FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Sept. 5, 2013
FLORIDA STATE PARKS CELEBRATE LITERACY WITH FREE ENTRY SEPTEMBER 8
~September is Literacy Month at Florida State Parks. Enjoy free entrance
to state parks on Sunday, Sept. 8~
Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park volunteer Gretchen Scoggins reads to children at the park.
Florida Department of Environmental Protection's Florida Park Service will
celebrate National Literacy Month with special events at state parks statewide. The month will be celebrated in conjunction with International Literacy Day on Sunday,
Sept. 8 and National Library Card Signup Month.
Florida's state parks will
offer free* entrance on Sunday, Sept. 8 to visitors who bring a library
card, a library book or who donate a new or gently-used, family friendly book
(*excludes Skyway Fishing Pier State Park).
"Literacy is very
important for people of all ages," said Florida Park Service Director
Donald Forgione, "We are excited to celebrate reading and provide the best
spots in the state to curl up with a good book to enjoy nature and the great
The Florida Park Service, Department of Education and Department of
State have joined together to stress the importance of literacy for all ages.
This partnership follows the summertime activities of Florida’s First Lady Ann
Scott, who encourages children to read through her Summer Literacy Adventure.
“Reading is the foundation for student learning and helps
them prepare for success in life and in the classroom,” said Commissioner of
Education Pam Stewart. “Literacy Month puts a focus on strengthening
students’ skills in a fun way. I encourage parents and their children to
pick up a book and read together as they experience the wonderful adventures in
state parks throughout the Sunshine State.“
More than 20 events are
scheduled around the state in state parks throughout September. Statewide events will be held
for children providing them with the opportunity to participate in activities,
accentuating the importance of literacy. Book fairs will assist with issuing
library cards. Children will hear stories, read from a variety of books and
partake in outdoor crafts and activities.
Children authors and
illustrators will make appearances and give hands-on interaction. For example,
Evelyn Gilmer will read her book Maggie the Beagle with a Broken Tail and the Baby
Sea Turtles at the Ochlockonee River State Park in Sopchoppy. At De Leon
Springs State park in Deland, children will get the chance to meet with author
Lucy Tobias, a member of the Florida Outdoor Writers Association.
Activities and crafts will
include scavenger hunts, adventure walks, games and prizes. Magic and the
Gentle Carousel Therapy Horses will give performances of characters from their
favorite books at O'Leno State Park in High Springs. Children can also complete
craft projects at the Museum at Fort Mose Historic State Park. Book exchanges
will take place where one can either donate or exchange books will other
participants. Braille and books-on-tape are welcome.
Throughout September, Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State
Park and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park will host events where
park rangers spend time with 4th grade students in Hamilton County reading
Marjorie Kinnan Rawling’s Classic novel The Yearling. Students will read in
class with their teachers and visit the state park to hear more about the
pioneer family braving the wilds of what is now the Ocala National Forest. The
Grand Finale will take place on Wednesday, September 25 when the final chapters
of the book will be read by a Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings look-a-like.
Visit our website for a complete list of literacy
activities at Florida State Parks.