As a partnership between the University of Florida and Sarasota County Government, one of our core missions at UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County is youth development. We embrace this mission, offering and implementing an array of standards-based educational opportunities and hands-on activities across a wide spectrum of topics, from agricultural practices to water conservation. Highlights include:

  • 4-H Radish Growing Project – helped third-grade teachers showcase plant science, scientific methods, technical writing and more for nearly 800 county students.
  • 4-H Tropicana Public Speaking Program – reached more than 1,500 fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-graders in Sarasota County schools, providing them skills to communicate with clarity and comfort.
  • School Gardens – now includes more than 60 schools in the county, and allows roughly 80 teachers unique opportunities to reach more than 1,600 students with education about food systems, science and nutrition.
  • Family Nutrition Program – led nearly 25,000 nutrition and health lessons/activities in elementary and middle schools, and partnered with school district and state staff on Farm-to-School program
  • Water Resources – provided citizen science opportunities, like the Florida Microplastics Awareness Project, to 16 teachers and more than 250 students
  • Sea Grant and Ecology/Natural Resources – developed and delivered a wildlife conservation and marine ecology program that reached more than 200 students, with plans to expand the effort.

While we continue to develop new programs, we also offer an array of learn-by-doing lessons that educators can bring to classrooms from pre-K through high school, with curricula areas including STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), business, citizenship, creative arts, and healthy living. Finally, each year we provide for teachers and others engaged with students a suite of professional enrichment opportunities, such as our “School Gardens 101” workshop, Florida Master Naturalist training, Project Wild classes, the Florida Water Stewardship Program, Agriculture in the Classroom, and a host of others.

Explorations Contact: Kevin O'Horan

Phone: 941-861-9900



Summer or Family Programs? Not at this Time

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