Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pinellas teachers invited to see what Nature in the Classroom offers

LARGO — One owned a nursery school in Watertown, Conn. The other is a former science teacher from New Orleans.

Together, Pat Edmond and Peggy Mann are known as the "traveling naturalists" of the Friends of Largo Nature Parks.

Through their program, Nature in the Classroom, the pair aims to fulfill the mission of getting Pinellas County students in touch with Mother Nature.

From 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Edmond and Mann will present "Nature in the Classroom: A Teacher Open House'' at the George C. McGough Nature Park. Pinellas teachers can learn what the outreach program offers.

The Friends of Largo Nature Parks is a group of 15 volunteers who support the city's parks and environmental education. It was started last year when the city discussed closing the nature center at McGough Park because of budget cuts. The nature center is still open, although Largo is considering eliminating some of its programs.

"We formed a group and started working with city leaders, looking at how to improve revenue-vs.-expenditure issues," said Edmond, 64. "While we were at it, we launched what we called the Nature in the Classroom Initiative.''

The program offers teachers and their students a number of choices:

• A wildlife encounter with the nature center's animals, snakes and reptiles.

• A guided nature hike through the schoolyard, identifying plants and animals.

• For older students, an interactive program on watersheds, estuaries and coastal systems.

Edmond, president for the Friends of Largo Nature Parks, has been working with students since she became a Florida master naturalist six years ago.

Mann, a former elementary school science teacher, is the group's secretary. She moved here from Louisiana in 2009.

"You go to other places, and you barely have a park anymore, and you come here to Largo, and the parks are so beautiful and peaceful,'' said Mann, 57.

No matter how lean a family's finances, it's important to keep children engaged with nature and science, Mann said. She hopes her volunteering helps both children and adults recognize the area's natural treasures.

Here are four components of Nature in the Classroom that the naturalists will demonstrate Saturday:

• Using your senses (kindergarten through fifth grade): Naturalists lead students on an exploration of the outdoors, using sight, smell, hearing and touch. Wildlife encounters are guaranteed, along with lessons on ethics, safety, habitats and survival methods.

• Fiddler crab study (K-12): Students will study live fiddler crabs in their mud burrows and in containers that allow close, safe examination. They'll learn about feeding habits, predators, food web position, and the ethics of capture and release.

• Fluid Earth (grades 4-12): Students will learn about watersheds, estuaries and coastal systems. The naturalists will focus on environmental damage and prevention.

• Oceans of trash (K-12): Students will learn about the sources of marine debris and its environmental impact, prevention and cleanup.

Piper Castillo can be reached at


Nature in the Classroom

The Teacher Open House will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday at McGough Nature Center, 11901 146th St. N, Largo. The event is free, but donations will be accepted. For information, call Pat Edmond at (727) 593-1796.

Pinellas teachers invited to see what Nature in the Classroom offers 03/22/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 22, 2011 4:23pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Trump condemns killing of pair who tried to stop racist rant


    President Donald Trump on Monday condemned the fatal stabbing of two good Samaritans trying to help a pair of young women targeted by an anti-Muslim tirade on a Portland, Ore., light rail train.

    Coco Douglas, 8, leaves a handmade sign and rocks she painted at a memorial in Portland, Ore., on Saturday for two bystanders who were stabbed to death Friday while trying to stop a man who was yelling anti-Muslim slurs and acting aggressively toward two young women. From left are Coco's brother, Desmond Douglas; her father, Christopher Douglas; and her stepmother, Angel Sauls. [Associated Press]
  2. What major sporting event could Tampa Bay land next?

    Lightning Strikes

    We are on quite a roll as a community. First, we had a Super Bowl drop from the storm clouds into our lap. It just reaffirms the fact that Tampa Bay is great at lap. And Monday it became official: Next year's NHL All-Star Game will be held at Amalie Arena. The best in the world will be here to shoot and score. And …

    MVP Wayne Gretzky is congratulated at the 1999 NHL All-Star game, the last time the event was in Tampa Bay. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times file]
  3. How the 2018 NHL All-Star Game reflects Jeff Vinik's vision for Tampa

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — There were several reasons the NHL announced Monday that Tampa will host the 2018 All-Star Game on Jan. 28.

    This was the  logo for the 1999 NHL All-Star game played Sunday, Jan 24, 1999 at the Ice Palace in Tampa Bay. (AP Photo)
  4. Photo gallery: Nation pays respects to America's war dead on Memorial Day

    Human Interest

    At Memorial Day ceremonies in Tampa Bay area and around the country, Americans paid tribute to the men and women who gave their lives in service to their country.

    Eight-year-old Piper St. Jean, of Tampa, uses a brush to clean the grave of her grandfather, Henry St. Jean, who served with the United States Air Force during the Korean and Vietnam wars. at Curlew Hills Memory Gardens on Monday moments after the conclusion of their 31st annual Memorial Day Service on Monday (5/23/17) in Palm Harbor. The event featured guest speakers, live choral performances by the Palm Harbor United Methodist Church choir and live music by Bones South, an area trombone ensemble with rhythm section. On Saturday local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops placed flags on veterans???‚??„? graves prior to the event. This is an annual tradition of Curlew Hills' Memorial Day services and helps the Scout troops achieve merit badges. The event is free and the public is invited to attend.
  5. Protest sparks Texas lawmaker threats of gun violence


    AUSTIN, Texas — Hundreds of protesters opposing Texas' tough new anti-"sanctuary cities" law launched a raucous demonstration from the public gallery in the Texas House on Monday, briefly halting work and prompting lawmakers on the floor below to scuffle — and even threaten gun violence — as tense …