wood storks, and sandhill cranes. The park is also home to Wekiva springs and wonderful experiences swimming, hiking, horseback riding, and camping.
STEM Field Trips in Florida with Nature’s Academy
We provide STEM-focused field trips in South Florida. For more information click here or call us on 941.462.2162. One of our friendly staff will be happy to help you.