Manatee News

Save the Manatee Club Offers Free Springs Courses for Students and Communities

Visitors to Blue Spring State Park watch manatees.

Visitors watch manatees from the observation deck at Blue Spring State Park.

by Anne Harvey, JD, MS
Save the Manatee Club Conservation Staff

Many of us learned our appreciation for the environment as children, from school programs, friends, or relatives who took us into nature and gave us life-long memories and a sense of appreciation for and connection to the natural world. Unfortunately, many students throughout Florida are never afforded those opportunities. With the help of grants, Save the Manatee Club has designed two springs courses to reach students across the state to foster both an academic and personal appreciation for Florida’s springs systems.

The introductory module for the Springs Conservation in the Classroom program. Click here to see all seven springs conservation videos or download them.

The first project, Springs Conservation in the Classroom and Beyond, is a free online curriculum composed of seven course modules designed to inform students and promote critical thinking. The program is geared toward high school students and the general public. The modules introduce viewers to aquifers, springs, and springsheds, discuss their importance to the Florida water supply, and evaluate impacts from development, pollution, and groundwater pumping. The course also serves as a primer on Florida water policy, and helps citizens develop the skills needed to participate in policy formation. The most important feature of the course is its emphasis on community advocacy. Throughout the lessons, activities encourage students to apply what they have learned to their local waterways, and to communicate their discoveries with their family and friends. Through this program, we hope to not only teach the next generation of Florida’s citizens about springs issues, but to magnify our impact in the community by encouraging students to become advocates themselves. The course is streaming online as a series of Youtube videos or available for download in PowerPoint format. Click this link to find both options on our website.

The second program, the Blue Spring Adventurers, will bring approximately two hundred 3rd to 5th grade students from schools within the Blue Springs springshed to Blue Spring State Park in Volusia County. A portion of the grant will go toward transportation and substitute teacher costs, as these are often the greatest obstacles to facilitating field trips. The program will feature hands-on activities to foster student connections with the spring and its aquatic inhabitants. Students will have the opportunity to go out on a boat and participate in a “dip n’ learn” program wherein they will explore the ecology of the St. Johns River. Students will receive a free pass to return to Blue Spring State Park with their families, to share their newfound knowledge and passion, and help reinforce their role as stewards of the spring. We are still accepting students for both our November and March programs. If you would like to enroll your class, please contact Anne Harvey at

Our thanks and appreciation go to the Protect Florida Springs grant program, which has funded both the Springs Conservation in the Classroom and Beyond and Blue Spring Adventurers programs.

Manatees frolic at Blue Spring State Park

Manatees frolic in the warm spring waters at Blue Spring State Park.

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