An Everglades Champion School encourages teachers to participate in Everglades Literacy professional development, integrates Everglades Literacy into the curriculum, promotes Everglades interdisciplinary projects and field experiences, as well as Everglades community and culture.

It is a call-to-action, designed to incentivize and empower schools to find their Everglades potential by focusing on curriculum, projects, and practices that become a part of their school culture. It will encourage schools to make Everglades conservation a core value of the institution.

If you are interested in the
6-12 Champions in Action or High School Leadership Committee, please email


Champion School?



Learn more about the application process, documentation, and what it takes to become a K-5 Everglades Champion School below: 

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Application Resources

Click on the icons below to navigate the application resources.

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What is a Field Study?

Champion school evaluation criteria -

category ii, indicator C

A field study inquiry question contains at least 2 variables (dependent and independent) that can be tested. The question must also provide the specific parameters of the study. A field study can be an extension of the Everglades Teacher Toolkit, but can't be the same lesson.


An independent variable (cause) is a variable that stands alone and isn’t changed by the other variables you are trying to measure. Usually when you are looking for a relationship between two things, you are trying to find out what makes the dependent variable (effect) change. A dependent variable is the variable being measured in the field study. Inquiry Question: Does the _________ (independent variable) affect the _________ (dependent variable) of the __________ (location/parameters of the study)?


Students attended a Field Trip to learn about food chain in ecosystems and the different animals that inhabit South Florida’s ecosystems. Students participated in an indoor lesson about animal scat. In small groups, students discussed the diets of different animals, identified scat samples, and made edible scat. After the indoor lesson, students hiked through the natural areas looking for animal tracks, with a focus on the hardwood hammock habitat. Students tried to analyze which animal the scat belongs to by considering location, size, and contents. Inquiry Question: How can scat observations (independent variable) determine the animal identification or type of consumer (dependent) living in the hardwood hammock (parameters)?


Students took a field trip to the North Apopka Shore. The SJRW Management team took all of the students and parents on a trip around the north of Lake Apopka and wetlands. They talked about water conservation, land conservation, and how the water was being cleaned. They took several stops for the students to see the water pumping stations and lake cleanup. Then their attention was focused on the plants and animals that use the lake. They also learned about all the new sightings of birds at the North Shore. Students conducted water quality testing of lake before and after the water pumping stations. Then they went back to class and summarized the data from the water samples. Inquiry Question: How does the water pumping station (independent variable) affect the water quality (dependent variable) of Lake Apopka (parameters)?


Students participated in a bird field study. After learning and studying about native birds in the Everglades, students were asked to identify the birds native to the school yard. Classes went outside around the school at different times of the day (front and back, within the sanctuary) to identify the birds within the environment. Students used Audubon of Florida Checklist of Florida Birds to document the birds identified. Students tracked for 1 month every other day at different times throughout the school day. After collecting the data, students compared the native birds found in the school yard to the native birds in the Everglades. Inquiry Question: Does the time of day (independent variable) affect the amount of native birds (dependent variable) found in the school yard (parameters)?


Students took a trip to the Tibet-Butler Preserve and explored the hardwood hammock area of the park. We took water samples from different areas and looked at them under the microscope. We charted what type of animals we found in the different areas. Inquiry Question: Does the location (independent variable) affect the amount of living organisms (dependent) found in the water sample in the hardwood hammock (parameters)?

Not sure if you have a testable inquiry question for your field study or project?

Check out this guide to writing an inquiry-based question provided by Sea Grant, Michigan

Can't get outside? Click here for Odysssey Earth Virtual 360-Degree Videos and Field Observation Datasheets

*If you cannot get outside or be with your students for a field study, these Field Observation Datasheets are a great alternative to use over a digital platform. Follow along with Richard Kern from Odyssey Earth as he explores different habitats of the Everglades using a drone with a 360-degree camera. Click on the website: and explore the 360-degree videos on habitats such as the Cypress Dome, Mangrove Swamp, Sawgrass Prarie, Seagrass Meadow, and more! Use the cursor to scroll up, down, and all around to view the habitats. Each video comes with a field guide and scavenger hunt questions created by Odyssey Earth. Then, use our Field Observation Datasheets to complete a digital field study of the habitats (click on links below). Cypress Dome Field Datasheet Mangrove Fringe Field Datasheet Sawgrass Prairie Field Datasheet Seagrass Meadow Field Datasheet Teacher Guide with Answer Key


Everglades Interdisciplinary Approach

Champion School Evaluation criteria -

category ii, indicator b

project examples

Examples of grade-specific, Everglades-themed Interdisciplinary Projects *Note-Champion Schools are not limited to the projects listed below, they are just examples of ways to integrate Everglades projects across multiple disciplines or subject areas.

What is the purpose of the Everglades Interdisciplinary Approach?

The purpose of the Everglades Interdisciplinary Approach is for educators to integrate Everglades projects across multiple disciplines or subject areas that focus on Everglades conservation or help students build upon and enhance awareness of the Everglades. Learning through projects that are engaging, innovative, relevant, and are shared with an authentic audience beyond classroom walls, promotes student engagement through active learning in a way that their final product and presentation make an impact on the local and/or global community. Students should be able to take concepts learned from the curriculum in the Everglades Literacy Teacher Toolkit and create a work product to “show what they know”. One of the most powerful actions students at this age can take is to assume ownership of what they have learned and effectively communicate it to others.

Everglades Safari - Kindergarten Project Examples

1. Kindergarten students are encouraged to go outside in an outdoor learning space (butterfly garden, school yard, or virtual) and discuss the different plants and animals that they see. They can also take pictures, draw what they observe, and use their senses. What do they hear? Smell? Feel? Discuss with students what an adaptation is, special body parts that help animals survive, and talk about how animals use these special body parts to live in the Everglades. When back in the classroom, or virtual classroom, have students draw pictures of these animals and label their special body parts or adaptations. Students can also use a digital drawing app. Over the next few days, have students use playdough, paper mache, dioramas, or draw pictures of their animals with these special body parts and put them all together in an Everglades showcase. Display student work to other classes, parents, or the rest of the school. - Science Process Skills (observing) - Art/Photography - Technology 2. All classes can work together to create a large Everglades mural at school. Each Kindergarten class is responsible for a habitat of the Everglades, and students in each class have to work together to decide what plants and animals live in that habitat and why. Teachers can help students do research about what colors the animals are, and how this might help with camouflage, as well as the size and shape of the animal and if it lives in water or in the trees. The research may be used to create informative signage for the mural. Students can measure components of their mural such as the size of each plant or animal and compare it to actual size. - Science - Research Skills - Art - Math

Habitat Heroes - First Grade Project Examples

1. First graders can work together to collect trash: candy wrappers and bottle caps, around campus over the course of a few weeks in order to create an Everglades themed art piece. For example- if they collect and weigh recycled green bottles or cans, they can use it to create an American alligator that lives in the Everglades. They can even use more recycled materials to create the alligator hole that the alligator lives in. Teachers are encouraged to take pictures throughout this project, and share with the school and parents through newsletters and social media. Note - It is important to emphasize safety protocols when collecting and handling recycled material/litter. - Art - Science - Technology - Math 2. As an extension to the book If I Had a Wish for Water, students can conduct an investigation to determine how much water a leaky faucet wastes in a day. Students can measure how much water leaks each day and compare that to something they do in their everyday lives: showering, brushing their teeth, etc. Students are then encouraged to create a visual project, write a song or play, etc. about ways they can save water and how saving water protects the Everglades. - Language Arts - Science - Math - Art 3. Habitat restoration: beach, river, lake, forest, or campus cleanup. Students will learn how they can be their own habitat heroes. After learning about how wind can carry trash and plastic into our oceans and Everglades ecosystems, students are encouraged to create a wearable item that is upcycled or repurposed, and present it in an Everglades-focused fashion show. Students are encouraged to include a written awareness message or informative statistic to educate their audience (ex.500 plastic bags = 1 shopper per year). - Science - Engineering - Art

Keystone Species - Second Grade Project Examples

1. What are the keystone species or indicator species of the Everglades? Students can work independently or in groups to research keystone or indicator species of the Everglades. Students are then encouraged to present their findings in a fun and interactive way with the class or another authentic audience. Suggested presenting ideas may include, but not limited to: creating a skit, powerpoints, diorama, comic book, or even a brochure advertising the special skills of a keystone or indicator species. - Science research - Art/Drama - Technology 2. After completing the lesson Everglades Seasons, students can design and build their own alligator hole. Depending on how many days the students have, they can either make a true-to-scale model alligator hole using larger props like in a set design, or create a smaller alligator hole using paper mache and playdough. If possible, they can also use technology such as Minecraft to create an alligator hole habitat online. Then students can use a ruler and other various measuring tools to measure components of the alligator hole, like the length of an adult alligator or the distance between objects. - Science - Art - Math - Technology

Botany and Beyond - Third Grade Project Examples

1. After completing the lessons in third grade and learning about the flora and fauna of the Everglades, this is a great time to start an on-going project about native plants that grow in your area, as well as native plants found in the Everglades. Students can participate in a school or community garden project, where they plant native plants, but as a class they are encouraged to determine if each plant is flowering vs. non-flowering, and do research on the best way to plant and care for it. If the school has any hydroponic or aquaponic systems, students are encouraged to study how the nitrogen cycle influences these engineered systems. Students can brainstorm how they may be able to improve these systems and design and measure their improvements. Students can share what they learned with the school by creating educational signage or in a garden presentation. - Science - Engineering - Technology - Math 2. Similar to the high school lesson Design a Perfect Beast, students will take what they have learned about animals and habitats in the Everglades and design a new animal that is well adapted to live in a specific habitat of the Everglades. Students will have to identify things such as habitat location, size, and physical adaptations of their new animals. Teachers are encouraged to showcase student work with the greater school community. Some examples include: putting together a handbook, making a collage, postcard, flyer, puzzles or trivia games, video, or 3D model of their creation. - Science - Engineering - Technology - Art

Species Survival - Fourth Grade Project Examples

1. As an extension to the 4th grade lesson, Wanted Alive!, students can organize a school-wide event that brings awareness and conservation efforts to the school’s community to help save an endangered or threatened species of the Everglades. They can create promotional videos and posters, 3-D art pieces, poetry books, a school play/screenplays, school newspaper articles, raise money for a specific cause, and even write letters to government officials about how and why we should protect the threatened or endangered species in the Everglades. - Science - Social Studies - Technology - Language Arts/Writing 2. Students can engineer a solution to a human problem or challenge based on biomimicry (imitation of the living) of species of the Everglades. For example, velcro was invented based on observation of the hooks implemented by some plants for the propagation of their seeds via an animal’s coat. Before engaging in the biomimicry challenge, students can explore the natural environment looking for interesting plant and animal adaptations, and conduct careful observations to understand structures and functions of different organisms that may be in their schoolyard, backyard, or a nearby park. Students can share their final project in a nature gallery activity/event at their school. - Science Research - Engineering - Math - Technology - Language Arts/Writing

Wildlife in Trouble - Fifth Grade Project Examples

1. As an extension to the lesson Incredible Shrinking Habitat, students can separate into two groups to take on different stakeholder perspectives of the habitat loss or degradation problem affecting Florida panthers. One group of students will be landowners in the Everglades with livestock and the other will be government officials trying to protect the Florida panther. Students will research key points that can support and rationalize their group’s perspective. Students can conduct a debate or mock trial presenting their case. The trial may be recorded in order to share with the rest of the school. - Science - Social Studies - Technology - Language Arts 2. Students can learn more about the illegal pet trade and the history of how these animal and plant species were introduced to Florida resulting in invasive species affecting the food webs of the Everglades. Students are encouraged to use the information on what they have learned and create posters or advertisements against illegal pets, and what others can do if they see an invasive species. Invasive species may also include plants that are introduced to a region (ex. Brazilian pepper). - Science - Social studies - Art

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First Place Winner

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CONGRATULATIONS 2020-2021 Everglades Champion Schools!

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Gold Level Schools


Galaxy E3 Elementary - Palm Beach County

Gove Elementary - Palm Beach County

Grandview Preparatory School - Palm Beach County

Miami Lakes K-8 Center - Miami-Dade County

Millennia Gardens Elementary - Orange County

North Hialeah Elementary - Miami-Dade County

Ocean Studies Charter School - Monroe County

Pine Jog Elementary - Palm Beach County

Rock Springs Elementary - Orange County

Youth Co-Op Preparatory Charter School -Miami-Dade County

Silver Level Schools

AcadeMir Charter School West - Miami-Dade County

American Heritage School of Boca Delray -Palm Beach County

Bridges Montessori - Martin County

H.L. Johnson Elementary - Palm Beach County

Lake Stevens Elementary - Miami-Dade County

Norman S. Edelcup/Sunny Isles Beach K-8 -Miami-Dade County

Palm Beach Day Academy - Palm Beach County

Sheridan Hills Elementary - Broward County

Sunset Park Elementary - Miami-Dade County

Tildenville Elementary - Orange County

Wesley Chapel Elementary - Pasco County

Wyndham Lakes Elementary - Orange County

Zellwood Elementary - Orange County


Bronze Level Schools

Bright Futures Academy - Palm Beach County

Central Park Elementary - Broward County

Fox Hollow Elementary - Pasco County

Gold Level Schools

Coral Reef Elementary - Miami-Dade County

Gove Elementary - Palm Beach County

Miami Lakes K-8 Center - Miami-Dade County

Millennia Gardens Elementary - Orange County

North Hialeah Elementary - Miami-Dade County

Youth Co-Op Preparatory Charter School -Miami-Dade County

Bronze Level Schools

Bright Futures Academy - Palm Beach County

Central Park Elementary - Broward County

Fox Hollow Elementary - Pasco County

Christina M. Eve Elementary - Miami-Dade County

Forest Hill Elementary - Palm Beach County

Galaxy E3 Elementary - Palm Beach County

H.L. Johnson - Palm Beach County

Riverglades Elementary - Broward County

Rock Springs Elementary - Orange County

Sand Lake Elementary - Orange County

Sweetwater Elementary - Miami-Dade County

Zellwood Elementary - Orange County

Silver Level Schools

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Bronze Level Schools

American Heritage School of Boca/Delray - Palm Beach County

Central Park Elementary - Broward County

J.D. Parker Elementary - Martin County

Palm Beach Day Academy - Palm Beach County

Norman S. Edelcup/Sunny Isles Beach K-8 - Miami-Dade County

Sunset Park Elementary - Miami-Dade County

Wyndham Lakes Elementary - Orange County