Dade Heritage Trust (DHT) has partnered with the City of Miami Parks and Miami-Dade County Parks and Recreation Department to create the Miami Urban Tree Trekkers program (MUTTS). The multidisciplinary program’s goal is to educate students about the benefits of urban forests in South Florida. The program is funded through a $50,000 grant from the county.
“We’re excited to be launching this educational initiative which focuses on teaching students about the importance of environmental and architectural preservation in their community. These kids will become the stewards of these special places and it is important they understand the significance of Miami’s urban green spaces and historic places. DHT works to protect and preserve the places that tell Miami’s story, which includes Greater Miami’s unique natural environment,” said DHT Executive Director Christine Rupp. “Our top-notch education team presents field experiences to three different urban forests including the tropical hardwood hammock at Simpson Park, the pine rockland at AD Barnes Park, and the coastal uplands and wetlands along Virginia Key Beach’s North Point Park. We are grateful to Miami-Dade County for their support and helping us to bring this vision to life.”
DHT’s education team is currently adapting curricula and preparing for virtual visits. The program’s principle goal is to provide students with an understanding of the importance of environmental preservation. In fact, AD Barnes Park is home to one of the most endangered habitats in South Florida – Pine Rockland, which has been lost to development over the decades. With the support of the county’s grant,DHT worked in conjunction with the county’s Parks and Recreation Department to create detailed trail signage featuring the flora and fauna around AD Barnes park, giving everyone the opportunity to learn about the rare ecosystem.
Although self-guided tours are already available in the participating parks, DHT conducts field experiences where students will explore the unique biodiversity of each habitat through hands-on activities including. Specifically, students in grades K-5 will explore the unique biodiversity and create nature journals to document their observations and ask questions about nature. Students in grades 6-12 will gain an understanding of the effects of climate change by discussing the carbon cycle, estimating tree carbon storage, and learning about water quality testing. The lessons and activities are standards-based and support STEAM curriculum.
For more information or to join MUTTS, please contact the DHT School Programs Manager Lucia Meneses at firstname.lastname@example.org 305-358-9572.
Dade Heritage Trust (DHT) is Miami-Dade County’s largest preservation organization. Founded in 1972 as a grassroots organization to save and protect Miami-Dade County’s historic buildings, DHT’s mission is to preserve our community’s architectural, environmental and cultural heritage. Through a variety of programs, advocacy projects, special events, exhibits and presentations, DHT furthers the mission by engaging Miami-Dade residents and visitors in preservation education.For additional information please visit dadeheritagetrust.org.