Unplug - Discover - Connect
August Greetings from the Executive Director
When the July newsletter went out, my hair was still dyed bright blue from the “Blue Hair for the Blue Planet” campaign. You amazing folks helped us achieve our goal of $100,000 in April/May! Many people were encouraging me to do a patriotic streak in my hair for Fourth of July and I promised to share it if I did, which I did! 
The red was temporary. My blue hair began to fade and I did go un-blue and back to “normal” hair color last week (through no easy process), but will always have a Blue Planet heart. To continue the fun, our good friend Dr. David Cox hopes to help us raise another $10,000 by the end of August and in return he will dye his white beard blue! Please help us achieve this goal!

August is Family Fun Month and we at the Environmental Learning Center are all about that! Despite not being able to be open inside or offer our traditional summer camps, we have gotten creative getting the young and young at heart busily learning and playing outdoors. Our two hour tailored Family Adventures are a big hit, as are the two new themed pontoon tours (“Inlet” and “Survivor”), our engaging and value-packed Nature Near You Kits and our always popular kayak trips. Any of these are available seven days a week, with prior arrangement. 

We are investing in various campus improvements and outreach programs and will keep you posted on those as they progress. Please spend a few moments and participate in the community feedback survey in this newsletter to help guide our plans for your ELC. Be sure to check out our exciting community event, Indian River‘s Got Talent! We are already receiving video submissions. The deadline for the youth division is September 15 and more information on the adult division will be released in October. 

Our multi-faceted Art in Nature initiative is really taking off! We are looking forward to hanging Brian’s wonderful nature photographs printed on metal in our gallery in the next week. We are seeking volunteers to help serve on this committee. 

Please help us spread the word about all the great things happening at the ELC through this challenging time. Forward our newsletter to co-workers, family and friends. Let us know if you can help us post some flyers or rack card displays in community gathering spots or businesses. 

Come enjoy this special 64-acre lagoon island campus. We want you to think of it as an extension of your own backyard! 

Stay safe through this weekend storm. 
In Gratitude,
Barbara Schlitt Ford
Executive Director
NEW Pontoon Boat Tours!
The ELC is now offering two brand new Pontoon Boat Tours! Feathers and Fins is a two and a half hour long tour that is the perfect option for both bird and dolphin lovers.

Our Survivor Spoil Island Splash is an adventurous way to put your skills to the test as we explore how to survive on a deserted island! This tour offers hands-on activities and challenges, including how to find food, build a shelter, desalinate water and build a fire.
Lagoon Island Family Adventures
August is Family Fun Month! Looking for something fun to do this summer with the whole family? Join us for your very own Lagoon Island Family Adventure and create some memories!

Don't take our word for it, check out this review from a recent guest - "Our visit was truly amazing. Everything was hands on and informative. My boys had a blast. We will definitely be planning another adventure soon!"
Indian River's Got Talent is here!
Get Your Act Together— Indian River’s Got Talent is Here
Dust off your tap shoes, tune your guitar and practice your magic tricks— Get your act together, because Indian River's Got Talent has arrived! This new and entertaining event is in the works, and we are now accepting submissions for our youth division.

Submit an up to two-minute video of any talent suitable for public viewing to DiscoverELC.org/IRGT . Cell phone videos are accepted.

“We thought our community could use something fun and positive to focus on and what better way than to share our talents with one another? The youth division will launch our inaugural Indian River’s Got Talent, so that our young folks have something exciting to look forward to. We will have a full blown IRGT adult division coming soon,” Executive Director, Barbara Schlitt Ford of the Environmental Learning Center said, “Step up, be brave, let loose and help us unite the community in a celebration of what makes Indian River truly special. It’s not just the ocean, lagoon, restaurants, venues and activities that make this the best place in the country to live, it is our people , each unique and wonderful, choosing to be connected, embracing life and positivity, supporting one another!”
TLC for the ELC!
Leave your mark and support our campus improvement program to revamp our beloved boardwalks, stairs, hand railings and roofs.

The plank program is the perfect opportunity to:
  • Give a gift to a loved one.
  • Celebrate a special occasion.
  • Honor a person or pet.
  • Commemorate a family vacation or memory.
  • Display your business' commitment to the environment.
  • Support our mission to educate, inspire and empower all people to be active stewards of the environment and their own well-being!
Plank cost is $1,000 before discounts.
Community Feedback Survey
We're giving away a $100 Visa gift card! Enter to win when you complete our 2020 survey and help shape the future of the ELC. Learn more here.
ELC Artist Series Soft Opening
Join us at the ELC for the soft opening of our newest local artist's work! Brian Lapersonerie's mesmerizing nature photography will be on display beginning August 10th.

The lens offers an opportunity for him to frame those precise moments in nature that can never be replicated and turn them into art. Now living in Vero Beach, Brian spends his free time exploring the local shores and parks – seeking out nature’s next big moment.
Dr. Dave's Blue Beard Challenge
Reminder that Dr. Dave has issued a $10,000 fundraising challenge to the community and has vowed to dye his beard BLUE if the goal is reached be the end of the month. Help assure the future of the ELC by making him walk around as a true Bluebeard (the good kind!).
Dr. Dave's goal is to reach $10,000 by the end of August. Please support the ELC and donate below!
‘Species Spotlight’ ELC Flora & Fauna:
Pond Apples
Pond Apple Jam - It is pond apple season in central and southern Florida! This medicinal fruit was used by the Seminole Indians to make a cleaning product and eat the fruit.
Baby Squirrels
What to do with a baby squirrel?

This time of year, baby squirrels often fall from their nests or trees due to storms or predators.

Learn how to ensure their safety by clicking the button below.
Meet the Team
Heather grew up amongst the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and dormant volcanoes of the Pacific Northwest, where she swam in creeks, caught tadpoles and eventually became a synchronized swimmer. Big dreams took her to the East Coast where she received her bachelor’s degree in Filmmaking from New York University, and focused on set design. She loved the creativity that went into designing and building detailed sets, each project requiring new skills and know-how. She worked in theater, fashion and film until Super Storm Sandy wiped out her studio, home and neighborhood in Rockaway Beach, Queens. This life-changing event helped her transition into teaching, taking her enthusiasm for creating immersive experiences into various learning environments. She started a non-profit called Arts in Parts offering free summer camp to kids and began working with local organizations; honing her teaching skills and designing hands-on learning opportunities. She has since worked as an educator and curriculum designer with BEAM Center, the National Park Service, the American Public Garden Association, and many more. She has also written a children’s book called Horseshoe Crab’s Crown. Her love for the outdoors and everything aquatic brought her to Florida and the ELC where she works as a part-time educator, but when she grows up has a plan to be a Weeki Wachee mermaid.
Ocean & Lagoon Water Sports
Want to have some fun in the sun? The ELC has water sports rentals not only on the lagoon, but also on the ocean!

Catch some waves-- Rent a surfboard for a whole day and enjoy life on the water. Adventure out on a stand up paddle board or explore the ocean by kayak.
Stay Calm, Cool and Connected with ELC's Cooling Fandanas
Our new calm, cool and connected fandanas can be used as a face mask for protection! This fandana's tubular shape accommodates a variety of styles and lets you wear as a neck gaiter, headband, face covering and much more!

The fabric is designed to wick moisture and perspiration while cooling your skin. This fandana is washable and reusable. Purchase yours today, only $10! We can mail them directly to your house!
Nature Near You Kits
still available!
Nature Near You is a take-home STEM kit for ages 6-11.
Each kit comes fully equipped with supplies and instructions for 6 hands-on activities and links to exciting instructional videos. 

There is a suggested donation of $15.
If you are not financially able to purchase, please email: HeatherK@DiscoverELC.org.
EcoStep - Reusable Water Bottles
Do you use a reusable water bottle? Show us! Each month we will highlight an EcoStep that the ELC community will do. Show your commitment and encourage others by sharing your picture on our social media. Learn more here.
Guided Kayak Tours
Go exploring on a Guided Kayak Tour! Adventure out onto the Indian River Lagoon, while our Environmental Educator provides information about the most bio-diverse estuary in North America. 
Tours are offered most days. Private kayak tours are also available. Email  Angie@DiscoverELC.org  or call (772) 589-5050 ext. 104 to set up a tour. 
Lagoon Academy Home School Program
Please take our brief 3 minute survey and enter to win one free month of a Lagoon Academy program!

The ELC considers the health and safety of our participants and staff a top priority, so we are adapting and changing with the times. We want to ensure that our programs fit the needs of our homeschool community during this time of uncertainty and your input is greatly appreciated!  
Looking Back at Last Month
Our GreenTeens have been hard at work in the month of July, building an imagination hut based off of the Seminole Chickee hut found in Southern Florida.

The teens were taught proper shop safety as they used measuring tapes, chop saws, & power drills. They were involved in the marking, measuring and laying out in order to expand their abilities while building. The GreenTeens next focus is going to be a music station in the playscape, and they will continue training through August!
See Through Canoes
The Environmental Learning Center has transformed their selection of watersports offerings over the past year with the addition of See Through Canoes. With sev eral canoes that were lovingly needing to be retired, the ELC wanted to replace them with something even more fun. Through the generous donation of Ann Tharpe, the ELC was able to purchase six See Through Canoes as well as 8 adult and 6 youth personal floatation devices to be used with canoes. Ann also donated the money to purchase two Bimini tops to protect paddlers from the sun. 
Since adding the unique, clear canoes to our lineup of offerings, the ELC has attracted visitors with over 164 rentals logged to date. More than 300 adults and children have explored the wonderfully diverse Indian River Lagoon, increasing awareness of our irreplaceable environment. Through these canoes, we will continue to educate, inspire and empower all people to be active stewards of the environment and their own well-being. With free exploration of the lagoon, guests can see the water and creatures right beneath them, making this experience one that they will not forget. Through our canoe tours, guests are able to receive a guided experience by an Environmental Educator, giving them the knowledge they need to share with others about this special place we call home. We truly appreciate Ann’s generosity and giving heart!
A special thanks to our volunteers for making the Nature Near You Kits possible. With each kit requiring over 20 hours of folding, sorting, & packing, these volunteers made all of our Nature Near You Kit dreams come true!
Especially Maia and Samantha, who were there for the assembly of every single one. They showed up early, left late, and were always wearing a smile.
The ELC is in search of GreenTeen! or adult volunteers to join us and improve our campus! Are you looking for something rewarding to do? We have plenty of campus improvement projects that will require the ability to use tools.

In addition to the campus improvement projects, we are also looking for volunteers to distribute flyers and rack cards, lead a book club, make phone calls and participate in landscape maintenance. Join our team and email Nancy@DiscoverELC.org to learn more.
Recycle Your Empty Ink Cartridges at the ELC
Drop off your empty ink cartridges at the ELC entry pavilion and we will make sure they get recycled instead of ending up in a landfill! We have partnered with the Recycling Club on this project to help make the world a better place, one step at a time!
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