Students in the panhandle will soon have a unique way to learn about science and mother nature. The E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center broke ground today in Freeport.
The program will specifically provide students in Walton and Okaloosa Counties with a classroom in the wilderness, but the program will service the entire panhandle.
Community members are excited about the local and national possibilities.
Local government officials, businessmen and contractors were just some of the people that gathered to support the groundbreaking of the E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center. Plans show this education facility will offer students an opportunity to interact directly with nature.
Carlene Anderson, Walton County superintendent, said, "Our first phase for this, field trips for our elementary students and that will spark the energies in them and anyone who has that interest. And in our middle school we hope to have a weeklong field trip."
The CEO and founder of the center, M.C. Davis, says this project was created around the idea that children need to experience nature to grow to love it and one day want to preserve it.
M. C. Davis said, "If a child is growing up in a major apartment complex in the city and he or she never touches a flower or a wild animal or never walks down a trail, how can they fall in love?"
The 10 acres eventually hold an education facility that will have access to a 48,000 acre nature preserve, Nakuse Plantation.
Project organizers say this area of Florida is home to a numerous species of plats and animals which will provide a diverse learning experience for students in the area and throughout the region.
"When we think it'll impact the Walton County school district I get very excited, but when we see it's going to be national impact to teachers, in service training, professional development and down to the desktops of our children, that's an exciting concept."
The Biophilia Center is set to open in 2009.