2007 Coastal Living Awards: Education
Award-winning videos and hands-on fun make this Florida conservation program a hit.
Glenn Griffith introduces kids to nature and ensures they becomefriends for life. His mantra: "When it comes to our naturalresources, don't be a stranger―be a Resource Ranger." Ascreator of this nonprofit environmental club in Pensacola, Florida,Glenn and a slew of volunteers use video, classroom, and hands-onlearning to teach students how to protect shorelines. "Each lessonends with what you can do to make a difference," Glenn says. "Theidea is to start good habits early."
This program began in 2000 with videos starring Glenn as theResource Ranger. The videos cover varying topics, from wetlanddepletion to recycling, and suggest everyday solutions. "Somematerial can be hard-core science, but kids understand it," Glennsays. "You just have to present it in a fun way."
Before receiving their official certificates and T-shirts,students participate in classroom activities, then move outdoors tolearn about sea grass, the testing of ocean water, and shorelineplanting. So far, 11 videos have been recorded, and weekly lessonsare broadcast to six cable markets, reaching an estimated 500,000people. "The program continues to grow," says project manager andexecutive producer Eleanor Godwin.
Each year, 4,000 new students, in grades four through seven,pledge to be Resource Rangers. "Our goal has always been to helpsomeone outside of Florida get a [Resource Ranger] club in theirarea," Eleanor says. Anyone can be a Ranger, regardless of age."The TV show is not just geared toward students," Glenn says. "Wewant Mom and Dad to get involved, too."
Eleanor says many participants have never been to the beachbefore becoming Rangers. "Last year a fifth-grade boy whispered tome, 'This is the most fun I have ever had,'" she says. "We arehelping a new generation take care of the environment."
To sponsor or start a Rangers club, call 850/595-8910, ext. 226,or visit resourcerangers.org.