What is a WILD Facilitator?
Florida's Project WILD program depends on the expertise and commitment of volunteer instructors. Project WILD's facilitators are highly trained, talented and motivated volunteers who lead workshops. Facilitators receive specialized training and expert training opportunities to enable them to teach workshops. The times and location of local workshops are normally set by the volunteer instructors, although they often are called on to work with groups who have set their own agenda. These volunteers represent a wide diversity of backgrounds and special areas of expertise. Many of them are classroom teachers in pre-K-12 public or private schools while others teach higher education courses to pre-service teachers or other college students. A large number of our volunteers work in local nature centers, museums, aquaria, and zoos, or provide interpretive services at state and federally owned parks.
Benefits of Being a Project WILD Facilitator
- Recognition as a leader in Florida's environmental education community;
- Professional development opportunities, including an invitation to the annual facilitator awards recognition weekend - Call of the WILD;
- Professional growth and development;
- Support from and networking with other volunteer facilitators;
- Access to the latest environmental education curricula and the most current information about Florida wildlife;
- Incentive awards;
- Personal and professional pride and satisfaction in your accomplishments;
- The ability to reach children through training educators who work directly with students
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. --Margaret Mead
How Do I Become a Volunteer Facilitator?
Volunteers are the backbone of the Project WILD program in Florida. The Commission provides a free training workshop for any educator (formal or non-formal) wishing to become certified as a facilitator. In exchange for this training, we request that each volunteer provide or assist with at least one four to six-hour workshop during the year in order to maintain active status.
In order to qualify for Leadership Training you must:
- Attend or have attended at least one Project/Aquatic WILD workshop, with attendance of another pre-K-12 Program Workshop being optimal.
- Complete and submit a Facilitator Application. Contact FLProjectWILD@MyFWC.com for an application.
- Be recommended by an active facilitator or a supervisor who can attest to your ability to educate and train others.
- Attend a Leadership Training. Please check the FWC Schedule for upcoming Project WILD Facilitator Trainings.
Leadership training consists of learning from FWC staff and seasoned volunteers. They will help you absorb what will seem to be an impossibly large amount of material in a short amount of time, sharing the ins-and-outs, tools and techniques of being a successful facilitator. You will learn some proven ways to teach the material as well as the 'how-to's and logistics of putting a successful workshop together.
After training, you will have the knowledge and resources to schedule, plan, and facilitate you own educators workshop. You will become part of the Project WILD family; a large network of experienced facilitators, which you can call upon for help or advice as you learn the ropes. In the end, both you and your students will have had an outstanding learning experience!
Commitment to Project WILD
Volunteer facilitators are expected to plan, lead and conduct at least one workshop per year. The time commitment required will vary depending upon the type of workshop you choose to present. You may collaborate with other facilitators for some or all aspects of the workshop, thereby dividing responsibilities.
Training is a continuing process, as is the need to show volunteers appreciation for a job well done. Therefore, the Commission provides an annual retreat/advanced training workshop free of charge to all facilitators who have been active during the preceding year. Inactive volunteers may pay a small fee to attend, which covers food and lodging. This annual event is entitled "Call of the WILD", takes place during the fall, and incorporates fun, entertainment and relaxation, as well as new ideas and teaching tools, into the weekend. We encourage volunteers to attend in order to keep current with FWC's pre-K-12 programs, environmental education, Florida education standards, wildlife conservation and more.
Dates to Remember
The "Leadership Training" is a weekend long workshop in which WILD educators have the opportunity to become volunteer facilitators. Leadership trainings are offered annually at various locations throughout the state. Please contact the Project WILD Coordinator for more information.
"Call of the WILD" is the annual awards celebration and advanced training to recognize our hard working Project WILD volunteers. Call usually takes place in the fall - October/November - at one of our training centers; the Ocala Youth Camp or the Everglades Youth Camp.
Visit the Project WILD schedule for exact dates of training
Contact the FLProjectWILD@MyFWC.com for more information about training or to obtain a volunteer application package.