The Environmental Research and Field Studies Academy at Jupiter Community High School is a four-year Magnet school program designed to meet the needs of students who wish to pursue an academic curriculum with emphasis on environmental studies.
Jupiter Environmental Research and Field Studies Academy is a program that focuses on:
- Ecological principles and processes
- Environmental awareness
- Field studies and research
- Critical thinking skills
- Problem solving skills
- Leadership skills
- Interdisciplinary learning
History of the Jupiter Environmental Research and Field Studies Academy
Planning for the Jupiter High School Environmental Research and Field Studies Academy (JERFSA) began during the 1992-93 school year. The recommendation to approve the creation of the Academy was submitted in Board Report 6G November 4, 1992. The Academy was started in August 1993 with 75 students, two teachers and minimal funding from the School Board.
We produced our first graduating class of 35 students in 1997. At this time, funds for our field work are largely provided by parents, student fund raising and assistance from the Partnership for Environmental Education, Inc. The Academy currently provides over 75 field activities per year that include cooperative field work with a variety of agencies such as: the Loxahatchee River Environmental Control District, ERM, Busch Wildlife Sanctuary, MacArthur State Park, JD State Park, Partnership For Environmental Education, Inc., P.B. Co. Parks & Recreation, Loxahatchee Preserve Nature Center, U.S. Bureau of Land Management and FP&L. (see our brochure for a complete listing of cooperating agencies).
We have an Environmental Outreach Program in which our students go to elementary schools and present environmental issues utilizing a variety of children's literature materials and field trip opportunities. Our Outreach program is funded at this time through the Partnership for Environmental Education, Inc. “Enviroservice” is another Academy program that allows students to work with professionals from a variety of community agencies. Through “Enviroservice” students contribute over two hundred and thirty hours of environmental service every month.
Specific Nature of the Program Activities:
Program activities include: a core selection of courses for each grade level, environmental service projects with area agencies, instruction in field study skills, data collection technique training, environmental outreach through recycling and children’s literature projects, college classes, research project development and implementation, teamwork and leadership training, and career information seminars.
Frequency of Activities:
The frequency of activities, other than traditional class sessions, varies by grade level. Ninth and tenth grade classes do field activities on an average of twice per month. Students at the eleventh and twelfth grade levels participate in a monthly "Seminar" program. The Academy provides approximately sixty-five field activities per year for the four grade levels. Each grade level participates in over 15 activities per year including at least one overnight field trip.
Duration of Activities:
- Field activities - two class blocks per activity
- College classes - one class period block, two days per week
- "Seminar" program - one class period block per month
- Intensive field trips - 2 to 3 days, including nights, for most grade levels per year
Number of Students Involved:
The Academy accepts fifty to sixty new freshman students each year. The average total number of students in the program yearly is two hundred.
Number of Staff Involved:
The Academy staff, funded by the Palm Beach County School Board and Jupiter High School includes two full time teachers, a coordinator, and a part-time secretary. The Academy currently uses PBCC instructors to provide dual enrollment courses each year as available.
Number of Others Involved:
Volunteers play a major role in the field studies portion of the JERFSA experience. From driving buses, accompanying students on the work projects, and manning the office, volunteers make the difference in the quality of the Academy experience. The all volunteer organization Partnership for Environmental Education raises the funds needed for the large capital items such as the boat, lab equipment and transport to the four major field experiences per year.