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~Department promotes the nationwide expansion of learning about diverse ecosystems~


Students learn how to calculate the height of trees far taller than any tape measure.

TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) recognizes the week of April 13-19 as National Environmental Education Week. Known as EE Week, this nationwide celebration promotes learning about the nation's diverse ecosystems in both primary and secondary academic environments.

The event's overall purpose and the 2014 theme, "Greening STEM: Engineering a Sustainable World," falls perfectly in line with the Department's Office of Environmental Education's Learning In Florida's Environment (LIFE) program. The Department's LIFE program began in 2004 promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and has reached more than 29,000 students and teachers statewide.

"Offering youth the opportunity to build sustainable solutions in order to solve today's environmental challenges not only makes sense, but also gives these students a future," says FDEP's Office of Environmental Education Director Greg Ira. "With the median salary of an environmental engineer being more than $78,000, these integrated STEM activities promote earning as well as learning.”

Environmental education for Florida's youth has continued to blossom as a major initiative within the Department. Beyond the LIFE program, the Department has received significant honors for its participation in the World Water Monitoring Challenge. In 2012, the Office of Environmental Education was recognized as the most outstanding team within the North American region. Furthermore, Jackie Turner, a park service specialist at Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park, won the Individual Excellence award for the North American region.

Since National EE Week's inception in 2005, it has grown so much that it has attracted the attention of United States Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. Registration for National EE Week is available to not only academic institutions, but also state or local parks, museums, zoos and aquariums as well as corporations and nonprofits interested in sponsoring or hosting events. For more information, click here.

The Department will be culminating EE Week with its annual Earth Day Celebration at the Capitol in downtown Tallahassee on Friday April 18. Hundreds of regional students will descend upon the Capitol courtyard to participate in a range of environmental learning activities and Green STEM mini-challenges.