The long range vision of the Marine Discovery Center is to see a healthy Indian River Lagoon Estuary (IRL) and the ecosystem it supports preserved and enjoyed for its natural beauty, unmatched diversity of species and rich fishery for generations to come. Initiatives and activities designed to achieve this vision include providing education, research, restoration and heightened public awareness of this wondrous, fragile natural resource.
The Ed Yarborough Nature Center at the Geneva Wilderness Area was established with the mission to learn about nature by experiencing it. It features exhibits and displays that highlight the diverse ecology of Central Florida. Classes can learn about native wildlife, conservation, and biodiversity, or they may learn about land management by identifying native and nonnative flora and fauna. This is a facility that hosts environmental education and outreach for schools, private and public programs, and a summer Eco Camp program.
Oakland Nature Preserve encompasses 128 acres of land- 48 acres of uplands and 80 acres of forested wetlands, including a boardwalk to Lake Apopka. We have a classroom-sized pavilion on the lakefront as well as a pavilion on the West Orange Trail. Interpretive signs throughout the Preserve help visitors identify plants species, while our log cabin-style Education Center, modeled after a pioneer homestead, includes a classroom, museum, office, and restrooms. The Preserve also offers recreational and educational opportunities through archery programs and live animals in the classroom!
The Marine Science Station is used by the Citrus County Schools to increase student environmental literacy through hands-on laboratory and field-based educational experiences in Gulf of Mexico coastal and near shore habitats; inspire student interest and involvement in environmental conservation/protection and to promote student development of environmental stewardship ethics.
The Ocala Conservation Center is on a 57-acre peninsula, rich in history and wildlife in Marion County in north Central Florida. It is 20 miles east of Ocala, on Lake Eaton, in the heart of the Ocala National Forest. The facilities are rustic, yet comfortable, with air-conditioned cabins and dining hall. Outdoor classrooms are fishing piers, shooting ranges, nature trails, Lake Eaton and the vast Ocala National Forest.
Bear Creek Educational Forest is a 492-acre tract of Lake Talquin State Forest. Programs are FREE for any public or private school group, Scout troop, daycare, or any other youth organization. Each program option may include a lesson, game, and hands-on activity in the forest. An interpretive hike and souvenir craft to make and take home may also be included. The Bear Creek Tract also offers hiking and camping opportunities as well as the audio enhanced Living Forest trail where the trees tell their own stories.
Joe Budd Youth Conservation Center (JBYCC) is 12,000 pristine North Florida acres located just outside Tallahassee. We host summer day camps June through August and school year programs for families and classrooms August through May. Our school year programs include fields trips, night hikes, public events, and retreats, including classroom and outdoor hands-on learning for kids of all ages.