Southwest Florida offers an outdoor classroom with unique environmental regions. The 5th Grade Wild Florida Adventure program provides students and teachers an opportunity to take advantage of that classroom and to use the environment as a platform for learning.
Habitat, adaptations, hydroperiods, endangered species, natural and human disturbance, sustainability and conservation issues are topics of study weaved through the 5th-grade curriculum. Water and its presence or absence in our ecosystem is the main unifying theme of the program.
Students, led by Audubon naturalists and trained Partner Educators, travel through the Sanctuary on a raised boardwalk in search of all things wild. After an initial introduction, small learning groups venture through the pine upland forest, wet prairie, and finally into the bald cypress swamp with its lettuce lakes and wildlife. Students conduct research projects on birds, plants, reptiles, and mammals and are introduced to Corkscrew's innovative natural wastewater treatment facility, the Living Machine.
Participating teachers must attend on-site workshops to be eligible to receive Sponsor funding. At the training, teachers receive Educator manuals, materials for their students, discuss strategies to implement the unit, identify how they will prepare students for the field trip, review all field trip activities and are provided examples of how to continue the trip with post-trip activities in the classroom.