The Museum of Discovery & Science in Fort Lauderdale has been educating children in Florida about the environment since it was founded in 1976. President & CEO of the museum Joseph Cox said they wanted to make sustainability one of their four educational pillars. “We provide all kinds of experiences from preschool to adults, whether its exhibits, programs, or IMAX,” Cox said. One way they are teaching children about Florida’s environment is through their new early childhood gallery. This gallery designed for children ages six and under encapsulates different iconic Florida environments, such as the ocean, the Everglades, and citrus groves.
“It’s getting them to fall in love with the environment from the very earliest ages,” Cox said.
Another tool used for education at the museum is the “Save our Seas Foundation Distinguished Speaker Series,” a virtual free monthly program. The program introduces participants to fascinating speakers who share information on marine life. There are a handful of other programs and exhibits at the museum designed to help children and adults learn more about the environment as well. “We hope these programs we offer will inspire the next generation to fall in love with the environment,” Cox said.
Recently the museum teamed up with the Florida Wildlife Corridor Foundation, the Community Foundation of Broward County, Flamingo Gardens, and Birch State Park to create a three-part exhibit. It will consist of three separate installations at the Museum of Discovery & Science, Flamingo Gardens, and Birch State Park. The exhibits will tell the story of the Florida Wildlife Corridor and help to show the importance of connectivity for wildlife. “Each of the different institutions exhibits will spotlight emblematic species that are representative of that area,” Cox said. He says these outdoor exhibits will encourage children to reconnect with nature and play outside.
“In order for adults to care about the environment, they have to have been children who cared about the environment,” Cox said. He emphasized the importance of teaching children about the world around them and their place in it, “instilling a sense of responsibility that hopefully will grow with them as they grow into adults,” Cox said.
When asked why showcasing and collaborating with the Florida Wildlife Corridor was so important to the museum, Cox said it’s a great solution and story to share with those who may not know it yet. “I think it’s a great opportunity to tell a great story and to have a platform for the Florida Wildlife Corridor Foundation to reach that many more people,” Cox said.