Past Education Programs
These are some of the educational programs offered in the past, both at the facility in Key Largo and elsewhere.
The Tugaloo Environmental Education Center (TEEC) was a year-round residential facility in Oconee County, South Carolina, which offered a new perspective on forest and freshwater ecology, local flora and fauna, regional geology, energy cycles and man's direct and indirect effects on nature, all set in the context of the region's history and culture. One TEEC program, "Coming Home," conveyed strong themes of environmental connectedness by basing its curriculum on the award-winning novel The Education of Little Tree. In operation from 1992 until 2000, TEEC reached several hundred local and out of state students, and provided teacher workshops for South Carolina science teachers. It had a grant from the South Carolina Department of Education for 1200 at-risk sixth graders to attend a three day, two night program at the facility from 1996-1996. The program was designed to enhance students' awareness of the importance of natural resources to their lives, and to instill a sense of stewardship towards these resources through role-playing activities. MRDF ceased operating the site in 2000, and a private boys school now occupies the facility.
In 1995, the Scott Carpenter Man In The Sea Program (MITS) was first presented to a group of 18 Miami Dade science teachers. MITS was an in-depth, high-tech, hands-on learning experience that gave participants the unique opportunity to sample the technology, techniques, and adventure familiar to underwater researchers, explorers, and commercial divers. Participants learned to pilot a mini sub, worked with advanced diving systems including a diving bell, and performed experiments while living underwater in Jules' Undersea Lodge. The teacher program was funded by a grant fom the Miami Dade County School Board. Over the course of the next few years, several high school students, adults, and teachers participated in the program and became MITS Aquanauts. MRDF ceased MITS operations in 1999.
Over the course of the past decades, MRDF has presented numerous grant-funded teacher workshops to middle and high school teachers. The first MarineLab students and teachers attended programs thanks to a grant from the Broward County (FL) School Board in 1984. Additional teacher workshops were funded in 1986-1987. In 1988, 1989, and 1990, funds were appropriated from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to present a series of eight fourteen-day workshops to teachers from around the United States, focusing on the marine ecology of the Florida Keys and the underwater technology in use at the time. During those three summers, over 550 teachers from 48 states and territories were selected from over 1500 applicants and participated, free of charge, at this highly-regarded successful workshop. Funding from the Florida Advisory Council on Environmental Education (FACEE) was received in 1990 to provide a workshop specifically for Florida teachers. Shortly after the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary was created, another workshop was funded by FACEE in 1996 called The Economic and Political Realities of Environmental Protection, which demonstrated to the teachers how a new protected area, such as a Sanctuary, is created and managed. Through the years, several Florida counties also funded workshops for their teachers.
TEEC also hosted grant-funded teacher workshops. In 1994, the South Carolina Universities Research and Education Foundation (SCUREF) provided funds for 70 teachers to attend classes and receive curriculum supplements to use in the classroom. From 1993 - 1996, the Oconee County School District provided funds for its local teachers to attend two day inservice programs.