Everglades Professional Development Series for Teachers

Beginning in November, Artists in Residence in the Everglades (AIRIE) is pleased to offer the AIRIE STEAM Program in cooperation with FIU’s School of Environment, Arts, and Society (FIU SEAS).  This professional development opportunity is a series of three day-long workshops at the AIRIE Nest in Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center in Everglades National Park, and a field trip with Love the the Everglades Movement, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to raise awareness and organize positive community engagement which address the environmental, structural, cultural and spiritual problems plaguing the Florida Everglades.

The AIRIE STEAM Professional Development series consists of three full-day workshops led by FIU professors and AIRIE Fellows for Miami-Dade Public School teachers, designed to improve the understanding of the natural wetlands of South Florida and the challenges faced. The series will focus on central elements that play a critical role in the makeup of the Florida Everglades: Water, Habitat, Man and Community.  Morning sessions will focus on environmental and scientific concepts, followed by an artist led activity in the afternoon. Teachers will be instructed on how to use the information and skills given to communicate the story of the Everglades. They will also be directed on how to engage their students through the tools of social media. On alternate dates, an airboat tour of Conservation Area 3A with Love the Everglades will be available to all participants and will count as additional professional development points.

Participants may choose individual or multiple AIRIE STEAM topics (Water; Habitat; and/or Man & Community).  The  Lab will available for a limited number of participants and based on airboat capacity.   Lab seats will be assigned on a first come, first served basis.

  • Part 1A:  Water in the Everglades— November 18, 2017
  • Part 1B:  Water in the Everglades Lab— November 19, 2017
  • Part 2A:  Impacts of Man & Community on the Everglades – December 2, 2017
  • Part 2B:  Impacts of Man & Community on the Everglades Lab— December 3, 2017
  • Part 3A:  Habitats of the Everglades – December 9, 2017 
  • Part 3B:  Habitats of the Everglades Lab – December 10, 2017


WATER (Nov. 18 & 19)

The Florida Everglades provides filtered water to Miami-Dade County through a completely natural method called ecosystem service. Water travels from Lake Okeechobee down through the Everglades, where it slowly flows over porous limestone and is filtered. In this workshop, we will be taking a closer look at the water’s course through South Florida and the challenges it’s facing.

To complement the lesson, an AIRIE Fellow will direct a watercolor workshop which will touch on painting and theory to demonstrate concepts like flow, permeation, and how salt infiltration can contaminate South Florida’s only source of fresh water.


MAN & COMMUNITY (Dec. 2 & 3)

The history of the Everglades is one written by man.  It was the words of land speculators which promised a subtropical Eden that drew millions of farmers to Florida to settle. It was the persuasive words of Miami’s founding mother, Julia Tuttle, that brought the railroad to Miami, and ultimately it was Marjory Stoneman Douglas who used her words to preserve the Everglades for future generations. We will discuss the effects that we as a growing population have had on the Everglades and how we can help.

As we work to restore the Glades, teachers will learn to guide their students in articulating the challenges of this fragile and unique wilderness through poetry led by AIRIE Fellows.


 HABITAT (Dec. 9 & 10)

All the habitats in the Everglades are defined by one key attribute: height. Even a slight difference in elevation can transform a sawgrass prairie into a cypress swamp, or a mangrove forest into a slough. Each of these habitats provides a home for different species and how each is being challenged by climate change. We will be discussing not only the differences between the Florida Everglades various habitats but also introduce students to the danger of invasive species and how they become a threat to the natural balance of things.

Teachers will learn to use sculpture as a means of demonstrating how elevation differentiates habitat and how sea level rise threatens to drown many Everglades habitats.

Love The Everglades AIRBOAT TOUR

Counting as additional professional development points, teachers are invited to attend an airboat tour with the founders of the Love The Everglades Foundation. Love the Everglades is a not for profit organization whose mission is to implement evolving strategies across the full spectrum of being, which address the environmental, structural, cultural and spiritual problems plaguing the Florida Everglades by raising awareness and organizing positive community engagement at the local, regional, national and global levels. Through a tour of conservation Area 3A teachers will be introduced introduction to Everglades restoration, Miccosukee cultural perspectives and environmental protection initiatives, political challenges, as well as artistic and spiritual interpretations.  

Participants will submit a completed lesson plan as part of the course requirements. Those lessons meeting AIRIE/FIU standards will be eligible to receive a $100 stipend for their work upon meeting the following requirements: 

  • Teachers will provide evidence that the lesson developed in the workshop was taught in their classrooms.  
  • Teachers will provide evidence that they have created an Instagram account to showcase their class products and have posted, at least, 20 pieces of student work Instagram using the hashtag supplied by AIRIE
  • Teachers will submit their best piece of student work to showcase in an exhibition, at the AIRIE Nest, located in the Everglades National Park (Spring  2018).

Total Capacity per day – 20

Total Capacity per Airboat tour – 15

To register please click here.

Photo from series Marjory’s World by Rebecca Reeve