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What is the E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center?
We are the E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center, a 501(c)(3) environmental education center.
The Biophilia Center educates, on average, 100 students a day in fourth and seventh grades, Monday through Friday. Students visit the Center FREE of CHARGE for either two or four day programs that are filled with over twenty different environmental science lessons. The Center is able to provide interactive, hands-on science curriculum for local students for free, thanks to a generous donations from the public. Find out how your donation can benefit environmental research and education by clicking "Giving Options" above.
What is the Biophilia Center's Mission?
The core mission of the E.O.Wilson Biophilia Center is to educate on the importance of biodiversity, to promote sustainability, and to encourage conservation, preservation, and restoration of ecosystems.
What does the Biophilia Center do for the community?
The surrounding five local school districts consider our facility to be an extension of their classroom, as we are their science education project-based learning facility, the place where schooling becomes applicable. Each year, the E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center educates over 6,500 students in a 5 county area and averages more than 100 students every school day.
Students who visit the E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center learn about the natural environment through interpretive exhibits as well as an extensive trail system through natural areas on Nokuse Plantation. The Center’s curriculum coincides with Florida's education standards. While promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects, students are provided opportunities for inquiry, investigation, and innovation by gaining a better understanding and knowledge of their natural surroundings. Students get to interact hands-on with wildlife through our reptiles, mammals, and birds of prey exhibitions, as well as learn about native plants through the many plant exhibits throughout the Nokuse campus.
The Biophilia Center provides opportunity for members of the community to gather and learn more about nature on Nokuse through summer day camps, recreational opportunities at Camp Longleaf, trails system, public days, special events, and educational symposiums. Become a member today to get all the details on upcoming offerings.
Who started the Biophilia Center?
Walton County conservationist M.C. Davis founded the E.O.Wilson Biophilia Center in 2009 on Nokuse Plantation, a 55,000 acre nature preserve. The Center is named after and dedicated to world renowned scientist Dr. Edward O. Wilson, whose life-long mission is to educate the public about the importance of conserving the world's biodiversity. Dr. Wilson coined the term "biophilia" which literally means "the love of all living things".
Where is the Biophilia Center?
Freeport, Florida - The Center is nestled within Nokuse Plantation, a 55,000 acre nature preserve composed of Longleaf Pine ecosystem. The Longleaf Pine ecosystem is considered the sixth most biodiverse area in the continental U.S. Less than 2% of the original longleaf pine ecosystem remains intact today. As such, Nokuse Plantation is the perfect place to educate students on the importance of biodiversity and to encourage conservation, preservation, and restoration.
As part of the Biophilia Center's curriculum, students hike Nokuse Plantation's trails, stopping to observe wildlife habitats, including the burrows of the Longleaf Pine ecosystem's keystone species - the gopher tortoise. The E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center and Nokuse Plantation are home to several gopher tortoise relocation sites. As gopher tortoises are a threatened species, Florida developers are required to relocate any tortoises that are found on land set for construction to relocation sites, where natural habitats are preserved and tortoises can be monitored and studied. Students that visit the Biophilia Center get to participate in these efforts, as well as visiting collegiate researchers who may spend a summer or a semester studying the tortoises on Nokuse. Prior research has included studies on gopher tortoise reproduction and health. Developers who wish to learn more about gopher tortoise relocation may reach out for consulting. The Nokuse team has expertise in environmental assessment and planning, wildlife management, and forest habitat restoration.
How can I visit the Center?
Fourth and seventh grade students from the surrounding school districts are scheduled for visits during the school year. Schools or groups outside of the surrounding school districts can organize trips through our Naturalists Outdoors program. During the school year, we are open to the public for special events and Members Only functions. During the summer, we offer summer day camps, host recreational opportunities at Camp Longleaf: summer overnight adventures, and hold public hours in June and July.
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