Airboats and Alligators: Students Experience the Everglades

September 12, 2019
Broward County students take a field trip to the Everglades, thanks to an Everglades Literacy program supported by Community Foundation of Broward Fundholders.

An airboat roars to life and takes wide-eyed students skimming across Florida’s famed River of Grass. They see alligators emerge from still waters. They see anhingas, birds with snake-like necks, swoop over sawgrass.

For many of these children – who grow up among South Florida’s densely packed subdivisions and shopping centers – field trips like this are their first experience in the Everglades.

This is their chance to see what so much of South Florida used to be. It is the highlight of a hands-on, Everglades education program that continues in the classroom – thanks to the support of Fundholders at the Community Foundation of Broward.

The Everglades Literacy program, developed by the Everglades Foundation, teaches students the history of the Everglades, the threats it faces and what we can do to protect this environmental treasure.

An anhinga dries its feathers in Everglades National Park.

They learn that survival of the Everglades means much more to Broward County residents than just protecting dwindling habitat for alligators, panthers and wading birds. They learn that we rely on the Everglades to replenish our drinking water supply. That the Everglades provides a buffer from hurricanes that sweep in from the Gulf of Mexico. They learn that we need the Everglades to survive so that we can keep living here.

Community Foundation grants totaling $46,000 make these important lessons possible. This support from our Fundholders enabled about 60 Broward teachers to receive Everglades Literacy Curriculum training and teach these lessons in their classrooms. In addition, more than 1,500 students have been able to connect their classroom learning to the field-trip experience of visiting the Everglades.

Thanks to the power of local philanthropy, a new generation of environmental champions is emerging to continue the important work of protecting the Everglades.

It’s part of our Fundholders’ commitment to ECO Broward – one of the 10 Issues That Matter most to Broward’s future. They know that the health of our community is contingent on promoting a healthy and more resilient environment. They are stepping up to shape a Broward that is a healthy, inspiring place to live for future generations.

This ECO Broward program was made possible by support from the following Funds of the Community Foundation of Broward:

David and Francie Horvitz Family Fund

Kresge Unrestricted Fund

Robert Frederick Giese Fund

Mary N. Porter Community Impact Fund

James Bell-Greenbaum Charitable Fund

Contact Information

To learn how you can support ECO Broward, contact Vice President of Philanthropic Services Nancy Thies at or 954-761-9503.

ECO Broward

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