Bonnet House and Kids Ecology Corps Partner on Mangrove Environmental Education

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South Florida based Kids Ecology Corps, the non profit 501c(3) organization inspiring young people to take positive eco-action and make environmental stewardship a part of everyday life, has entered into a unique partnership with Fort Lauderdale’s historic Bonnet House.

South Florida based Kids Ecology Corps, the non profit 501c(3) organization inspiring young people to take positive eco-action and make environmental stewardship a part of everyday life, has entered into a unique partnership with Fort Lauderdale’s historic Bonnet House.

KEC Outreach Director Lee Gottlieb created a countywide program for the 2011-12 school year that focuses on restoring the now-disappearing mangrove forests that once lined the shores of Broward County’s waterways. The Bonnet House landmark estate, with its natural barrier island habitat, provides a perfect living laboratory for KEC to educate kids about the significance of preservation and restoration of the mangrove forest.

Bonnet House offers participating school classes, teachers and parent chaperones free admission for a day of activities to learn about mangroves and the remarkable contributions the Bartlett and Birch families made to South Florida’s arts and culture.    

The field trips culminate in collecting Red Mangrove propagules. Gottlieb distributes three seedlings to each child and instructs them on how to nurture and grow their own mangrove tree once back at school. A return trip to Bonnet House is planned in May for the students to plant their young mangrove trees along the shoreline there.

By empowering the next generation to preserve this crucial native species, KEC teaches them an even broader lesson: the close interconnection of all plant and animal life and the impact each action taken has upon the environment as a whole.

Fifth graders from Hawks Bluff Elementary School participated in the Mangrove Program at Bonnet House on October 16 and Walker Elementary students did the same on Thursday, October 20. Embassy Creek Elementary will follow suit on Wednesday, October 26. Bonnet House is located at 900 North Birch Road in Fort Lauderdale.

To further highlight the importance of mangroves, Kids Ecology Corps, in conjunction with the City of Fort Lauderdale, will host a Mangrove Awareness Day on Saturday, November 19 at the opening of the Bill Keith Preserve, 3.4 acres of undeveloped property located along the north shore of the River at SW 17th Street and SW 18 Avenue, Fort Lauderdale starting at 9 AM.

Through partnerships with the City of Fort Lauderdale and local corporations KEC provides eco-action community service opportunities for youngsters and a variety of hands-on action programs for adults at Snyder Park and other locations year round.

About Kids Ecology Corps: Since its inception in 1981, KEC has touched over 100,000 youngsters, kindergarten through high school, amassing a rich heritage of educational programming. Beginning at a time when little environmental and ecological information was available in the traditional classroom, KEC in keeping with their mission, continues to offer educational programming about caring for natural habitats, water reclamation, pollution prevention, garbage reduction and reuse, the importance of urban forests, the precarious condition of our oceans and the simple actions kids can take to protect our Earth.

Kids Ecology Corps is located at ArtServe at the Broward County Library, 1350 East Sunrise Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33304. Phone 954-524-0366. Visit http://www.kidsecologycorps.org.

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Jan Idelman
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