Alabama and Florida Extension Agents Partner to Offer the Beaches to Woodlands Tour at the NACAA Annual Meeting in Mobile, Alabama
University of Florida, IFAS Extension and Alabama Cooperative Extension agents worked to design, teach, and evaluate a program to highlight the unique ecosystems and natural and cultural history of the Northern Gulf Coast region. Field experiential learning enabled participants to gather and synthesize information, including the Florida Master Naturalist techniques and curricula, which can be incorporated into Extension programming across multiple disciplines nationwide. The 1-1/2 day event was an excursion in which attendees received instruction on the natural and cultural history of the region; led by a combination of Extension agents, private landowners, forest managers, and professional eco-tour guides. Emphasis was placed on explaining public and privately-owned natural resource management and the economic impact associated with proper planning. Participants visited a coastal barrier island, upland seepage bog, privately owned longleaf pine plantation, Mobile River Delta, and Bottle Creek Indian Mound. Fourteen (14) participants from six states attended. Seven responded to an emailed post-tour survey. One hundred percent [100% (7/7)] indicated they increased their knowledge of pitcher plants, the river delta and watershed, longleaf pine and fire ecology, Indian history, gopher tortoises, sea life, and cogongrass. Participants indicated that they have shared the information with clientele and colleagues and will integrate the new information into programming.