Charter school proponents partner to open green campus, eco-friendly camp on Island

Marco Island Discovery Center signs agreement with Jean-Michel Cousteau

Article Highlights

  • Marco to be among Ambassadors of the Environment programs also in Calif., Hawaii, the Grand Cayman Islands, Brazil, Greece, and cruise ships in Alaska and French Polynesia
  • Marco Island Discovery Center seeks to open charter school academy, eco-friendly camp in 2011
  • Funding for programs sought

— Marco Island Discovery Center, Inc. president, Lynne Irvine, signed a memorandum of understanding with Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society on Aug. 1 to open the Ambassadors of the Environment camp on Marco Island in June 2011.

The Marco Island Discovery Center Board of Directors is working to create a three-way partnership between the Ambassadors of the Environment eco-adventure camp; the Marco Island Academy, a 9-12 grade charter high school; and the Marco Island Discovery Center, a hands-on, inter-generational community center for the arts and sciences. The synergy of purpose between the three founding partners will expand cultural and educational opportunities for all ages on Marco Island.

Ocean Futures Society director of science and education, Richard Murphy, visited Marco Island July 23 and July 24 to explore the natural and cultural resources of the region available for the AOTE eco-adventure camp. Having traveled to the far corners of the planet, both above and below water, Murphy uses his observations to create hands-on educational programs.

He believes “a better understanding of how nature works can not only promote an appreciation for the value of our natural heritage, but can also help guide the next generation in living more sustainably on the planet.”

Murphy met with the MIDC board members Irvine, Jane Watt, and Tara Hagan; with Marco Island city officials; and with Gary Lytton, environmental administrator, and Susan Cone, education coordinator for the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve to explain the Ambassadors of the Environment program. With the help of Captain John Campbell and Scuba Marco, Murphy also toured the island by boat.

For more than four decades Jean-Michel Cousteau and Murphy have worked together exploring the ocean, educating people, and inspiring an attitude of stewardship toward the natural environment.

According to Cousteau, “People protect what they love.” Realizing that “We can’t protect what we don’t yet understand,” Cousteau has dedicated the Ocean Futures Society’s Ambassadors program to advancing the Cousteau legacy to a world increasingly in need of information and inspiration.

According to Cousteau, “We expect everyone to return to their communities as environmental stewards or ambassadors of the environment.”

Currently, the Ambassadors program offers three, four, and seven-day residential camps to students, teachers, and families from around the globe in California, Hawaii, the Grand Cayman Islands, Brazil, Greece, and on board the Regents Seven Seas cruise ships in Alaska, and French Polynesia. Marco Island is one of two sites in the planning stages in Florida.

The next phase of planning for the Ambassadors of the Environment collaboration includes sponsoring Murphy’s return to Marco Island to complete a 10-day field assessment of the region to establish a hands-on environmental curriculum and training manual specific to the region. The Marco Island Discovery Center is currently seeking financial support for the Ambassadors of the Environment eco-adventure camp, the Marco Island Academy, and the Marco Island Discovery Center. They are also seeking a site to build a LEED Certified ‘green’ campus, which will be shared by the three founding partners.

Visit the partnering organizations’ Web sites to learn more:, and

To become a catalyst, please forward your tax-deductible contribution to: The Marco Island Discovery Center, Inc. c/o M & I Bank, 800 Collier Blvd. Suite 109.

© 2009 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 7

lauralbi1 writes:

Has anybody considered speaking with Winterberry Christian Academy that is currently running an accredited 9-12 program ??
It seems that the more synergy that can be brought into this scenario, the better the results.
The above article is meaningless to me, a taxpayer, as it pertains to the realization and financing for the "Marco Island Academy", which appears to be vapor at this point.

Joe_Btfsplk writes:

The pig will not go away!

clearlystated writes:

I read the above article and thought, "Huh"? What in the world is meant by signing a memorandum of understanding? It has no meaning, just like 90% of the article, oops, I mean solicitation. This is not a news article. This is a submission by the lady who represents the group who wanted a new high school because they don't want their kids going to Lely. They were shot down by the county and the state, so now they have no funding. Guess who they expect to pay for their vapor? That's right - you.

Jeesh, I never saw a more pronounced case of someone who can't take no for an answer.

lauralbi1 writes:

Merton: This is a place for intellectual sharing of opinions. I already have a case filed against a blogger (Collier County Courts) and if you send me an e-mail with your name (through the Eagle) I will even give you the case number. There is no place for s----- slander on this website.

Joe_Btfsplk writes:

Pig does not refer to lauralbi1, but to the concept of an unneccessary high school on Marco. I do agree, my note was not very intellectual. Regards.

marcoislander writes:

I share the same realistic view as all the above. This will never happen.

lauralbi1 writes:

Thanks for the clarification
Ed Issler

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