Unplug - Discover - Connect
We're Open!
June is Great Outdoors month! The Environmental Learning Center is the perfect place to get outside and celebrate!

Pontoon Boat Tours have returned, our indoor facilities are open and our beloved classes are back! Our Reopening Committee has created an Adaptive Recovery Plan to ensure that everyone feels safe and comfortable in this time. As the COVID-19 pandemic is an evolving situation, the recovery plan and the guidance within are subject to change and will be updated as appropriate.

To view our plan, please click below. The health and wellness of everyone is our priority in this time.
June Greetings from the Executive Director
100,000 thank you's to all of you that helped us reach our Blue Hair Challenge goal, by donating or spreading the word! We raised close to $85,000 in direct donations, with more continuing to come in each day. The team got creative in various ways in the past couple months, including applying for two new grants, which we were awarded, totaling $25,000, causing us to not only reach, but exceed, the $100,000 goal! This revenue helps make a big dent in the lost revenue for ELC caused by the inability to run programs for 2 1/2 to 3 months.

Why blue hair? Our tagline for the campaign was “Blue Hair for the Blue Planet!” . Our beloved Earth is known as the blue planet because almost 70% of its surface is water. Because of its water, Earth is home to millions of species of plants and animals. Most of us associate blue water and blue sky with a healthy environment. And that is what the ELC is all about! Fostering a connection to our environment and sharing knowledge about how to care for it. The health of our natural world is directly tied to our own human health. We recently witnessed firsthand the undeniable connectivity between the environment and living things. We’ve also had glimpses of how changes in human behavior can have a positively impact on our natural resources.

Did you know that most people’s favorite color is blue? Across lines of geography, gender, age and political affiliation, 25-40% of people’s favorite color is blue, and hardly anyone dislikes the color blue. (Green and red were the distant second runners up. There have been various studies you can google but click HERE to view one . )

The color blue is associated positively, not only with clean air and water, but with feelings of calm, strength, hope and even spirituality. People are drawn to the color blue. So there you have it! The Blue Hair Challenge was meant to be a fun way to draw attention to the very important work that we need to do to make sure our water and air are clean so that we and future generations may thrive. I will proudly wear my blue hair until at least the Fourth of July as an outward show of my deep appreciation for the community’s belief in the importance of our mission and your willingness to step in and be a part of the solution.

Today, June 1, we happily begin our phased reopening! We can’t wait to see our members, volunteers and guests back at the ELC - utilizing the campus as an extension of your own backyard, enjoying a magnificent pontoon boat ride on our Indian River Lagoon, taking a kayak tour or a stroll through our native plant garden or butterfly garden, fishing off the dock, or participating in some of our wellness classes. A lot of time and work went into creating a safe reopening plan which you can view on our website and by clicking HERE.

Staff have been busily working full-time during the closure creating campus improvements, virtual programming and organizational infrastructure. We have special family programming available for you in June which you can learn more about in this newsletter. We hope to offer revamped summer camps in July, details to be announced June 12th. Human safety is our first priority.

We believe that being active in the great outdoors is one of the best ways to promote physical, mental, and emotional health. We hope to see you soon!
In Gratitude,
Barbara Schlitt Ford
Executive Director
Activities and Classes
Click on the activity you are interested in to learn more.
Want to help clean up our beaches?
World Ocean Day is June 8! Celebrate by participating in a beach cleanup at Wabasso Beach with ELC and Keep Indian River Beautiful on Saturday, June 6!
Join us on June 13 to clean up Humiston Park with ELC and Coastal Connections! Please RSVP to our Volunteer Coordinator below.
Pontoon Boat Tours are Back!
Want to get out on the water? The ELC has several options to suit your needs!

Join us for our Pelican Island Tour, Spoil Island Tour or Sunset Tour.

Click below for dates and times.
Looking Back at Last Month
Last month ELC educators hosted a series of virtual workshops dedicated to Mother Earth! The media making workshops instructed participants on how to create their own nature education video. Check out this fantastic submission by 13 year old Junior Interpreter, Wyatt Satterly!
‘Species Spotlight’ ELC Flora & Fauna:
Simpson’s Stopper - Blooming for the bees & butterflies
For most of the year the native Simpson’s Stopper might just look like a green hedge or shrub in your neighborhood. Each April and May this pollinator friendly plant will bloom and attract butterflies, and then turn to red berries that are food for birds. A member of the eucalyptus family, the Simpson’s Stopper’s tiny dark green leaves contain aromatic oils with the fragrance of nutmeg. Learn more here!
Osprey - Ready to take flight!
Have you noticed the osprey nesting around the lagoon? Finally the young osprey are getting ready to take their first flight! Osprey nesting takes place between December thru February, and around 55 days after hatching the young will fledge the nest. The adults continue to feed the young until they are approximately 100 days old (FLFWC, Ogden 1996). Take a look at the young osprey on the Indian River Lagoon while you still can!
Meet the Team
Angela Ameling (who usually goes by Angie) was born in Greybull, Wyoming, a small town South of Billings, Montana and East of Yellowstone National Park. She doesn’t remember much of her young childhood home, but she does remember the smell of sage. To this day, the smell of sage takes her back to her younger years. Her family moved to Las Vegas, NV in the mid-80’s where she was raised. Angela grew up camping, hiking, and exploring the majestic deserts of the Southwest. Her favorite spots are Zion and Bryce Canyon, and visiting the Grand Canyon in the winter blanketed in snow. She studied Art and earned her BA degree from the University of Nevada, Reno. After working at various galleries for 5 years, she pursued a Masters Degree in Museum Education from George Washington University.  She has devoted her career to non-profit institutions in various capacities- as an educator, grant writer, volunteer coordinator, director and chief operating officer. She met her husband, Ryan Blanchard, in December, 2006. Ryan is a Hawaiian chef. 35 pounds after meeting him, on May 1, 2010 they were married in a small chapel in Downtown Las Vegas. Angela and her Hawaiian husband lived in Hawaii on the island of Oahu for the past 8 years and recently moved to Vero Beach in December, 2019 when he was transferred to Disney’s Vero Beach Resort. Angela and Ryan love exploring their new environment and take hikes every week.
Education Programs
Our team of Environmental Educators have some new and exciting things to share with you! Click on the button below to learn about Summer Camps, Nature Near You Kits and more!
Nature Near You Kits
Nature Near You is a take-home STEM kit for ages 6-11.
This kit comes fully equipped with supplies and instructions for 6 hands-on activities and includes virtual meetings with ELC educators and fellow nature explorers and links to exciting instructional videos. 
Nature Near You Kits can be picked up at the Entry Pavilion on the ELC Campus beginning on June 1st. 

There is a $5 fee to cover the cost, with a suggested donation of $10. If you are not financially able to purchase, please email HeatherK@DiscoverELC.org.
A Special Thank You to the Garden Club of Indian River County, Inc.
The Garden Club of Indian River County generously donated $1,000 to support our Nature Near You Kits.

"The Garden Club wishes the ELC continued success with their educational programs for the people of Indian River County."

Check out their website below to view events and more information.
Environmental Lessons from Lockdown
After almost three months of stay-at-home policies to help stop the current pandemic, we can look back on how our recent actions affected the environment. Can we learn a lesson from the pandemic? Can we commit to changing our habits? Here are some articles to get us thinking about what changes we can keep in the "new normal." Share with us how you will commit!
Resources For You
See the new list of interesting articles and fun activities that the ELC has compiled to help you become an environmental steward.
Virtual Map
Want to view our campus from the comfort of your home? Go on a virtual tour! View our new interactive map, featuring highlights of our beautiful 64-acre campus.
Landfill Virtual Tour
Did you know that the average American generate around 4.5 pounds of trash per day? Take a tour of the Indian River County Landfill - the highest landmass in the county.
We've Reached Our Goal!
A special thank you to each and every #GivingTuesdayNow donor! We surpassed our goal and raised a total of 63 gifts!

Every dollar counts! Thank you for your support.
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