Our Founder’s Story
Protecting Florida’s natural environment has been my passion since my college days. As a native Floridian and active Girl Scout, I grew up with a deep love for the plants and animals found on the local shores of Jacksonville Beach and the woods nearby. Majoring in Biology/Secondary Education at Rollins College allowed me to further develop this calling by offering me field experiences in the Florida Everglades and the Florida Keys at Pigeon Key. In the field, I got to collect and identify marine and terrestrial organisms and study the chemistry of the water that supported them. Breathing in the fresh air and basking in the sunshine, I knew the peace that comes from connecting with nature. In my Ecology class, we had to design our own local ecological study and mine was of the aufwuchs communities in Lake Virginia and Lake Mizell.
I began my teaching career with high school Biology students then stayed home with my 6 children. During that time we did extensive camping as a family and I assisted with my children’s Boy and Girl Scout troops. Helping the kids discover the variety and interconnections of the flora and fauna found on our outdoor explorations, has made me realize the importance of instilling these values in our next generation of youth. Eight years ago, I returned to the classroom as a middle school science teacher. In Earth Science, we focused on the importance of the water cycle and ground water which I turned in to a lesson on how to protect our watersheds and aquifer. In Life Science, I used multiple opportunities to connect the students to our environment via walks around our campus and environmental awareness during Earth Day lessons.
One thing was always missing- the opportunity to actually get students out into the field to observe organisms in their natural habitats. I believe that in order for the next generation of decision making adults to realize and value the environment, they need the opportunity to venture outside the classroom and be part of collecting data that brings them awareness but more importantly shows them firsthand what is in the ecosystem and why it is worth protecting. It will give them the chance to think about ways they can make changes to their own habits and become better stewards of the environment. Because of this passion, I left my job in the classroom to begin an educational field trip business- Ecological Classroom Outdoors. It is through this business that I am able to take middle and high school students out to local city, county and state parks in order to teach them about fresh water ecosystems.