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Local Teachers Dive Deep Into Ocean Conservation Education Through New Training

Two smiling women on a porch; one is holding a certificate. Bright day with greenery in the background.
Doby Elementary School kindergarten teacher Daniela Burgui with Jessica Harvey, Guy Harvey’s daughter, holding her Guy Harvey Conservation Educator certificate.

May 7, 2024 

By  Jane Owen

On March 29 and 30, Hillsborough County teachers and teachers from other Tampa Bay counties gathered at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) Suncoast Youth Conservation Center for a two-day training session using STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) education, focusing on ocean conservation.

The training, which was open to elementary, middle and high school educations, was conducted by the nonprofit Guy Harvey Foundation and made possible through Tampa Electric Company’s funding.

Educators learned about field trip opportunities at the Suncoast Youth Conservation Center and enjoyed hands-on training that included kayaking and fishing. They came away with materials, classroom supplies and the Guy Harvey Foundation’s online teacher resources.

Newsome High School marine biology teacher Julie Wernicki said her classes will benefit for years to come.

“My biggest takeaway was seeing how to make engaging and interactive lessons. Also, I have all of these resources now. The Guy Harvey Foundation has a really cool website that teachers can sign in on. They are always adding to it. I think it has become my favorite resource right now,” Wernicki said.

Wernicki said another benefit of the training was collaborating with like-minded teachers and sharing ideas about how to incorporate the new experience in the classroom.

Daniela Burgui, a kindergarten teacher at Doby Elementary School in Apollo Beach, echoed the tremendous benefits the training provides.

“I enjoyed the fact that they really covered a lot and offered new experiences for us to take into the classroom to help our kids. Part of what they offer with the training is a little treasure chest of materials. There are treasure chests and lessons for all grades. You can use whatever works for your grade and adapt it,” Burgui said.

Burgui said working directly with the Guy Harvey team is what elevates the training to a different level. She said they blended art in guiding students through learning about math and science.

Teachers that completed the training received a certification and became a Guy Harvey Conservation Educator.

For more information about the Suncoast Youth Conservation Center, visit

To learn more about the Guy Harvey Foundation Conservation Education Program, including upcoming training locations, visit

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