Florida Entomology Lab to hold 6-week training class starting Jan. 23

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — For the first time, the Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory, of the University of Florida, will offer a six-week training class on Saturday afternoons from 1:30 to 4:30pm beginning on Jan. 23.

The department has conducted free, field-based educational classes to train volunteers for the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area and now is expanding its efforts to encompass other conservation lands throughout Indian River County.

These classes focus on the human and natural history of the Indian River Lagoon, the ecology of local ecosystems, zoology, ornithology, entomology, and botany.

Classes are taught by Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory researchers and staff, as well as by researchers and managers from the Indian River Mosquito Control District, Florida Atlantic University, and other educational organizations, who will inspire students with their enthusiasm, knowledge, and concern for our natural resources.

Students will gain a broad foundation for a better understanding and future study of these unique natural resources. They will experience oak hammock, scrubby pine flatwoods, sand pine scrub, mangrove forest, submerged seagrass meadows, and some freshwater wetlands.

The ability to walk comfortably on an uneven surface, an interest in our natural resources, and a willingness to share what is learned are the class prerequisites.

The Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory, University of Florida, is a research center devoted to the study of insects of medical importance and is surrounded by the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area, a 440-acre nature preserve located in southern Indian River County on Oslo Road east of U.S. Highway 1.  The Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area was the first conservation land purchased for preservation and public enjoyment by Indian River County for its citizens and visitors.

Since 1998 as part of its efforts to share knowledge with the community, the Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory

Volunteers are asked to share their knowledge with the community at the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area or at another natural area or nature center.  Classroom teachers, home schoolers, Girl Scout and Boy Scout leaders, and other educators are welcome to participate and share their knowledge in their work.

Volunteers at the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area lead nature walks, perform trail maintenance, or work to control invasive pest plants.

Volunteers also gain the opportunity to participate in special educational workshops and guided field trips to other special natural places thought the Treasure Coast region.  Inspiring guest instructors and leading researchers have offered workshops on a variety of topics including wading birds, bobcats, snakes, spiders, ferns, lichens, grass identification, invasive plants, treehole ecology, butterflies, and plant propagation.

Class size is limited so pre-registration is requested.

Contact Janice Broda by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at the Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory at (772) 778-7200 extension 173.

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