News Releases

FWC discusses Youth Conservation Centers June 22

News Release

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Media contact: Patricia Behnke, 850-251-2130

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will meet June 22 in Lake Mary near Orlando for a briefing and discussion on the Florida Youth Conservation Centers Network Initiative (FYCCN). The session will begin at 2 p.m. and is open to the public.

With new studies pointing to more and more of a disconnect between youths and nature, the FYCCN developed goals to create destinations that provide opportunities for youths to get outside. The FWC, along with the Wildlife Foundation of Florida, Inc., proposes to form private-public partnerships to foster Florida's youths to become the next generation of conservation stewards. There are several outdoor youth centers in Florida that will provide the basic foundation from which the FYCCN will grow and prepare to open other centers around the state.

Brett Boston, executive director of the Wildlife Foundation of Florida, Inc., will update the Commission on the progress of the centers that are in various stages of development. Most of the existing centers include fishing spots, archery, shotgun and small rifle ranges, and provide wildlife viewing opportunities and boating activities, such as kayaking and canoeing. Boston's presentation will include plans for other potential elements, such as hiking trails, fields for games and tournaments, a pool, and horseback and mountain biking areas, depending on the topography of each location.

He will present architectural plans that incorporate a campus-style design with classrooms, hands-on habitat restoration work, wet labs, greenhouses and butterfly gardens.

"This is an opportunity for the commissioners to enter into a discussion on the future of these innovative youth centers," Boston said. "They will be giving us direction on the next steps, and they will be listening to what the public has to say as well."

The meeting will be at the Orlando Marriott Lake Mary, 1501 International Parkway, Lake Mary. The Commission will hold its regular meeting the following two days, on June 23 and 24, at the same place.

Anyone requiring special accommodations to participate in the meeting should advise the FWC at least five days prior to the June 23 meeting by contacting the FWC's Office of Human Resources at 850-488-6411. If you are hearing- or speech-impaired, contact the FWC using the Florida Relay Service at 800-955-8771 (TDD) or 800-955-8770 (voice).

FWC Facts:
Freshwater fish have a series of sensory pores called the lateral line that detect movement and vibration in the water, which helps with predatory and schooling behavior.

Learn More at AskFWC