The Junior Vet Lab is just one of many educational learning labs designed for students to learn about sea turtles and marine conservation. From viewing live sea turtle patients in the center’s hospital to exploring interactive exhibits and aquaria or relaxing in the beautiful butterfly garden, there is something for everyone at LMC.
The organization offers various, weekly educational programs, along with free admission to over 220,000 visitors annually, with many of them being school-aged children. Located in Loggerhead Park, right on the Atlantic Ocean, the center sits adjacent to one of the most prolific sea turtle nesting beaches in the world. LMC’s research team monitors 9.5 miles of beach with over 13,000 sea turtle nests recorded each year. The center’s mission is to promote conservation of Florida’s coastal ecosystems with a special focus on threatened and endangered sea turtles.
LMC provides educational programs for every niche. Whether you would like to visit the center for a field trip, or take advantage of one of the center’s versatile outreach programs, there is something for every focus and level. All curricula adhere to Florida’s current Next Generation Sunshine State Standards for K-12, and college programming is available as well. Field trips take students through the outdoor Turtle Yard, where they will meet our sea turtle patients. Students will also learn the biology, anatomy, and, ecology of these species, as well as ways to help protect these endangered animals. Inside the Exhibit Hall students will learn about the symbiotic coral reef ecosystems and see a replica of the Archelon, the largest sea turtle to ever live.
If you can’t make it to the center for a field trip, there are several educational outreach opportunities, many of which are free and available to teachers across the country. “Turtles to Go” is available to teachers in the South Florida region; this hands-on experiential learning lab takes students on a quest through LMC’s sea turtle hospital. Complete with pre and post lesson plans and a slew of artifacts and replicas, this lab gives students a taste of what it’s like to be a veterinarian.
If geography is stopping you from visiting the center, or having us travel to you, then perhaps a Virtual Field Trip might be the answer. With the use of Skype and a computer or tablet, students will be able to experience the center virtually through the use of technology. Viewers will be able to see the sea turtle patients and hospital facility on their “tour,” as well as learn the importance of ocean conservation. Virtual Field Trips are completely customizable and can focus on anything you like —from sea turtles in the center’s hospital to sea turtle nesting on the beach or an eco-tour in the mangrove lagoon!
LMC offers sea turtle curricula to teachers across the country, free of cost. Whether you are looking for a basic anatomy lesson, an ecology lesson emphasizing the unique coastal ecosystems surrounding the reefs and lagoons, or a more advanced veterinary lesson, the center is happy to work with teachers around the globe to teach students about the marine environment and share their passion for ocean conservation.