For 24 years, the Longboat Key Education Center has satisfied locals’ curiosities on topics ranging from movies to modern Hebrew poetry. And this year will be no different.
The Education Center, which offers roughly 150 courses from October to May, will launch 44 new programs in February, which include lectures, workshops, breakfast discussions and field trips. Among them: three courses that delve into the Sunshine State’s natural wonders.
“Florida has such fascinating histories,” said director Susan Goldfarb. “We try to penetrate the natural sciences to acquaint people with the birds, the flora and the fauna on this island.”
If science doesn’t pique your interest, fear not: The Education Center offers a liberal-arts curriculum, with classes in concentrations such as religion, history, literature and the arts, as well. For a complete course catalogue, visit lbkeducationcenter.org/.
These three courses aim to inform residents about their local environment.
The History of Natural Florida
Jeff Rodgers, director of education at the South Florida Museum, leads this exploration of the Sunshine State’s geological, biological, ecological and anthropological histories.
Land and Sea of Longboat Key
Harriet Gayle, a former interpretive naturalist for the Stamford Museum and Nature Center in Stamford, Conn., teaches this study of native and introduced plants, the mangrove community, coastal geology, shore birds, the Gulf of Mexico and beach creatures.
Let’s Go Birding
Michael Givant, Ph.D., a retired sociology professor who has birded across the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, The Galapagos Islands and Africa, guides this in-the-field course. Students will learn to identify Longboat Key’s birds in their natural habitat. Binoculars and “about a mile of pleasantly paced walking” are requirements for this class.