Every day, ForEverglades Scholarship alumnus Gregory Koch connects a multi-generation of visitors, volunteers, and educators in an effort to expand conservation education.
Koch discovered his passion for communicating science while working on his Ph.D. dissertation at FIU, studying how ecosystem metabolism responds to changing hydrology and phosphorus availability in Taylor River. Now at Zoo Miami Foundation, he serves as the Director of Education and Volunteer Services.
The knowledge he gained as a result of the ForEverglades Scholarship – and from the Everglades research community – directly shapes the zoo’s learning programs and our community’s understanding of the Everglades landscape.
One of Zoo Miami’s educational priorities is to play a central role in telling the story of Everglades wildlife and ecology as well as the critical need for Everglades conservation and restoration. The centerpiece of these efforts is the opening of Florida: Mission Everglades, the zoo’s newest wing of exhibits and experiences focused on the international treasure located in our backyard.
As with Everglades science, collaborative partnerships are vital to the success of Everglades learning within tangled web of Everglades restoration. Through a series of memoranda of understanding and years of extensive engagement, a four-pronged group has formed. FIU, The Everglades Foundation, Everglades National Park and Zoo Miami now work together on both Everglades and general conservation efforts to engage the public and improve science literacy.
“Our partnerships perfectly connect Everglades National Park’s splendor, FIU’s science, and Everglades Foundation’s salience with Zoo Miami’s scale of nearly 1 million annual visitors,” highlights Koch, as he leads groups across a seamless bridge between formal classroom education and informal zoo learning.
This work is the result of a powerful partnership between FIU and the Everglades Foundation. We pride ourselves on pooling our expertise and reach to train undergraduate and graduate students, conduct leading science to inform policy and management decisions, and engage and inform the public to protect and restore America’s Everglades.
Interested in supporting this work? Give today to ForEverglades Fellowship.
Stephany Alvarez-Ventura contributed to this article.