Environmental education program helps Hillsborough County students get back to nature

Since 1969, more than 328,006 elementary students from Hillsborough County schools have experienced Nature’s Classroom, an outdoor environmental education program located on 365 acres of land along the Hillsborough River.

During a three-day hands-on experience, students study the complex and dynamic ecosystem surrounding the Hillsborough River. They hear about the challenges the environment faces and learn about how the health of the river affects us all by influencing things like our drinking water supply. Most importantly, students learn how their current and future actions can impact the community environment.

“It is extremely important to connect students to their environment,” said Chris Rusnak of Nature’s Classroom. “It’s something that keeps us all alive and sometimes it’s one thing, a connection that they don’t make unless they come out here.”

Nature’s Classroom also has an on-site educational wildlife park with a variety of native animals that have been rescued or in need of a home. They were lucky to have things like a Florida black bear that the students can see, a bobcat that needed a home, a white-tailed deer.

READ: Governor DeSantis announces legislation to eliminate FSA and replace it with “monitoring progress”

Whenever there is an animal available that needs a home and it is an animal they could see that could mean something in the lives of the students, Nature’s Classroom is a sanctuary. for them.

“I hope the students who come to Nature’s Classroom gain this appreciation for nature, its beauty, its wonders, what it means to them wherever they live here in Hillsborough County and we really want to see you there. ‘they are the guardians of nature,’ explained Rusnak.

MORE GOOD NEWS: Download the free FOX 13 News app for more #WeLiveHere stories like this