IFS and the Department of Environmental Programs began with the development of HCC Environmental Studies Center (ESC) through the efforts of several community organizations such as the Tampa Junior League, Tampa Audubon Society, and Save Our Bay. Approximately 22 acres of land at Cockroach Bay (Ruskin, FL) was donated to HCC and field trips to this site began in 1975. In addition to hosting The Annual Conference on Coastal Restoration (currently known as Beyond Sustainability), in the 1970’s IFS entered into an agreement with the Hillsborough County to conduct formal environmental education programs at the Upper Tampa Bay Park (Tampa, FL). The HCC Foundation obtained approximately 120 acres of land at English Creek (adjacent to another 266 acres of ELAPP land), a $1.4 million grant was obtained for construction of facilities, and the English Creek Center has been offering educational programs since 1991. Besides providing educational field trips to approximately 3,000 children each year and hosting the Beyond Sustainability Conference, IFS conducts other educational programs that include: Basic Prescribed Fire and Certified Burner’s Program, non-credit courses for the general public, water and wastewater operator’s certification courses, horticulture professional certification course program, tree climbing and tree canopy studies, and various other grant-funded projects.
Please browse our website to find out more about what IFS has to offer. Feel free to contact us if you would like any more information about our programs.
We ask that appointments be made to visit staff members in person as our schedules vary and much of our work is in the field.