Ricky Pires Director,
“Wings of Hope” Program
Florida Gulf Coast University 'Wings of Hope' Program
The “Wings of Hope” program is an integral part of the FGCU Environmental Humanities curriculum and service learning requirement. University students are introduced to native Southwest Florida wildlife, their habitats, and water conservation. They bring this knowledge to students in 4th & 5th grade with science-based environmental education programs. Elementary school students are bussed to FGCU for the program - both public and private schools in Collier and Lee Counties..
Wings of Hope teams with Wekiwa Park Rangers, Wekiva wild and scenic river system, and elementary school teachers, to help create a hiking guide for students in the area. Wings of Hope will be traveling to the Orlando area to educate elementary students in that region on how we can protect and co-exist with the Florida black bear. The students will spend the day at Wekiwa State Park, learning about what bears eat, physical characteristics, cubs, and more. The students will then go on a guided hike in the park to further learn about the black bears habitat and the flora and fauna in their own backyard. These students will then be paired with elementary students in the Fort Myers area, who are also learning about the black bear. These ‘bear buddies’ will be able to share their knowledge and experience with this beautiful animal, and how they are stepping up to help them.
The Wings of Hope program at Florida Gulf Coast University was recognized as the 1st place winner for the 2015 Campus Compact Florida Award! This award recognizes the outstanding campus-community partnerships that produce mesureable improvement while enhancing higher education. In the above picture from left to right: Jessica Rhea - Director Service-Learning, Ricky Pires - Director of Wings of Hope, President Wilson Bradshaw - Florida Gulf Coast University President.
Erica Waller accepts the Green Schools award for Higher Education, on behalf of FGCU Wings of Hope, at the green schools alliance confrence in Pittsburg, PA. Best Green School Award for higher education awards the people, schools, campuses and organizations making a big difference in creating healthy, efficient learning environments for our students. The Panther posse program was honored to recieve the award that is sponsored by the Green Schools National Network. Shortly after a letter of congratulations from U.S. Senator Bill Nelson was recieved.
Sponsored by WGCU, Ricky Pires, the Wings of Hope Director and the Panther posse program were honored as one of Florida’s Women Who Make Southwest Florida. Letter of Congratulations from Governor Rick Scott, Collier County School Superintendent, Dr. Kamela Patton, and FGCU President Wilson Bradshaw. An article was also featured in eBella and FGCU Expressions magazine.