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Riversprings Students Participate in LIFE
(Living in Florida's Environment) Program


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Science students at Riversprings Middle School are learning hands-on about what it means to live in Florida's environment.  Riversprings Middle School, IFAS, Wakulla Springs State Park, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Florida State University have partnered to help students learn about our environment and the ways we can work to protect it.

Riversprings received a Learn and Serve grant this past fall that is allowing their students to participate in the LIFE program.  Several Riversprings teachers were involved in the actual writing of the grant as well.  

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Sixth, seventh and eighth grade science students at Riversprings are all involved in the LIFE program.  The program activities are designed to compliment the science curriculum at each grade level.  The sixth grade curriculum is geared towards biology, seventh grade curriculum is focused more on physical science, and the eighth grade curriculum is more earth science oriented.  

The program consists of a series of field trips where students are exposed to actual hands-on experiments to help them better understand the environment that surrounds them.  The sixth grade field trips have taken them to Wakulla Springs where they conducted experiments in bird watching, measuring trees, and macroinvertebrate sampling.

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The seventh graders also visited Wakulla Springs where they participated in water testing experiments.   The eighth graders will visit the Leon Sinks where they will be looking at sink holes and how they tie into the entire water system as a whole.

One very unique aspect of this project is student mentoring.  The sixth graders have a group of seventh grade mentors who assist them as they conduct their experiments, and the seventh graders are assisted by a select group of eighth graders as they conduct theirs.  These mentors  were chosen for their leadership and guidance abilities.   The mentors receive training in the areas they will be assisting in prior to actually going on the field trips with their younger charges.

Another interesting aspect of this project are the adult volunteers who assist the students in their experiments.  Many of these volunteers are retirees and members of the Friends of Wakulla Springs who want the students to learn about their fragile environment and how they can protect and preserve it for future generations.

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