The E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center is heading to 30A to host a night of music, food and fun at Bud & Alley's Waterfront Restaurant and Rooftop Bar Sept. 8.
The event, aptly named Dine for the Pines, will benefit the nonprofit's student programs as well as the preservation of the Longleaf pines that fill Biophilia's 53,000 acres.
Christy Scally, President of the E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center, said area schools are not charged when they visit Biophilia. All funds raised at Dine for the Pines will go directly to operational expenses and educational programs. Students from fourth and seventh grade visit the Center and learn about the natural environment through interpretive exhibits as well as an extensive trail system through natural areas undergoing ecological restoration on the nature preserve.
"The health of our environment is so important for all of us," Scally explained. "The educational programs provide hands-on learning to the students that result in real-world application."
Through four-days of curriculum that coincides with Sunshine State and Common Core Standards, students have a better grasp of knowledge in science.
"Before kids come out here, they create drawings of what they think the local ecosystem looks like," Scally said. "We see things like monkeys and snow caps mountains. After students visit, the post-trip drawings include Longleaf pines and a diversity of the correct wildlife. It's really phenomenal to see the growth of awareness."
Recently Dr. Mike Dentzau, Director of Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center at Columbus State University, presented his findings on the impacts the Biophilia Center has on students. Those findings were the result of a study Dentzau did for his doctorate.
"Opportunities such as those offered by the E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center are essential in providing the hands-on experience that is so important in connecting children with the environment and with the science content," Dentzau told The Sun. "It represents that portion of the STEM initiative that is often missing in formal school programs, and what can be more important for us as a society than to connect our future leaders with environment that sustains us all?"
Programs offered by the Biophilia Center don't just get students out of school for a few days, they're providing education that teachers can build off of.
"When you factor in student interviews that were recorded five months or more after their last visit to the center, it is apparent that this information is durable and long-lasting," Dentzau said.
Supporting the Biophilia Center is more than just funding another non-profit; it plays an integral part in enriching education in surrounding schools. And just as the Center makes learning fun, the staff has been working for the past several months to provide an enjoyable fundraiser complete with music by Mark Harris, hors d’ouevres and taco bar, a short presentation with animals such as birds, turtles and snakes and a silent auction.
More than 25 items will be up for auction including an original painting by Allison Wickey, a two-night stay at WaterColor Inn, a round of golf for four at Camp Creek and jewelry from McCaskill & Company. Head over to Bud & Alley, Dine for the Pines and support the Biophilia Center. Tickets may be purchased in advance at www.dineforthepines.eventbrite.com.
Want to go?
Dine for the Pines will be held Sept. 8 from 5 to 9 p.m. Admission is $20 per person when you purchase online at www.dineforthepines.eventbrite.com, or $25 at the door. Price includes hors d’ouevres, a taco bar and a cash bar. For more information, visit www.eowilsoncenter.org.