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MDC Launches Protect Our Lagoon Academy in February
The Marine Discovery Center will introduce its newest adult education course, the Protect Our Lagoon Academy, in February.
The program is an offshoot of MDC’s Project H2O, designed to promote healthy habitat through outreach, and will focus on various concerns faced by the Indian River Lagoon, ranging from wildlife and habitats to legislation and advocacy.
Academy organizers hope the program will help produce citizen-ambassadors for the lagoon who can advocate on behalf of the estuary’s health with government officials, organizations and local residents.
“We want citizens to recognize the importance of the Indian River Lagoon not only from an ecological standpoint, but also for its economic value to our region,” said Mallory Brooks, Project H2O Coordinator.
The program will be held over six weeks, starting Feb. 6, and concluding on March 13. Each Monday class session will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and will include field trips, guest speakers, and learning opportunities both in the classroom and in the field.
“The program helps citizens understand that we all can do something to benefit the lagoon and it will provide the background of information to better enable advocacy,” added Brooks. “Our goal is to produce 25 ambassadors who can speak fluently and knowledgably about the Indian River Lagoon.”
Class size of the Protect Our Lagoon Academy is limited to the first 25 students and cost is $50 per student. Class discussions will include such topics as water quality, living shorelines, climate change, wildlife, impacts of tourism and interpretation.
Program participants will be required to complete a final project. Projects may include such initiatives as meeting with government officials or presenting information on behalf of the Indian River Lagoon at municipal meetings, organizing lagoon cleanups with local volunteers, or advocating lagoon-friendly yard practices with local homeowners’ associations.
An application to enroll in the program is available on the website at www.marinediscoverycenter.org.