23875
Florida

Our Changing Planet: The Diverse Waterways of Southeast Florida

Study the effects of climate change on Florida’s Everglades and coastal ecosystems with experts, as you play an important role in protecting these fragile ecosystems for years to come.
Program No. 23875RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,349
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6 days
5 nights
12 meals
5 B 4 L 3 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Palm Beach Gardens, FL
D
Homewood Suites by Hilton Palm Beach Gardens

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration: 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar table in the lobby to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing the up-to-date schedule that reflects any changes, other important information, and to confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in. Remember to bring your name-tag (sent previously). Orientation: 5:15 p.m. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions. OUR CHANGING PLANET: This is a Road Scholar Our Changing Planet (OCP) program. Through lectures, discussions, field trips, and hands-on experiences, OCP programs focus on both the environmental and societal impacts of climate change and local efforts to mitigate and adapt to this shift. Each program features daily lectures on environmental issues, field trips involving organizations and/or members of the local community affected by climate change, an environmentally focused service-learning project, and a “global ambassador” session focused on making an impact at the individual level. br>Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may be changed due to local conditions/circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have a plated welcome dinner with our new companions. Beverages will include coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: After dinner, a local expert will give an introductory presentation on the key environmental concepts and themes that are pertinent to Southeastern Florida, from habitat conservation to oceanic stewardship and ecological sustainability.

DAY
2
St. Lucie Lock & Dam, Jupiter Inlet, FOS Center, Loggerhead
Palm Beach Gardens, FL
B,L
Homewood Suites by Hilton Palm Beach Gardens

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 100 miles total; approximately 2.5 hours; stops for field trips. Walking up to 2 miles total throughout the day; sand and uneven ground.

Breakfast: At the hotel, we will have a breakfast buffet featuring a variety of hot and cold items, plus coffee, tea, and water.

Morning: Boarding a motorcoach, we will head to St. Lucie Lock and Dam where we will hear from a volunteer how the Army Corps Engineers maintains the water quality of Lake Okeechobee via the St. Lucie river lock and dam system. We'll then move on to the Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center on Hutchinson Island and learn how the Florida Oceanographic Society carries out their mission "to inspire environmental stewardship of Florida's coastal ecosystems through education, research and advocacy." During our visit, center experts will lead us through their beachfront facility, and share their research with us as they introduce us to a few of their aquatic inhabitants.

Lunch: At a local restaurant en route to Jupiter Inlet, we’ll have a plated lunch with non-alcoholic beverages, coffee, tea, and water included.

Afternoon: After lunch, we'll continue by motorcoach to Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum where we will be joined by a museum employee for a scenic trail walk. Built in 1860, the Jupiter Lighthouse and the exhibits in the waterfront History Museum are part of the first designated Outstanding Natural Area in the National Landscape Conservation System. The museum occupies a restored WWII Navy building and features exhibits telling diverse stories of over 5,000 years of human habitation. We’ll then travel via motorcoach to the Loggerhead Marine Center, home to a variety of educational exhibits and a rehabilitation hospital for sea turtles and other marine creatures. With a center employee, we’ll go behind-the-scenes into the sea turtle rehabilitation area and learn about their experiences. We will return to the hotel by motorcoach where the remainder of the afternoon will be open for independent exploration.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
3
Lake Okeechobee By Deck Boat, Cattle Ranch Eco Buggy Ride
Palm Beach Gardens, FL
B,L,D
Homewood Suites by Hilton Palm Beach Gardens

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 217 miles total; approximately 4 hours; stops for field trips. Getting on/off a boat; ride is about 1 hour. Walking up to 2 miles total throughout the day; grassy terrain and uneven ground. Getting on/off an eco-buggy; approximately 2 hour ride with stops.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Setting out from the hotel via motorcoach, we’ll travel to the northern shores of Lake Okeechobee, a Florida landmark and its largest freshwater lake. On the lake, we will embark on a scenic deck boat ride narrated by a local expert. During the ride, we'll learn about the surrounding wetlands and its wildlife, which co-exists with neighboring commercial sugarcane fields.

Lunch: On the shore of Lake Okeechobee, we’ll have our boxed lunches.

Afternoon: Next, we will transfer to a unique, local cattle ranch located at the MacArthur Agro-Ecology Research Center. Via eco-buggy, a local expert will drive us through the ranch's pasture, prairie, and hammock lands while explaining the MAERC's mission of ecological, economic, and cultural sustainability. Along the way, we might spot alligators, caracara, red-shouldered hawks, feral hogs, and deer.

Dinner: At a restaurant en route to the hotel, we’ll have plated meals with non-alcoholic beverages, tea, and coffee.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Blowing Rocks Preserve, Hands-On Service Learning
Palm Beach Gardens, FL
B,L
Homewood Suites by Hilton Palm Beach Gardens

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 20 miles total; about 1 hour; stops for field trips. Walking up to 3 miles during group activities; sand and uneven ground. Service learning activity may require a variety of movements including bending, standing, and kneeling. Extent and duration of walking and other activities during free time according to personal choice.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: By motorcoach, we will head to Blowing Rocks Preserve to meet with an expert from the Nature Conservancy of Southeast Florida to learn about this restored oceanside sanctuary, and how it reflects what South Florida barrier islands looked like a century ago. After our introduction, we'll give back to the preserve during a hands-on service-learning project at Blowing Rocks led by Nature Conservancy staff. There are several types of projects we may undertake, but the exact tasks we will perform will be determined by staff depending on what will be most useful to the preserve at the time.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we'll enjoy a plated meal with non-alcoholic beverages included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Free time. This period of time has been set aside for your personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Waterways of the Everglades, Grassy Waters Preserve
Palm Beach Gardens, FL
B,L,D
Homewood Suites by Hilton Palm Beach Gardens

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 40 miles total; approximately 1.5 hours; stops for field trips. Walking up to 2 miles during group activities; uneven ground and wooden boardwalks at Grassy Waters Preserve. Extent and duration of walking and other activities during free time according to personal choice. Getting on/off a pontoon boat; ride is about 1.5 hours.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: At the hotel, we will receive an introduction to the waterways of the Everglades with a local expert ahead of our visit to Grassy Water Preserve, which was once a part of the “River of Grass” that makes up Florida’s Everglades. After the lecture, we'll go by motorcoach to the Grassy Waters Preserve where, with local naturalists, we'll learn about the cypress swamps, cabbage palm hammocks, and sawgrass marshes that make up this protected ecological sanctuary. During our expert-led walk, we’ll be on the lookout for commonly sighted species including the Everglades snail kite, wood stork, white ibis, great blue heron, and alligators.

Lunch: At Grassy Waters Preserve, we will enjoy a boxed lunch as a group.

Afternoon: Once back at the hotel, the remainder of the afternoon is free time.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we will enjoy a plated sea-to-plate farewell dinner, which will include non-alcoholic beverages and a choice of a glass of beer or wine, plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase. Share some favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends.

Evening: We’ll reboard the motorcoach and head to a launch site along Jupiter’s Intracoastal Waterway. From a pontoon boat, we’ll watch the vibrant Florida sun set over Jupiter on a scenic boat ride narrated by our captain.

DAY
6
Global Environmental Ambassadors, Program Concludes
Palm Beach Gardens, FL
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 11:00 a.m.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: With our Group Leader, we will wrap up the program by focusing on how to be a “global ambassador” at home and learning how to incorporate what we've learned this week into our daily lives as a way to be more environmentally conscious. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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