May Newsletter
Campus Reopening May 4
In an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the ELC is following the recommendations of Florida's Phase 1 outline, the CDC and our local Health Department. Our outdoor campus is reopening on Monday, May 4. All visitors are recommended to wear a mask and practice social distancing while on campus.

Admission to the ELC will be free! Please enjoy our beautiful campus and the many benefits of nature. Donations are greatly appreciated!
May Greetings from the Executive Director
April was certainly a month that we won’t soon forget! I think we all are about ready for May and hoping it will usher in some semblance of normalcy. We responded to the challenge by working remotely for the most part and revamping our messaging platform to a primarily virtual one. Please check out the amazing content on our website Click HERE to view . We will continue this additional innovative method of outreach going forward. We are discussing plans for a safe and gradual re-opening and will keep you posted on summer plans at the ELC. We miss everyone and are eager to have you back on campus, but we are sure you will agree that the health and safety of our visitors, staff and volunteers is of primary importance. We have all recently learned a bit more through this unusual time about what we are willing to give up to protect human life and I think it’s safe to say that we hold human life in very high regard. In fact, we’ve all had an opportunity to take a bit of a step back from the hustle and bustle of everyday life to clarify and focus on what we hold most dear, the health and happiness of our loved ones and community members.

Our local and seasonal residents stepped up in their usual unfailing manner to support those in need, both individuals and our businesses who face financial setbacks from the Covid-19 closures. People have given and continue to give in whatever way they can: with the gifts of time and compassion as well as monetarily. So many of you have responded with financial contributions for the ELC and your investment in us has truly touched our hearts. I issued a challenge to raise $100,000 in the month of April and in exchange I would dye my hair bright blue! We are more than halfway to our goal with over $55,000 raised! Such tremendous generosity deserves a compromise, so I have decided to extend the challenge through May and if we reach our $100,000 goal by a Memorial Day I will still dye my hair bright blue! (I’m really looking forward to having blue hair actually, so please do what you are able to bring this outward show of my appreciation to fruition). Our nature immersion and conservation mission is more relevant than ever as we experience first-hand the interconnectedness of living things and the environment. Thank you for your unfailing commitment to the ELC.

We did receive word this week that we received the PPP loan and we are very relieved. Thank you Marine Bank ! This will help tremendously. We still have a ways to go to make up for the lost income but I know that together we will achieve our goal.

We sadly lost a few truly great ELC family members this month. Alma Lee Loy was a treasure for our community her entire life. Her positive impact on IRC will be felt for generations to come. I was honored to know her for 50 years and she has been a role model to me as long as I can remember. Always a champion of the environment and a protector of our natural resources, Alma Lee was an integral part of the creation of the Environmental Learning Center. We will miss her in so many ways. She was a true class act and a wonderful example of a humble life meaningfully lived. We lost another dear friend to the ELC with the passing of Bob McCabe. Bob and Ellie have been staunch supporters of the ELC for decades, with Bob serving on the ELC Foundation Board as Treasurer until his passing. His wit and charm will most definitely live on in our hearts and memories. Thank you Bob for your devotion to the cause. Your life has made a true difference for so many. We are brainstorming ways to memorialize these pillars of our community here on our beautiful 64 acre lagoon island campus.

In addition, one of our beloved educators is moving on in a happy way with her new husband to the Maryland area for his new job. We will miss Nicole Lemmo-Saini, her passion, intelligence, creativity, tenacity and work ethic. We know we will stay in touch, for she is a part of our family now! We can’t wait to see all her wonderful contributions to the conservation movement!

As human beings we have responded to this challenge with love and grace. Our ecosystems have responded with the resilience we suspected. It is time to re-commit to behaviors that reflect our values. The health of our ecosystems has improved in the past few months. We have all seen stories about this in the media. The concrete and measurable improvements are not yet determined but it renews our hope for the health of our precious life-giving natural world.

As I’m writing this, I’m sitting on the beach and the soothing waves just keep coming, a constant presence in our world . Click HERE to view the ocean waves. It is always so reassuring to me to connect in this way to the elements. When we are in need of a recharge or perspective shift, we can plug in and connect to the enduring strength that is all around us. I feel a connection to each of you as well. I look forward to working with you to take our ELC to the next level and enjoying it together for decades to come.

The sun will rise tomorrow and so will you. Click HERE to view sunrise and sunset video. We will each have a choice as to how to spend our day. Cheers to you for choosing to make a difference!
Yours in Service,
Barbara Schlitt Ford
Executive Director
#GivingTuesdayNow is a global day of giving and unity that will take place on May 5, 2020 as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19. At a time when we are all experiencing the pandemic, generosity is what brings people together. On May 5, we ask that you give back!
Ambassadors Achieving Goals
Two of our ELC employees have become micro-campaign ambassadors!

They have raised nearly $750 in less than 48 hours combined by creating fundraisers on Facebook!

Become an ELC ambassador to raise money for our mission by clicking the button below!
May: Celebrating Mothers & Mother Earth
On May 10th we celebrate Mother’s Day, a time to give thanks to those who gave us life. To honor the mother we all share, the ELC is dedicating the month of May to Mother Nature! Throughout this difficult time of uncertainty we can find comfort in the reliability and resilience of our common sustenance. The bloom of spring reminds of us of our cyclical nature, and images of revitalized environments throughout the world exhibit for us the power of our planet to heal itself. This is an opportunity for us to reflect and realize how we can protect and restore our source of life.
Free Virtual Workshops
To celebrate all mothers we are offering Free Virtual Workshops in May!
Join us for our MAY virtual workshops to learn something new, create something great or relax in nature.
  • Earth Issues - May 4 & 11 - 11 a.m. -12 p.m. Analyze the issues and solutions.
  • Tiny Living - May 9 - 11 a.m. - 12 p.m. Tiny Living tips and tricks.
  • Media Making - May 13 & 20 - 11 a.m. - 12 p.m. Create & edit nature videos.
  • Forest Therapy - May 25 - 11 a.m. - 12 p.m. Meditative nature walk.
Remembering the Lives of Alma Lee Loy and Bob McCabe
Alma Lee Loy
June 10, 1929 - April 10, 2020
Alma Lee’s integrity and generosity served as model for the people in our community. She was passionate about the betterment of Indian River County, and her words of wisdom made a huge impact on the members of our community. The lives of everyone in Indian River County are touched in some way because of her years of involvement.

Not only was Alma Lee a community leader and business woman, with a passion for civic engagement, she was also a founding member of the Environmental Learning Center. Alma Lee left behind a legacy of achievements in our Vero Beach community that will be remembered.

Bob McCabe
April 15, 1939 - April 21, 2020
Considered by many as the world’s best people chemist, Bob found joy in making people smile. For over 35 years, Bob and his beloved wife, Ellie filled their lives with family, friends and philanthropy in our community. Many turned to Bob as a mentor in search of wisdom about life and business, and he never hesitated to help.

Bob was not only a mentor, he was also a director of the Environmental Learning Center Foundation and a supporter of the ELC. He will be dearly missed by the community, his loved ones and the ELC team.
Partner Clean Up!
Save the date for our partner clean up with Coastal Connections on Saturday, May 16 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at Riverside Park in Vero Beach! Volunteers will help clean up the Indian River Lagoon side which has accumulated a lot of trash debris. For more information contact Please follow Coastal Connections and the Environmental Learning Center on Facebook to stay updated with event details.
Get a Close-up View of Lagoon Habitats:
New Window Wraps!
We can't wait for you to check out our new window wraps at the Discovery Station! Our wraps will make you feel like you are stepping into sea grass and mangrove habitats, and swimming alongside Puff, the pufferfish in our aquarium!

A special thank you to Joan and Bob Peirce for donating the cost to purchase the window wraps and Image360 of Vero Beach for creating and installing them.
Education Programs
Be sure to follow our social media pages @DiscoverELC to never miss an activity, fun fact or full virtual lesson!

Click the button below to learn more about our Educational Programs, including Summer Camps, GreenTeen! Volunteers and more!
Still Employed and Don't Need Your Stimulus Check?
Think About Paying it Forward.
As part of the $2 trillion COVID-19 relief package, many individuals have already or will soon receive checks from the U.S. government.  Today, consider where your money can make an impact and donate all or a portion of your check if you are financially able. Help us stay afloat!
Annual Report
Knowing where we've been so we can map our direction and build off of our successes! Check out our 2018-2019 Annual Report. This report highlights our accomplishments in the past year and our vision for the future.
Case for Support
Please consider giving your time, attention and guidance on our new Case for Support.

Because everyone deserves a healthy planet.
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.
A Message from the IRC School District
At the May 12, 2020 Board of County Commissioners meeting beginning at 9:00 a.m., the School District of Indian River County will be presenting a resolution for the continuation of our millage. At this time, we will be requesting that the Board of County Commissioners approve the millage to be placed on the ballot to be voted on during the August 18, 2020 Primary Election. In order to effectively budget and prepare for the upcoming school year, it is vital that this millage be presented to the voters during the Primary Election. This would allow us to appropriately plan for the upcoming sch ool year to maximize resources, as well as engage in long-term, strategic planning in a meaningful and effective way.

"Pushing the date back to May 12, 2020 will allow us the opportunity for gathering additional community support related to the item.
Please share this information with others with whom you have contacted with regard to the millage." David K. Moore, Superintendent.
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