September Newsletter




 Click here for the September Printable Summary

Consider the ELC an extension of your own backyard.

Our mission is to educate, inspire and empower all people to be active stewards of the environment and their own well-being.

Donate Now to Support our Mission

We are open 7 days a week!

*We will be closed Monday 9/5 for *Labor Day*

Monday - Friday: 8 AM to 5 PM

Saturday & Sunday: 8 AM to 4 PM

The ELC is a smoke free and pet free campus. All visitors including members should visit the Barrows Welcome Center to check in.

Members Free

Adults (ages 12 & up) - $7

Children (ages 2-11) - $5

Children under 2 - Free

Here to serve!

Many thanks to Sunrise Rotary and club president Martin Lewis for our amazing new Little Library! Bring books, take books, find a spot on campus to read books. All ages. 

Greetings from the Executive Director

Welcome to September! We have lots of great upcoming activities for all ages: 

Youth  - Little Wonders nature play dates for the youngest, Lagoon Academy for homeschoolers, kid's guided painting, mud kitchen, new Little Free Library, Exploration Station, and Y-ELC (Youth Environmental Leaders Corp) for our teens 

Adult  - Master Naturalist classes, Eco-Action Society, art galleries/cocktail events, nature journaling, guided walks, book study, meditation, qigong, yoga and Pilates, native plant nursery

Family - Sunday FunDays, Wild about Wellness, kayak/pontoon adventures and volunteering opportunities for the whole family, an amazing book and gift selection in our Nature Nook Eco-Boutique 

We hope you visit your ELC soon and often to Unplug, Discover and Connect! Check out the new critters in our aquaria and touch tank, try out the final phase of our interior boardwalk (completion in early September), and take walks around our pond on our Sustainability Walk and trails. 

Thank you for your generous and ongoing support so that we can continue to bring diverse and meaningful programming to our community. We are all about connecting people to the natural world and learning how to be better friends to our planet. 

Yours in service, 

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The Boardwalk Project

Almost Finished! 

The interior campus ramp replacement project is estimated to be complete by September 9th.

During the renovation, we will not be able to accommodate wheelchairs or strollers on this part of campus. The Discovery Station and the Lagoon Room will be open but only accessible using the stairs.  

Many thanks to the Ward Family Fund, Tarik and Tricia Kawi, John Lowenberg and many others for your investment in this important project. 

Purchase Your Plank

Kids Palm Art

For a $25 donation you can own one of these unique palm boot art pieces created by kids who attended our Summer Camp. Proceeds go to support our scholarship fund.

Join ELC for Free Admission   

Thank you to all of our loyal members. We love seeing the renewals and meeting people who are new to the ELC. Our membership offers free year-round admission, access to member events, discounts, and privileges – all while supporting our mission. Individual memberships are only $35.00 and a family can join for $50.00. Take a look at the different options and choose the one that fits you best. Call or come by and we will help you sign up or join online by clicking the link below.  

Online Membership Purchase 

Things To Do

Pontoon Tours

Sit back and relax as you glide over seagrass beds and search for wildlife on the Indian River Lagoon. Our naturalist guide provides the perfect amount of educational commentary for you to learn more about this unique environment.

Learn More

Kayak & Canoe Rentals

We offer a wide range of activities on the water, so you can experience the natural beauty and tranquility that comes from time spent on the Indian River Lagoon. Come explore the waters and mangrove forests around our lagoon island campus. 

Learn More

Signup for one of our Guided Kayak Tours 

We have a Morning Kayak Tour scheduled every Sunday in September. 

ELC also has two Sunrise and Sunset Tours scheduled.

Sunrise Tour-Sunday, September 25th - Meet @ 6:15am

Sunset Tour-Friday, October 28th - Meet @5:00pm

Sunrise Tour: Saturday, November 26th - Meet @ 6:00am

Sunset Tour/Full Moon Kayaking - Wednesday, December 7th - Meet @ 4:45pm

Sign Up for a Kayak Tour

ELC Edible Plant Walk

The ELC members-only Walk on Wednesday will start the season on October 26th with a field trip through the beautiful campus of the Environmental Learning Center. Our 64-acre property is a great example of successful habitat restoration where we will draw connections between mangrove forests, salt marsh, and coastal hammocks with a focus on edible native plants. Please bring water and proper sun protection. The walk starts at the picnic tables under the Discovery Station at 8:00 am. 

Seagrass Restoration Project at the ELC

The Environmental Learning Center has started work on a seagrass restoration project. The ELC was awarded a grant through the Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program to build an educational, pilot seagrass nursery with the help of Sea & Shoreline, an aquatic restoration firm. During the last few days of July, ELC Facilities Manager Ray Weatherdon, ELC Senior Educator Sara Piotter, and a team of ELC interns worked alongside the Sea & Shoreline crew to install two, eight-foot by two-foot fiberglass seagrass tanks adjacent to the ELC’s Gazebo/Greenhouse area. After the installation, the tanks were filled with a sandy substrate and brackish water. In mid-August, the ELC received starter plugs of Shoal grass (Halodule wrightii) to install and monitor the growth. Once mature, these grasses will be fabricated into planting units and utilized in restoration projects within the Indian River Lagoon to help increase biodiversity, water quality, and the overall health and beauty of the Indian River Lagoon. The public is encouraged to learn more about this project by contacting Sara Piotter at

 To volunteer for the data collection and monitoring, contact Volunteer Coordinator Nancy Puglio at

Paid Highschool Internship Opportunities at the ELC

The Environmental Learning Center (ELC) is seeking motivated interns with multi-disciplinary interests to learn and explore careers leading to a more sustainable future through working with staff and volunteers in teaching camps for children, designing interpretive guest experiences, marketing and communicating our organization’s activities to the public, maintaining the large display public aquaria and touch tank, assisting in general guest services, conducting ecological field research, and receiving mentoring from our nature center staff in all manner of operations. The start date is flexible and applicant should plan to be available October 2022 through May 2023. Work schedule varies but generally consists of two, 2-hour days each week for a total of 20 hours per month. Head to the application link to complete yours today!

Contact Sara Piotter, ELC Senior Environmental Educator, with questions: or 772-589-5050. 

Apply Here

Sponsors are vital to the ELC as we put events and programs together. There is nothing better than a shared experience to promote your business, product, service, or cause. The perfect place to have that shared experience is here at the ELC. The Environmental Learning Center has a full menu of opportunities starting in September. 

View Flyers

ELC Art Season 2022-2023 

The Indian River Bird and Nature Art Show to benefit Pelican Island Conservation Society opens in October and the Artist Meet and Greet is on October 7th. This show supports the Pelican Island Wildlife Refuge and will be in the Lagoon Room and Tidal Gallery. There will be a Plein Air Paintout Saturday, October 1st from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM. To apply for the show, contact Deb Avery by email, at


September Art in the Tidal Gallery at the ELC

The ELC currently has a show in the Tidal Gallery featuring artists who support the Maggy Bowman Scholarship Fund. Their nature-inspired artwork has been donated to the ELC and the sales proceeds will provide assistance for students who have a financial need and allow them to attend educational programs and summer camps. Come see this show during the month of September and choose a piece of artwork for your home or office.

September Art

The ELC's will be hosting "It's The Little Things" a 12" by 12" Art Show. See the guidelines and the application on the ELC website with the button below.

"It's The Little Things" Art Show

January and February will have a Nature Series Exhibit and the Spring Fling show is March, April and May. Each show will have an Artist Meet and Greet reception. 

Florida Master Naturalist Coastal Program at the ELC


 The Environmental Learning Center is the site for an in-person, Florida Master Naturalist Coastal module starting Saturday, September 17th. The Florida Master Naturalist Program (FMNP) is an adult education program developed by the University of Florida. The course is for everyone interested in learning more about Florida’s environment, seeking educational contact hours, or wishing to increase knowledge for education programs as volunteers, employees, and ecotourism guides. 


The ELC’s Florida Master Naturalist class will take an educational pontoon boat tour on the Indian River Lagoon and do seining and benthic ecology as well as snorkel and explore at the Sebastian Inlet. The Lead Instructor will be Sara Piotter and Associate Instructor will be Jennifer Satterly. This class is very popular and fills up fast so now is the time to sign up. Click on the link to see the dates and course topics covered. See the weekly class schedule and sign up at the UF/IFAS website. 

Florida Master Naturalist Website


Walking Meditation in the ELC Butterfly Garden with Elise is the 4th Sunday of the month; the next class is on September 25th at 11:00 AM.

Sign Up Here

Dr. Katie Nall's Qigong classes begin October 4th at 6 PM. 

Sign Up Here

Friday Yoga sessions with Annie resume on October 7th. the classes are at 1:00 PM.

Sign Up Here



Pilates begins at ELC on October 25th with Janice Broda.

Build a better back, strengthen your core and improve your agility with Pilates.

The offering is for a five-class series. No individual classes or refunds.

Classes are Tuesdays October 25th , November 1st, 8th, 15th and 22nd, 3:30 - 4:30p. 

Sign Up Here

We are ready to go out again with the International Coastal Cleanup on September 17th at Golden Sands Beach from 9:00 - 11:00 AM.  To participate, please reach out to ELC Volunteer Coordinator,

Nancy Puglio, 

Fall Education Opportunities 

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Lagoon Academy

Homeschool Program


September enrollment is complete, waitlist opportunities are available on the website.

Book now for October.

Join us as we investigate the amazing creatures of the Indian River Lagoon. Students will investigate the behavior of birds, the adaptations of fish, the importance of sharks, and the animals living in the mud and oyster beds. Students will explore our 64 acre campus, get waist-deep in the water collecting sea creatures, and lots of learning through games and art activities.



10/4, 10/11, 10/18, 10/25

10 AM - 12 PM



10/5, 10/12, 10/19, 10/26

10 AM - 12 PM

$60 for 1 month

Members 10% off

Learn More

Little Wonders

A nature enrichment and early literacy program for children 18 months to 4 years old and their caretakers featuring interactive story time, nature, arts, crafts, and so much more!



$10 Non-Member | $9 Member

9 - 10 AM or 11 AM - 12 PM



Sponsored by Sunrise Rotary Club

Free to Participate

9 - 10 AM or 11 AM - 12 PM

Future Dates & Monthly Themes

September 21st and 24th

Flying and Butterflies

Learn More

     Sunday Family FunDays 

Sundays are a great day to bring your family to the ELC. Beginning September 4th, we will offer a "Sunday Family FunDay" program from 1:30-2:30 PM. There will be crafts, art and book explorations. All the activities will have a nature theme and this is FREE for members or with a paid admission. This new program is great for K-5 and should be a fun experience for adults as well. 


Venue Rentals

Book a Venue

Get together here at the ELC. Think of the Environmental Learning Center for any group gathering. Click the Learn More button below and let us know how we can help you plan a birthday party, holiday celebration, family reunion or corporate event.  

Learn More

Mark your calendar for Saturday, October 22nd, 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM when the ELC and the School District of IRC bring together all ages for Wild About Wellness. Meet the partners who support mental, physical and emotional health at the school district. Learn about the benefits of nature on your health and well-being with presentations on Forest Therapy, Health and Nature Immersion and Benefits of Volunteering. Our wellness instructors will have short classes and demonstrations.  

More Information

Make Plans for these Events and Classes  

Nature Journaling 

Join Majorie Shropshire at ELC for a FREE Nature Journaling session on Tuesday, September 6th at 10:00 AM.  This workshop will explore the benefits of nature journaling and the ELC campus. You will learn some of the techniques to jumpstart an engagement with "the little things that run the world" and discover joy in small details.  

Sign Up Here 

Painting Workshops

9/24 11:00 -12:00 Kids Workshop

10/8 10:30 - 12:30 Adult Workshop

Join us for a great morning of painting, outside and surrounded by nature. There is no experience necessary to paint this 12” x 12” design. We supply all the materials and walk you through the painting process, step-by-step. Feel free to bring your own refreshments. Come and enjoy yourself and take home your own masterpiece.

Kids Workshop Info:

Click Here

Adult Workshop Info:

Click Here

The Effects of Nature on Your Health and Wellness 

Learn more about this topic at the first Eco-Action Society meeting this season on September 15th. The Eco-Action Society aims to encourage local residents to commit to learning about environmental issues facing our planet and to make an earnest effort to model earth-friendly behavior within their spheres of influence. On October 20th, our guest speaker is Alexis Peralta and we will learn about storm water and view the documentary The Hidden Rivers of Florida. Then on November 17th, we will join up with the Native Plant Society here at ELC to hear Marc Speiss talk about Connecting Florida With Native Plants and the Florida Wildlife Corridor.   Meetings are the third Thursday of the month from 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM September-May. 

Sign Up for the upcoming meetings.

Sign Up

Eagle Riders Poker Run for the ELC

The Fraternal Order of Eagles of Sebastian group known as the Eagle Riders have chosen ELC as the beneficiary of a grant and a motorcycle poker run planned for October 15th. The Fraternal Order of Eagles has a rich history of giving and we are fortunate that they have chosen us!

For those who ride, kickstands up time will be 10:00 AM from the Sebastian Eagles Aerie located at 9606 Trade Center Drive in Sebastian. Riders can come earlier for coffee and pastries. The poker run will include stops in other local Eagles Aeries as well as the ELC and will end at the Sebastian Aerie. There will be a pulled pork dinner available for $5, the proceeds of which will also to benefit ELC.

A Land Remembered Book Study Group

Join us in January and Februaryas we take a deeper dive into this book that takes place before modern conveniences where a young family struggles to survive in the unruly, unforgiving wilderness of Florida in the mid-19th century. Each week we will explore another area that somehow pertains to the book or the time of the book. 

Learn More

Save these dates for upcoming events:

Enchanted Lantern Chase

October 29th, 2022

WinterGreen Night Lights

December, 1-3 & 8-10, 2022

A Land Remembered Book Club

January 8th, 2023

Mangroves & Moonlight Annual Gala

January 28, 2023


April 1, 2023

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Volunteer Corner

Become a Volunteer

Become a volunteer at the ELC! Do what you love, while making a difference in our community. You'll meet a social circle of volunteers and enjoy volunteer appreciation events! Our volunteer coordinator, Nancy Puglio, will make sure that you get to do what you love and have fun in the process! 

Some volunteer opportunities include:

  • Assisting with education programs 
  • Greeting visitors
  • Maintaining our campus (gardening)
  • Serving as docents 
  • Helping with special events and family festivals
  • Canoeing and boating
  • Photography
  • Communications
  • Fundraising

Volunteer News

Thank you to our dedicated group of ELC Volunteers! We could not continue to offer such amazing things without all of your help!

Please contact Nancy Puglio, Volunteer Coordinator, at or 772-589-5050 x107 if you have any questions or you would like to volunteer.

Concierge Volunteers are needed to back up the staff Greeter most any day of the week. Most volunteers help for 2-3 hours but any time you can offer would be appreciated (answering phones, welcoming guests, program sign-ups). Staff Greeters have other responsibilities and the help provides them the time to focus on other tasks. We have orientation coming up September 8th. Let Nancy know if you can join us. 

On Wednesday, September 17th and Saturday, September 24th from 9:00-11:00 AM, we will have a paddling class for volunteers. We have several events coming up where we will need Canoe Paddling Volunteers.  

We will be hosting three IRC School District Family Fun Day events in the fall. The dates are Saturday, September 10th, Saturday, October 1st, and Saturday, November 5th. These events are for 10 AM - 2 PM. ELC will need twenty volunteers to help with Touch Tank, Parking, Welcome Center, Crafts, information volunteers, membership volunteers and canoe volunteers. If you haven’t already please let Nancy know if you can help at or 772-589-5050 x107.

ELC would like to have a table at the Downtown Fridays on 14th Avenue in Vero Beach on the last Friday on the month from 5-9pm. We will try to do two shifts 5-7pm and 7-9pm. It is a great way to spread the word about all the programs and excursions ELC has to offer. We would like to be there starting Friday, 10/28 and 11/25, 12/30, 1/27, 2/24, 3/31 and 4/28. Please let me know if you can help

·        We will have a Volunteer Orientation Thursday, 9/8 at 4pm. It will last approximately ½ hr. It is a great opportunity to learn about the many areas to volunteer and some ELC history, information about the organization and logistics. Please let me know at or 772-589-5050x107 if you plan to attend. Feel free to share the information with anyone you think might be interested.

·        There will be three Saturdays in the coming months when IRC elementary schools will visit ELC. They will do crafts, pond dip netting, Touch Tank etc. The first one is 9/10 10-2pm. Please let me know if you’d like to help. Other upcoming dates are 10/1 and 11/5. In addition schools will be coming for a Wild about Wellness program at ELC 10/22 10-1pm.

·        We are participating in a cleanup at Golden Sands Beach, Sat., 9/17 9-11am. Please let me know if you’d like to attend.

·        There will be a paddling class for upcoming canoe needs Sat., 9/24 9-11am. ELC staff Marc Spiess will be leading it. He is a wonderful teacher. Please let me know if you plan to attend and wear closed toe/heel shoes that can bet wet. Water, sunscreen, hat and sunglasses are suggested.

·        We will have a Touch Tank training early September. It is an hour long session to be able to help at the Touch Tank. The training and shadowing a current Touch Tank volunteer is required to help. Please let me know if you’d like to be notified when the training is.

Upcoming in October…

·        Dyer Automotive Group will have their family picnic here on Sunday, 10/16 10-2pm. There will be 80-100 people in attendance. We will need volunteers to help with pond dip netting, Touch Tank, giant bubbles, crafts and 4 short 45 minute pontoon trips. Please let me know if you can help

THANK YOU!!! We can’t so what we do without YOU!

We are often asked for volunteer hours when submitting applications for grants. Please submit your volunteer hours at the following link:

Volunteer Hour Submission Form

Thank you to our Annual Sponsors and Partners!

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Children's Services Advisory Committee

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