Hello and welcome

Visit our new website!


Thanks to the Seminole County School Board, the Federal Stimulus money for education, and our donors, Fifth Grade will have full programming for 2009—2010! And, there will be room for a few First Grade classes during times such as FCAT testing, when Fifth Grade can’t schedule.

We will, however, need to raise funding for 2010-2011, and beyond.

Do contact your legislators and let them know that education is our future!

We are fighting to retain our beloved Environmental Studies Center and its wonderful programs.

One more thing to mention: With the new website, you can follow links on the Donate Now page to either download a donation form, or link to Keep Seminole Beautiful, where you can use their site to donate online to the Environmental Studies Center Program Account. A little from a lot of people will do the trick!!

Our Purpose?

  • to Save the Mud Walk! (In other words, the full Fifth Grade Program.)

    • Mission Accomplished for 2008-2009 and for 2009-2010!!

    • BUT! The budget is still in chopping block mode! We now must plan for 2011-2012 and beyond, when the Federal Stimulus money runs out!
  • to bring back the First Grade programs.

    • A few first grades have been scheduled, where ever there was room in the schedule. We really look forward to having our first graders back one day!

  • to keep the Mud Walk an Experience of a Lifetime, as it has been for hundreds of thousands of Seminole County fifth graders over the last 30 years.

    • We are seeking funds for full programming for both Fifth Grade and First Grade for 2010-2011.

Find out more. Explore this sit or visit our new website, http://www.EnvironmentalStudiesCenter.org to find out about us, about the problem, about the solution, and —most important—how you can help.


Fifth Grade Mud Walk Needs Your Help

Arisa with King SnakeAnyone who grew up in Seminole County in the last three decades remembers the fun and the excitement of going to the Seminole County Public School’s Environmental Studies Center to learn about the environment and have an absolutely filthy fun time sloshing through the mud, the highlight of their fifth grade program lovingly known as, “The Mud Walk.” First Graders enjoy their own exciting program, with glimpses of what is to come as they see the fifth graders return, laughing and comparing Mud Walk stories.

However, because of severe legislative budget cuts, funding for this and several other programs has been reduced or even eliminated. Thankfully, despite significant challenges, the Seminole County School Board was able to keep the Center open, but with reduced programming. The $135,000 budget will keep the center open and provide staff for one day of the two-day fifth grade program. And first graders won’t get to go at all.

The Friends of the Environmental Studies Center, a group of concerned citizens, and School officials have been working to save the Environmental Studies Center programs. They are planning community fundraising events, seeking corporate assistance and looking for individuals who are willing to help bring back the full curriculum for both fifth and first graders county-wide.

The Environmental Studies Center Program Funding Committee is trying to raise $22,000 by August 1 to bring back that all-important second day for fifth grade, and another $41,000 by September 1, to return first graders to the program as well as keeping all the other Environmental Studies Center programs going for another year. They are also looking for ways to finance the curriculum for years to come so that future budget cuts won’t mean a cut in the program.

UPDATE August, 2008: More of the cost of busses for field trips will be charged to the schools, thereby decreasing the amount needed for us to pay by almost $3,000. This changes our goal for fifth grade to $19,000, and for first grade to $38,000.

As of August 12, the goal for fifth grade has been reached, and the MudWalk as we know it has been saved for the 2008-2009 school year!!! Details are being worked out for full implementation.

Update November 1: Many First Grade Programs have been scheduled! Due to the uncertainty and the late date offering programs, some first grade classes had made other plans for their field trip. We hope to have full programming to offer schools at the beginning of the 2009-210 school year.

Before the school board budget hearings, thousands of people who had been on the Mud Walk or whose children had had the opportunity, went online to sign a petition, pleading with the board to save the Mud Walk for future generations. Many wrote notes telling of how that one two-day event helped direct them into a science or environmental career or to take a more active role in caring for the environment.

A school facility in a public park, The Seminole County Environmental Studies Center is a joint effort of theTeachers Bird Watch to right Seminole County Public Schools and the Seminole County Board of County Commissioners. It is located in Soldiers Creek Park, part of Spring Hammock Nature Preserve, on County Road 419 near Highway 17-92. The trails and picnic areas in the park are open to the public from sunrise to sunset every day. A mile walk or bike ride down the main trail leads to a boardwalk that winds through a swamp to a view of Lake Jesup.

To find out more about the Mud Walk program, and the efforts to save it or to learn more about the Environmental Studies Center, call Deborah Harris, Environmental Education Specialist, at 407-320-0467. To contact the Friends group, e-mail at <Friends_Env_St_Ctr(at)cfl.rr.com>.

Nov.1 Update: $24,738.57 raised! Fifth Graders Have Two Days!!

The Seminole County School Board’s Budget Meeting on May 13, 2008 left no doubt that painful budget cuts will be felt in all parts of the school system. Thankfully, the Board was able to keep the Environmental Studies Center open, but with a reduction of programs. Supporters in the audience were invited to submit their names for a Funding Committee to be formed by the Friends of the Environmental Studies Center. Within hours, a Seminole County citizen came forward with a check for $1,000 to get the fund off the ground

How can you help? Click on the “Join a Committee” and “Donate Now” tabs above.

Welcome! We’re currently developing this website to keep you up-to-date on Environmental Studies Center activities and provide information on how you can help save our programs. Please contact us if you have additional questions.