Sunday, September 18, 2011

ANEW Keynote speaker announced

Camp Bayou is proud to announce the Keynote Speaker for 'A Natural Education Weekend’ will be Rob Heath.

Rob is now Senior Ecologist at Wildlands Conservation, a land management consulting company for public and private owners of conservation lands. His duties include management plan development and implementation, prescribed fire, habitat restoration, listed species preservation and invasive species control.

Early in his career, at Hillsborough County Parks, Recreation and Conservation (HCPRC), Rob created and conducted the award-winning 'Fun With Nature' program which ran during each summer for five years in the mid 1980's, and consisted of six one week long sessions for kids aged 8-12. The participants were introduced to various outdoor activities including fishing, canoeing, camping, and Florida wildlife. The emphasis was on teaching ways to enjoy our natural environment in a responsible manner.

Before retiring from HCPRC, he was the Environmental Supervisor from 1982- 2002, with duties that included land management in the ELAP (Environmental Lands Acquisition and Protection) Program. Rob was the head of the ELAP Site Assessment Team, which was responsible for evaluating the new site nominations each year, and preparing the preliminary and full site assessment reports used by other committees to qualify and rank the sites. One of these parcels became known as the Camp Bayou Preserve.

He is a graduate of Amherst College (B.A. in Biology) and Tulane University (M.S. in Environmental Biology). He is an active member of the Tampa Bay Conservancy and Tampa Audubon Society.

Rob Heath will be talking about "Getting off the Beaten Path" on Saturday, November 12 at 6 pm. The keynote presentation is included in Saturday registration. The complete schedule for the weekend, Friday, November 11 through Sunday, November 13, and registration form are available on the blog: Registration forms are also available at Camp Bayou Outdoor Learning Center during regular hours of operation, Thursday- Saturday, 9am-2pm. 

This event is part of a Be Out There!-NWF, Get Outdoors Florida!, "Let's GO"- C&N,  No Child Left Inside, and Let's Move Outside inspired initiative. Partners in this event include Hillsborough County Community College'sSouth Shore CampusWest- Central League of Environmental Educators in FloridaFirehouse Cultural Center, and Hillsborough County Parks, Recreation and Conservation Services. Sponsors include Cargill and Publix. Sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities are still available. Contact Dolly at 813-363-5438 or for more information.

Camp Bayou is neither a campground nor a summer camp. It was an RV park before the County's ELAP program purchased the land but it is now open for day use only, open to the general public. Through volunteers, donations, membership and grants, the RCDF offers pre-scheduled programs to schools, youth groups, adult groups and families plus it's open from Thursday- Saturday from 9am-2pm for passive recreational pursuits such as wildlife watching, nature photography and trail walks.

The Camp Bayou Outdoor Learning Center is a public- private partnership between the non-profit Ruskin Community Development Foundation, Inc. (RCDF) and Hillsborough County Parks, Recreation and Conservation. Camp Bayou is located 3 miles south of SR674 at the end of 24th St SE in Ruskin. More information is on the web at or call 813-641-8545. 


Pictured: Rob is also an associate instructor at Camp Bayou Outdoor Learning Center for the Florida Master Natural Program (FMNP). Pictured here on a field trip outing to Golden Aster Scrub Preserve.

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