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Press Office
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 1, 2010
CONTACT: Marguerite Jordan, (850) 245-3029, (850) 251-7282 (cell)
  Kristin Lock (850) 245-2112 or (850) 778-7294 (cell)

Celebrate September as Florida Literacy Month in a State Park

~Enjoy local events and free entry September 10-12 with a library card, library book or book donation~ 

TALLAHASSEE– Florida Governor Charlie Crist recently signed a proclamation designating September as Florida Literacy Month. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Florida State Parks and its partners are celebrating the fourth annual Florida Literacy Month with special events at state parks and libraries statewide. In conjunction with International Literacy Day on September 8th and National Library Card Signup Month, entrance to all of Florida’s state parks will be free* Friday, September 10 through Sunday, September 12 for visitors who bring a library card, library book or who donate a new or gently used family book.

“Florida Literacy Month is a perfect reminder that reading and writing can be enjoyed in many settings, including the outdoors,” said Florida State Parks Director Donald Forgione. “Reading a nature-themed book at a Florida State Park is one example of an exciting way for students and adults alike to learn about the environment while improving literacy skills.”

Partners in the Florida Literacy Month celebration include the Florida Department of Education, Florida Department of State, the Florida Literacy Coalition, the Florida Lottery, Volunteer USA and local libraries, schools and reading programs statewide.

“I applaud the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for providing a unique learning opportunity for all of our families,” said Education Commissioner Dr. Eric J. Smith. “As we focus on returning to the classrooms this year, Literacy Month serves as an excellent reminder to continue sharing our passion for reading to students of all ages.”

In 2009, nearly 8,000 people participated in Literacy Month, donating more than 1,300 books to libraries, schools and literacy organizations. This year, Florida State Parks and the Florida Lottery are distributing 50,000 bookmarks to libraries and state parks throughout Florida.

Literacy activities in Northwest Florida include:

Northwest Florida

LITERACY DAY: THE GREAT WORD HUNT AND READATHON
Eden Gardens State Park
Point Washington, FL
Wednesday, September 8, 12:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.

This fun-filled afternoon will include the great word hunt, prizes and children’s reading time with costumed characters reading within the park. For more information, call (850) 267-8322.

CELEBRATE LITERACY DURING A SNOWY DAY AT MACLAY
Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park
Tallahassee, FL

Wednesday, September 8, 10:30 a.m.
Join park staff for a reading of A Snowy Day at the park picnic pavilion in the Recreation Area. Light refreshments will be provided. For more information, call (850) 487-4115.

WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE
Henderson Beach State Park
Destin, FL
Saturday, September 11, 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Join the park rangers in reading Where the Wild Things Are at Pavilion C in the day-use area. For more information, call (850) 837-7550.

CHILDREN’S BOOK READING
Topsail Hill State Park
Santa Rosa Beach, FL
Saturday, September 11, 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Join park rangers in the clubhouse for a reading of Paul Lowery's Do You Know Where Sea Turtles Go? Pictures of this year's turtle tracks and nests will be on display and a ranger will be available to answer any questions you might have. For more information, call (850) 267-8330.

BOOK GIVEAWAY
Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park
Wakulla Springs, FL
Saturday, September 11, 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Wakulla Springs State Park and the Wakulla County Public Library invite park guests to search through hundreds of titles for favorite books to make their own. The books will be available for your choosing on a self-serve basis through Sunday evening. For more information, call (850) 926-0700.

READ WITH A RANGER PROGRAM
Big Lagoon State Park
Pensacola, FL
Saturday, September 11, 4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Join a park ranger at the amphitheater to read aloud to children in three age groups of two to four, five to eight and nine to 12. For more information, call (850) 492-1595.

READING IN THE PARK
Florida Caverns State Park
Marianna, FL
Saturday, September 11, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Join Smokey the Bear, interactive and interpretive programs and other fun activities. For more information, call (850) 573-0390.

THE SALAMANDER ROOM
Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park
Niceville, FL
Saturday, September 11, 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Join the park rangers in reading The Salamander Room at the Red Cedar Pavilion in the day-use area. For more information, call (850) 833-9144.

READING ON THE RIVER
Blackwater River State Park
Holt, FL
Saturday, September 11, 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

A special children’s book reading program about the animals that inhabit the park will take place at Pavilion #23 on the boardwalk complex. After the reading, the ranger will lead a short hike around the Juniper Lake Trail. For more information, call (850) 983-5363.

TREASURE HUNT
Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park
Wakulla Springs, FL
Saturday, September 11, 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Small teams will work together to decipher and unscramble the clues which will lead to a reward. Meet in the Lodge lobby to be included on a team and join the rest in preparing with a brief orientation. Participants must be able to read signs, count and follow directions. For more information, call (850) 926-0700.

STORY TIME AT THE COTTAGE
Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park
Tallahassee, FL
Sunday, September 12, 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Children will enjoy stories read from various books in the Gardener’s Cottage in the historic Maclay Gardens and enjoy cookies and lemonade. The Leon County Book Mobile will be on site. For more information, call (850) 487-4115.

READ WITH A RANGER AT WAKULLA COUNTY LIBRARY
Ochlockonee River State Park
Sopchoppy, FL Saturday, September 18, 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Read with a ranger at the Wakulla County Library. This school-age children’s program is designed to support the joys and lifelong benefits derived from reading. For more information, call (850) 962-2771.

Northeast Florida

READING WITH A RANGER
Faver-Dykes State Park
St. Augustine, FL
Saturday, September 11, 10:00 a.m.

Meet at the picnic pavilion area to enjoy a park ranger reading children's stories and participate in a short literacy activity. For more information, call (904) 794-0997.

FORT MOSE READS
Fort Mose Historic State Park
St. Augustine, FL
Saturday, September 11, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

A fun-filled day of stories, crafts and activities including a scavenger hunt. Director of Education for the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum, Chris Kastle, will do a presentation on the history of St. Augustine. Snacks will be served. For more information, call (904) 461-2000.

READING WITH A LIBRARIAN AND BEACH WALK
Little Talbot Island State Park
Jacksonville, FL
Saturday, September 11, 10:00 a.m.

Join a local librarian at pavilion six for the reading of a beach themed children’s book and a beach walk led by a park ranger afterwards. For more information, call (904) 251-2320.

JUST READ, FLORIDA!
O’Leno State Park
High Springs, FL
Saturday, September 11, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Join park staff in the new nature center to listen to children’s stories about native Florida animals read by park rangers and volunteers, then play a game or enjoy making arts and crafts. For more information, call (386) 454-0723.

WILD TALES: A STORY WORKSHOP
Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park
Micanopy, FL
Saturday, September 11, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Join us for a morning of imaginative fun with New York Times bestselling teen author Nancy Yi Fan at the Paynes Prairie Visitor’s Center including a reading from Nancy’s first book, a sneak peak at her third book, tips on writing and drawing and more. Participants can also learn about drawing prairie animals and write a short story or poem about your prairie animal. A question and answer session and book-signing with Nancy will follow. For more information, call (352) 466-4966.

READ WITH A RANGER
Fort George Island Cultural State Park
Jacksonville, FL
Sunday, September 12, 10:00 a.m.

Join a park ranger at the Ribault Club for an interactive reading of A Day in the Salt Marsh by Kevin Kurtz and try your hand at games and activities featuring the salt marsh or take a walk on your own to see some of the plants and animals of the marsh first hand. For more information, call (904) 251-2320.

LITERACY MONTH PRESENTATIONS
Fort George Island Cultural State Park
Jacksonville, FL
Sunday, September 12, 10:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Come and listen to local speakers at the Ribault Club as they talk about nature related topics including St. Johns Riverkeeper projects, nature photography, Florida friendly landscaping and green living. For more information, call (904) 251-2320.

Central Florida

STORY TIME IN THE PARK
Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area at Flagler Beach
Flagler Beach, FL
Friday, September 10, 2:00 p.m.

Parents are invited to bring their children to join the Flagler County Library and explore a variety of topics through reading in a beautiful outdoor setting. For more information, call (386) 517-2086.

READING WITH THE SNAKES
Colt Creek State Park
Lakeland, FL
Saturday, September 11, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Participants will learn all about snakes of Florida and have the opportunity to check out books from the local book mobile. Snake related coloring and activity sheets and snake identification pamphlets will be available. For more information, call (863) 815-6761.

BUTTERFLY TALES
Washington Oaks Gardens State Park
Palm Coast, FL
Saturday, September 11, 9:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Stories will be read by a park ranger and children are encouraged to bring their favorite butterfly books to share with the group. Following the reading, participants will walk into the botanical garden for games and butterfly viewing. For more information, call (386) 466-6783.

STORIES AT THE SPRING
Blue Spring State Park
Orange City, FL
Saturday, September 11, 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Enjoy a reading from Jacksonville children’s author Jane R. Wood. Participants will listen to stories about manatees and other wildlife and have the opportunity to participate in hands-on activities throughout the park geared to promote reading and writing skills. For more information, call (386) 775-3663.

STORY TIME WITH DEBBIE
Wekiwa Springs State Park
Apopka, FL
Saturday, September 11, 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Enjoy an interactive book with master story teller, Debbie. AmazingThings That Animals Do, Lovable, Huggable Manatees and Truffala Trees That are Saved By the Lorax are just a sample of the readings that will be shared with children of all ages. For more information, call (407) 884-2008.

STORY TIME CELEBRATION
Washington Oaks Gardens State Park
Palm Coast, FL
Sunday, September 12, 1:00 p.m.

Listen to the sounds of classic folk music and storytelling as Backintyme performs for Park Visitors. Performers will dress in period costume while using the art of storytelling and the emotion of music to illuminate Florida’s history and folklore. For more information, call (386) 466-6783.

THE LORAX AT THE LIBRARY PROGRAM
Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area at Flagler Beach
Flagler Beach, FL
Thursday, September 16, 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Parents are invited to bring their children to the Flagler County Library for a reading of Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax. Arts and crafts projects and a snack will be included in the program. For more information, call (386) 517-2086.

Southwest Florida

FLORIDA LITERACY MONTH CELEBRATION
Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park
Homosassa, FL
Friday, September 10 - Sunday, September 12

Representatives from the Citrus County Library system will be located in the Visitor Center along with local authors Barbara Cairns, Vicky Iozzia and Eliane Seissler. For more information, call (352) 628-5343.

ADULT AND FAMILY LITERACY EVENT
Oscar Scherer State Park
Osprey, FL Saturday, September 11, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Literacy awareness will be highlighted for event participants with information booths, games and activities such as a basic music reading workshop. Participants will also have the opportunity to read a book to a therapy dog from the Humane Society of Sarasota. In addition several authors will be doing book signings and readings. For more information, call 941-438-5956.

CELEBRATE LITERACY
Highlands Hammock State Park
Sebring, FL
Sunday, September 12, 2:00 p.m.

Enjoy story time with new Park Manager Steven Dale in the park’s picnic area. Steven will read aloud several favorite children’s stories by Shel Silverstein. This activity is suitable for all ages. For more information, call (863) 386-6094.

South Florida

BOOK EXCHANGE
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
Key Largo, FL
September 1 – September 30

During this month-long book exchange, bring a book to the Visitor Center and exchange it for another great book. Braille and books-on-tape are also welcome. For more information, call (305) 451-1202.

CHILDREN’S BOOK READING
John D. MacArthur Beach State Park
North Palm Beach, FL
Friday, September 10, 10:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Join Children's Librarian Nancy Hodges from the Village of North Palm Beach Library as she reads about sea turtles and sea turtle hatchlings. This program is geared toward pre-school aged children. There will be a craft session and a guided tour of the nature center. For more information, call (561) 624-6952.

DISCOVER READING IN THE PARK
Jonathan Dickinson State Park
Hobe Sound, FL
Saturday, September 11, 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Join park staff for a Literacy Scavenger Hunt, hourly story time, sounds of nature auditory game, build your own raft races and other fun activities throughout the day. For more information, call (561) 745-5551.

SIDEWALK ART
Fort Pierce Inlet State Park
Fort Pierce, FL
Saturday, September 11, 8:00 a.m. - Sunset

Local students are invited to illustrate their favorite storybook on the park’s sidewalks. Pre-registered students will receive a bag of sidewalk chalk and a square of sidewalk to decorate featuring scenes from their favorite storybook. For more information and to register, call (772) 468-3985.

BARNACLE, BOOKS, BIRDS AND BOATS
The Barnacle Historic State Park
Coconut Grove, FL
Sunday, September 12, 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Children will earn a book for completing a series of reading-related activities on the lawn of The Barnacle. Pack a picnic and a good book and spend the day reading in this quiet oasis away from the bustle of Coconut Grove. For more information, call (305) 442-6866.

READING WITH JOAN GILL BLANK
Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park
Key Biscayne, FL
Saturday, September 11, 12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Everyone is invited to spend time with noted local historian and author Joan Gill Blank. She will offer lively readings from her book Key Biscayne - A History of Miami’s Tropical Island and the Cape Florida Lighthouse. For more information, call (305) 361-5811.

About Florida State Parks
Created in 1935 by the Florida Legislature, the Florida State Park system has grown from eight to 160 parks in the last 75 years. Today, the Florida Park Service manages more than 700,000 acres of Florida’s natural environment, including 100 miles of beaches, eight National Historic Landmarks and 39 sites on the National Register of Historic Places. Florida State Parks has been recognized by the National Recreation and Park Association as the nation’s first and only two-time Gold Medal winner for the nation’s best park service. For more information about Florida’s state parks, visit www.FloridaStateParks.org .

*Free admission to all Florida State Parks except Skyway Fishing Pier State Park in St. Petersburg.

Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park Lighthouse

"Florida Literacy Month is a perfect reminder that reading and writing can be enjoyed in many settings, including the outdoors."

Donald Forgione
Florida State Parks Director

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10–124

Last updated: January 25, 2011

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