Every fall the Environmental Center starts off the new academic year with the annual Environmental Leadership Program (ELP) fall retreat. This year, the retreat focused on sustainability and community solutions to climate change.
The first stop on the retreat was in Orlando to learn more about the Green Works initiative. Ian Lahiff, energy project manager with Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer’s Office of Sustainability, gave us a tour of the city’s Fleet & Facilities Complex, including the on-site solar rooftop.
After the sustainability tour in Orlando, the group headed to Silver Springs State Park for the remainder of the retreat. Mixing in some fun, the group started Saturday with an early morning hike and also enjoyed a leisurely paddle at the head spring.
After lunch, the group visited the Silver Springs Museum and then participated in an afternoon workshop on climate change facilitated by Christina Dembiec, community education manager at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. The project leaders learned communication techniques to help them when discussing climate change issues.
Saturday ended with the group cooking dinner around the campfire and socializing with Guy Marwick, executive director of the Felburn Foundation and founder of the Silver River Museum and Environmental Education Center in Silver Springs State Park.
The retreat was a fun-filled, educational weekend, and a perfect kick-off to the fall semester!
Maria Mark is the Environmental Leadership Program Coordinator.