The mission of the Roy Hyatt Environmental Center is to assist students in mastering science concepts and processes through the integration of science disciplines in studying the environment. Our goal, from the Florida Environmental Education Act, is that the students "come to know the natural world as a complex system that must be cared for." As we carry out our mission and work toward this goal, we also further the strategic aims of the School District of Escambia County, Florida, which are the following (1) highest student achievement (2) a safe learning and working environment (3) a high performing work force, and (4) an efficient and effective system. Find out more about the School District of Escambia County at www.escambia.k12.fl.us.
SAVE the DATE! RHEC NIGHT OF NATURE, March 11, 2016!
The Roy Hyatt Environmental Center Night of Nature is scheduled for Friday evening, March 11, 2016 from 5:30-8:30. This event is FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!!! Hope all can come enjoy this evening of fun and adventure! We will have naturalist lead night hikes through the woods, you can meet some of the owls from the Wildlife Sanctuary of Northwest Florida, the Escambia Amateur Astronomy Association will have telescopes so that you will be able to peer into the night sky, we will have a worm farm on display, there will be an insect of the night station as well as coloring activities for children of all ages. All of this is free. We will have food available for a small donation and a silent auction where you can donate for a chance to win one of the many prizes!! So mark your calendar and come join us for this fun-filled event!
5 Ways to help wildlife through the winter
1. Let your yard go wild. Make less work on yourself, don't rake up all the leaves and pine straw as this provides habitat for insects as well as providing material for animals to make their nests. Also think twice before dead-heading your flowers, as these provide food and shelter for many animals and insects in the winter. Frogs and toads spend the winter in logs, leaf piles, under rocks, flower pots, and even in compost bins. Insects hibernate in gardens. Many insects might dig holes in the ground or hide under leaf litter, they will hide behind the bark of a tree or downed log, some may find a corner in your garage to hide, ladybugs hide under the bark of a tree or log, and many insects will hide in the cracks found around your home or garage.
2. Develop a compost bin or heap. This will become a place for squirrels, birds, toads, insects, worms, and more to find food and shelter during the winter months. Be careful using your pitchfork in the compost pile during the winter months.
3. Feed the birds and other wildlife. Birds often have difficulty finding natural foods (nuts, berries, insects, worms, seeds, and fruit) during the winter months. Provide birdseed with a fruit and nut mix, suet cakes, sunflower seeds, unsalted peanuts, and mealworms for them to eat. If other wildlife happen by to have a nibble, that is great as well!
4. Provide plenty of fresh water. If you have a backyard pond place a tennis ball in the pond to prevent it from freezing which will trap any animals hiding there, such as frogs, under the ice. It is also a good idea to create an exit by providing a rock pile or ramp built from branches for an exit from the frigid water.
5. Grow animal friendly plants. There are many plants which provide food, such as seeds, berries, and fruits for wildlife. Look for wildlife friendly plants when you are visiting your local garden center.
In 1968, the first Environmental Center to later be named in honor of Roy Hyatt opened to students in Escambia County, Florida. In 1980, land at the present site on Tobias Road was acquired from the federal government. The main building houses a microscope lab, reptile room, large classroom, and office space. Other buildings used in current instructional programs include the old library which has been transformed into a classroom, the bird bus used for bird watching activities, the butterfly gazebo, and the newly completed outdoor education classroom. The instructional program for the 2014-2015 school year includes field trips and curriculum appropriate for 2nd and 5th grade student field trips.
Currently the RHEC is opened from August through June according to the academic calendar of the School District of Escambia County, Florida. During those months it is opened Monday through Friday for educational field trips by appointment only. RHEC is not open to the public.