Lake County environmentalist advocates for environmental education to be required in Florida schools
EUSTIS – More than 30 years ago, Congress passed the Environmental Education Act of 1990, which required the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to help with environmental literacy in schools.
In Florida, while some schools offer environmental education as an elective, rarely is it required. One lifelong Floridian is hoping to change that.
Feeding the future through environmental education is something Eileen Tramontana, executive director of Trout Lake Nature Center, has a passion for.
“I grew up playing in the woods as a kid, liking the outdoors, loving what’s here, and started working for a soil and water conservation district many, many years ago," she said. "I worked for a private industry and realized it was a nice job, but I was putting money in someone’s pocket and I wanted to make a difference."
For her, it’s teaching the community about the environment, like feeding their gopher tortoise, that gets people engaged with what’s around them.
“This resource is really important because a lot of the times you wouldn’t get to see the animals or the plants that come here in Central Florida," she said. "They’re often times nocturnal or you just can’t get that close to them."
But Tramontana hopes to make a statewide difference. While she teaches groups and individuals visiting the center, and she brings her lessons outside the classroom in an engaging way.