The Everglades – a virtual wonderland of nature that intrigues us by its vast space, beautiful natural systems and unique plant and animal life. Sadly, South Florida’s natural systems are in peril as civilization encroaches nature and man threatens to deplete our once plentiful natural resources. Fortunately, many efforts are underway to restore not only the Everglades, but the Kissimmee River and Lake Okeechobee as well. To help with the education, outreach and research components of these programs, a new public-private partnership was formed with more than 70 partners including government agencies, universities, industries, not-for-profits and individuals. We would like to introduce you to the Florida Earth Foundation.
What is FEF’s mission? “Florida Earth Foundation is committed to engaging core constituencies in Greater Everglades ecosystem restoration initiatives, including the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, through outreach, education and research.” In other words, we aggressively encourage our partners to actively participate in programs to help ecosystem restoration initiatives in South Florida
There are five guiding principles that govern Florida Earth’s philosophy. The first and foremost is the principle of non-advocacy. Simply put, FEF does not take positions on issues, but provides information on science and policy so that lawmakers, business leaders and the public can make intelligent decisions. Secondly as I mentioned earlier, we encourage our partners to participate in projects and programs that benefit Everglades restoration. We pool resources from our partners so that efforts are not duplicated. We look for gaps to fill in core disciplines and we are very committed to ethnic and cultural diversity.
There are currently eight Florida Earth programs and projects that are on-going and flourishing. They are the Florida Earth Project Modules, the Academic Course, the Florida Earth Journal, Decision Makers Forum, the IHE/FEF Partnership, the National Conference on Ecosystem Restoration, and the Everglades Education Consortium.
Administered by the University of Florida’s Extension Service and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the Florida Earth Project offers five courses that teach about South Florida’s natural resource science and policy. Each course, called a module, is two days in length and modules are about six weeks apart. These courses have become very popular with agencies and industry because they give a clear and concise orientation to the region. The Earth Project academic course is taught in the first part of every summer and gives 3 credit hours towards a Master’s or PhD degree. The 2 week course consists of one week of lectures in Gainesville and one week on an intense field trip throughout South Florida.
The Florida Earth Journal is a compendium of articles and chapters written by Florida Earth Project instructors, which serves not only as a general reference guide, but also a textbook for the FEP courses. Volume 2 of the Journal is now available. It is the only reference where many of the restoration documents are published in one volume.
One of our most exciting programs is the IHE/FEF Partnership, which is the first permanent link between the United Nations and Everglades Restoration. UNESCO-IHE, also called the Institute of Water Education, is a University in Delft, Holland that awards Masters and PhD degrees in water related disciplines. Beginning with the inaugural class of 22 students who will be studying Everglades modeling in June of 2005, IHE will have students on site in South Florida taking courses set up by the FEF university and agency partners. A reception and press conference will be held Monday, June 13 th , 2005 at the FAU Jupiter campus.
Florida Earth’s Mission “ Florida Earth Foundation’s mission is to bring people together through education, public outreach, and facilitation to ensure the future integrity of Florida’s environment and quality of life . ” Taiwanese Delegation, May 2007
FEF’s Guiding Principles <ul><li>Non-advocacy – No lobbying, litigating, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Partner Engagement – Partners are used to accomplish projects and programs </li></ul><ul><li>Resource Pooling – Combining resources to not “reinvent the wheel” </li></ul><ul><li>Gap filling – We look for things not being done </li></ul><ul><li>Diversity – Committed to ethnic and cultural diversity </li></ul>
Current FEF Programs & Projects <ul><li>Florida Land Use Initiative (Just Completed) </li></ul><ul><li>Florida Land and Water Initiative </li></ul><ul><li>The Florida Holland Connection Project </li></ul><ul><li>UNESCO-IHE/Florida Earth Partnership </li></ul><ul><li>Florida Earth Project (FEP) Modules </li></ul><ul><li>Florida Earth Journal </li></ul><ul><li>Blue Green Project </li></ul>
Florida Earth Project <ul><li>Teaching Program with all of Florida Earth Partners, but especially the University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences </li></ul><ul><li>Five modules that teach general public about Florida’s natural resource science & policy. Two days each taught about 6 weeks apart. </li></ul><ul><li>Next Module is Natural Systems, May 15 & 16, Loxahatchee NWR and Everglades National Park </li></ul>
Florida Earth Journal <ul><li>A compendium of articles and chapters written by Florida Earth Project instructors </li></ul><ul><li>Serves as a textbook for FEP course series </li></ul><ul><li>Forward by Governor Jeb Bush </li></ul><ul><li>Available in book form and CD </li></ul>
<ul><li>The “Institute for Water Education” is a UN administered university in Delft, Holland </li></ul><ul><li>Masters and PhD programs on water related disciplines </li></ul><ul><li>Study of Florida water related science and policy on site as new part of curriculum </li></ul><ul><li>Reps from each university in FEF partnership to develop program </li></ul><ul><li>First course was on modeling, held June 13-24, 2005 </li></ul><ul><li>Second course developed will be Wetlands Ecology in Spring 2007 </li></ul><ul><li>Reciprocating program in Holland for Florida Water Managers in April 2007 </li></ul>
The Florida Earth Foundation 2005 Vista Parkway West Palm Beach, Florida 33411 Phone: (561) 686-3688 Fax: (561) 689-8932 Email: [email_address] Website: http://floridaearth.org Become a part of FEF today: