Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (RBNERR) supports field trip
programs designed to promote and enhance critical thinking skills for school students in various grade levels.
Field trips also enhance student's knowledge of coastal ecology and increase awareness of the value of estuaries.
Partnerships with Florida Gulf Coast University, Edison State College, and Collier County Public Schools (CCPS)
provide important opportunities for collaborative education program development. RBNERR staff provides
on-the-water marine science programs to secondary and post-secondary students, inquiry based field trips for
students through the Estuary Explorers and Living in Florida's Environment (LIFE) programs and teacher training.
RBNERR also conducts various training programs for teachers to further their professional development.
- Estuary Explorers
Estuary Explorers is an environmental education program for Collier County school students in the fourth grade
and includes a comprehensive series of activities for students to complete in the classroom before and after an
educational field trip to the Environmental Learning Center. Estuary Explorers became a cornerstone of the RBNERR education program and has
garnered a strong following among teachers and is highly regarded by CCPS.
Living in Florida's Environment (LIFE)
RBNERR also partnered with Florida DEP's Office of Environmental Education, CCPS and Florida Panther National
Wildlife Refuge to provide a hands-on, full-day field trip for nearly 500 7th grade students. The field trip builds
on key concepts and topics in the science curriculum. Each school will select a local issue to address
through a service learning project which will be presented at the end of the year at the annual Dive into Oceans
event at RBNERR.
Students from local high schools are immersed in coastal environments during boat-based field trips to
barrier islands in the reserve.
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