Miami, Fla. – SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment and The Everglades Foundation, Inc. announced a new partnership focused on educating young Floridians about the importance of saving America’s Everglades. Through the Everglades Literacy Curriculum, teachers help students understand the immeasurable ecological and economic impact of the Everglades ecosystem and why saving this national treasure is important to all Floridians and more than 70 threatened and endangered species that call it home..
The Everglades Literacy Program is a vital part of the Everglades Foundation’s mission to preserve and restore “America’s Everglades” – the source of drinking water for almost 8 million Floridians. Over 1,500 teachers and approximately 60,000 students from 11 counties in Florida have completed the coursework and are implementing the Everglades Literacy Program in their classrooms.
“I think it is pivotal for teachers to be educated on such a precious resource like the Everglades so we can enlighten and empower our students to make changes to benefit the Everglades,” shares Josh Pederson, a teacher at SunRidge Elementary in the Orange County Public School System. Pederson was one of more than 40 teachers from Orange County who recently attended an Everglades Literacy Teacher Training workshop hosted at SeaWorld Orlando. Teachers who attended received information about the Everglades Literacy Program, materials to share in their classroom and activities to engage their students in hands-on learning.
“We are excited to join forces with SeaWorld on this important endeavor,” said Eric Eikenberg, CEO of the Everglades Foundation. “We know many of these children will grow up and live in Florida and we want them to become better stewards of this natural resource today and especially in the future.” The Everglades Foundation launched the Everglades Literacy Program to not only educate students, but to help motivate them to become advocates for conservation and knowledgeable stewards of Florida.
“At SeaWorld, we inspire people every day to explore nature and to find ways they can become better stewards of the natural resources they share with millions of animals,” said Brandon Tidwell, Director of Corporate Responsibility for SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment. “Because the Everglades begin here in Orlando, at Shingle Creek, we thought it was critical to partner with the Foundation to educate and inspire our youth to protect, preserve and repair this valuable ecosystem for the benefit of the citizens of Florida and the animals who call it home.”
SeaWorld not only hosted the recent literacy training, but also provided participating teachers with an exclusive backstage tour of their animal rescue operations. “The training was a wonderful combination of content and hands on experiences,” said Tara Stokes from Citrus Elementary. “I loved the behind the scenes tour of the conservation and rehabilitation areas.”
The Everglades Foundation
The Everglades Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to leading efforts to restore and protect the greater Everglades ecosystem. Since its founding in 1993 by a group of local outdoor enthusiasts, the Foundation has become a respected and important advocate for the sustainability of one of the world’s most unique ecosystems.
America’s Everglades is prominent among our nation’s environmental treasures. In addition to providing nearly eight million Floridians with clean and plentiful drinking water for nearly 8 million Floridians, the Everglades is home to no fewer than 70 threatened or endangered species of plant and animal life. From an economic point of view, nearly 400,000 jobs in tourism, recreation, boating, fishing, agriculture, real estate and numerous other sectors depend upon – and benefit from – a healthy Everglades.
Funds raised by the Foundation are used for scientific research, advancing understanding of the Greater Everglades ecosystem and to provide grants to our conservation partners. Through environmental leadership, scientific expertise and policy experience, the Everglades Foundation works to protect and restore America’s Everglades.
The Everglades curriculum introduces students to key aspects of the Everglades ecosystem including its watershed, endangered species, water conservation and other topics. Learn more at evergladesfoundation.org.
About SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment™ is a leading theme park and entertainment company providing experiences that matter and inspiring guests to protect animals and the wild wonders of our world. The company is one of the world’s foremost zoological organizations and a global leader in animal welfare, training, husbandry and veterinary care. The company collectively cares for what it believes is one of the largest zoological collections in the world and has helped lead advances in the care of animals. The company also rescues and rehabilitates marine and terrestrial animals that are ill, injured, orphaned or abandoned, with the goal of returning them to the wild. The SeaWorld® rescue team has helped more than 28,000 animals in need over the last 50 years.
The company owns or licenses a portfolio of recognized brands including SeaWorld, Busch Gardens® and Sea Rescue®. Over its more than 50-year history, the company has built a diversified portfolio of 12 destination and regional theme parks that are grouped in key markets across the United States, many of which showcase its one-of-a-kind zoological collection of over 800 species of animals. The company’s theme parks feature a diverse array of rides, shows and other attractions with broad demographic appeal which deliver memorable experiences and a strong value proposition for its guests.
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment is a wholly owned subsidiary of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc., a publicly traded company. Visit www.seaworldentertainment.com for more.
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