DATE: July 16, 2012
CONTACT: Diana Guidry, NatureScape Broward
For its comprehensive approach to environmental education and the creation and use of outdoor learning spaces through a partnership with Broward County's NatureScape program, the Broward County School District is the first in the country to be certified by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF). With this achievement, Broward County, the sixth largest accredited school district in the country, has set a standard as a national environmental leader and role model for other school districts to follow.
“This recognition is incredibly rewarding, it speaks volumes of the commitment of our staff and the enthusiasm of our students,” said School Board Chair Ann Murray.
The National Wildlife Federation will recognize the magnitude of this precedent setting achievement on Tuesday, July 24, at 1:30 p.m. at the regularly scheduled Broward School Board meeting, 600 S.E. Third Ave. in Fort Lauderdale.
Certification under NWF’s School District Program has taken years to accomplish. In 2007, the School District entered into an environmental partnership agreement with Broward County’s NatureScape program. Agencies shared resources and expertise to advance the creation and maintenance of outdoor learning classrooms, increase student body participation in outdoor learning, provide greater environmental programming across grade levels, and deliver staff training.
Today, more than 40 percent of Broward’s schools are now Certified Schoolyard Habitats, more than 25 percent of the student body is active in outdoor learning and 110 teachers have completed Habitat Steward Training delivered by NatureScape Broward program staff, and are implementing environmental curriculum with their students.
“Teaching children how to protect, conserve, and nurture our environment is a lesson that will last a lifetime and can change the way a child experiences and views the world,” said Broward County Vice Mayor Kristin Jacobs, who initiated the NatureScape program. “This certification is a major accomplishment and truly represents the great importance both our agencies place on environmental education and sustainability.”
National Wildlife Federation’s Schoolyard Habitats® Program was established in 1998 to work with schools, school districts and partners to create and sustain outdoor learning classrooms to enrich the educational experience while inspiring the next generation of environmental stewards.
For more information on NatureScape Broward, call Diana Guidry at 954-519-0317 or visit broward.org/naturalresources and click NATURESCAPE BROWARD. NatureScape Broward is a program of the Natural Resources Planning and Management Division, a service of the Broward County Commission.