Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
- Mahatma Ghandi

Welcome to LIFE of Florida!

Our secular and inclusive Florida-wide Informal Education support group acts as a resource center and clearinghouse for homeschoolers, informal learners and alternative educators interested in enriching their learning environments and maximizing their learning opportunities, as well as an advocacy center for Curiosity Driven Learning.

There is no cost to be part of LIFE of Florida -- just join in at our email discussion and announcement list, Florida LIFE, where you can download your membership card -- good for educational discounts throughout FL -- and stay informed and updated on events, issues and resources, and connect with other informal learners throughout the state.

If you're just getting started in homeschooling, be sure to check out our LIFE of Florida Quick Links, our list of Useful Docs, and our enormous collection of resources in the side columns, and visit our Inclusive Homeschool Support Groups page to find a group near you.

If you'd like your regional inclusive support group to be networked with LIFE of Florida, drop us a line with a group description, contact and other relevant information and we'll add you, free of charge, to our directory. All your group members will be automatically considered members of LIFE of Florida, and are entitled to membership cards and all the benefits we offer. Virtual school families are also welcome to enjoy our resources, support and camaraderie.

We're all inclusive and free of charge, and we're here for you!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Oil Spill and Volunteer Assistance Info

From the Florida Master Naturalist program:
As the environmental catastrophe referred to as the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill continues to unfold in the Gulf, there may be need for our help. I know there is also great interest in the progress on containing the spill and the efforts to clean up the mess it leaves, which may eventually include shorelines in Florida.

I have waited to send this email to ensure I provide the best and most accurate information available.

For the most accurate and up-to-date information on the spill and containment efforts, please refer to the official website for the Deepwater Horizon Response at:

This website has a great deal of information, including daily updates.

To see an image of the approximate extent of the spread of the spill in the Gulf, as reported and prepared by USA Today, go to:

Volunteer assistance is needed and the official FLORIDA volunteer response website for the Deep Horizon Oil Spill is through the Governor’s Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service at:

There are many links for various volunteer activities on this website.

Note that a companion website:

Specifies that:

“Volunteers will not be in direct contact with oil or oil-contaminated materials. Oil-contaminated materials will only be handled by trained, paid workers such as Qualified Community Responders (QCR) and not by volunteers. Oiled wildlife will only be handled by trained, contracted professionals. Even though volunteer opportunities with the oil spill are limited, volunteer opportunities in your local community are limitless. Many organizations need support and service now more than ever. The oil spill is bringing communities together, and your volunteer service strengthens local responding groups. Thank you for the time you give now, and the time you will continue to give after the oil spill.”

However, there may be a great deal of assistance needed doing other services, and I encourage you to register.

Additional ways to assist and report important information include:

Reporting oiled wildlife – the FLORIDA hotline to call to report oiled wildlife is: 1-866-557-1401

Reporting oil on the shoreline - the FLORIDA hotline to call to report oiled wildlife is: 1-877-272-8335 (1-877-2-SAVE-FL) or #DEP from your cell phone.

Two documents that provide useful information regarding oil spill reporting can be viewed (and printed) online at:

Let’s hope the latest efforts to contain the spill are successful and that Florida’s coastal environment is not severely damaged, but let’s also prepare to assist in the clean-up and associated actions to the extent we are able.



Martin B. Main, PhD
Professor, Wildlife Ecology and Conservation
Program Leader, Florida Master Naturalist Program (
University of Florida
SW Florida Research and Education Center
2685 State Road 29 North
Immokalee, FL 34142
ph: 239.658.3400 fax: 239.658.3469

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sweet Deal for LIFE Fest 2010 Guests, from Nickelodean Suites Resort!

What a deal! Come out for LIFE Fest 2010, stay two nights at Nickelodean Suites Resort in Orlando, and get the third night free!  Just $200 for a family weekend in a two bedroom KidSuite!

Click here to book your room by August 17.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

LIFE Fest 2010 Set for Sept. 18 in Orlando!

Our annual LIFE Fest Celebration of Learning will be held Saturday, September 18 at the beautiful Orange County Extension Service Education Center in Orlando, home of the Orange County 4H, and a spectacular family-friendly facility at which to celebrate all that's wonderful about community education resources.

Orange County 4-H is the youth development program of Orange County University of Florida/IFAS Extension. 4-H provides informal, hands-on learning to youth ages 5-18 through clubs, school outreach and experiential learning. Programming exists in three main areas: science, engineering, & technology (SET); citizenship/leadership; and healthy lifestyles - all the types of learning we'll be looking at during LIFE Fest 2010.

As before – still bucking economic trends! - admission is just a $10 donation per family, $8 prepaid via Network for Good (bring your receipt as your ticket). And, in the continuing spirit of a Green LIFE Fest, carpool discounts of $10 per (safe and legal) carload will be available the day of the event.

There are numerous hotels in the area and LIFE is working to block off reasonably priced rooms for LIFE Fest guests and vendors. Details will be announced soon.

As before, we’ll have a variety of great vendors – we’re aiming for more this year - lots of free materials, great workshops, door prizes and raffles, and a fun and educational children’s area with art and animals, all adding up to a full and exciting day that will offer ample opportunities to meet other home educators from around the state and to learn how to make the most of your homeschooling adventure.

Vendor booths will cost $100 if reserved by June 30; $150 after that, through August 31, and will be sold on a first-come, first-served, paid-in-full basis. A sliding scale may be considered for very small, family based businesses. A minimum 10% discount is provided to vendors supplying a door prize.

LIFE Fest Bazaar
A bazaar space for family and small community group sales tables is $25. You can sell books, curricula, toys, clothes, and any other (reasonable) household goods at our LIFE Fest Bazaar. We’ll also have a give-away table for anything you just want to, well – give away!

Community and Support Groups
We’re happy to provide free exhibit space to youth groups and clubs, home school and educational support groups, community education groups like libraries, parks, nature centers, museums and associations providing free or very low cost learning opportunities. If you feel your group or service qualifies, and you’d like to join us to provide outreach and information to guests about your support and education programs, please write to us with the name of your group, the services you provide, and the costs of your program(s).

Program Advertising
Guests at LIFE Fest will receive a printed program describing the day's agenda, workshops and round table discussions, and listing vendors. If you would like to advertise in the program, please contact us for a rate sheet. Costs range from $25 to $100.

Reserve by August 31
Vendor , LIFE Fest Bazaar and Community Group booths must be reserved by August 31. More information will be available at Learning is for Everyone’s website shortly, but feel free to write and let us know if you’d like vending, community group, or support group space.

Also contact us if you’re interested in hosting a presentation or workshop.

Planners Drawing
As before, we’re inviting our guests to help plan the party by holding a Planners Drawing in which those who send us LIFE Fest ideas by May 31 are automatically entered to win a great prize.

So send your ideas now to with “LIFE Fest Ideas” in the subject line. Be sure to include your full name, address and contact info and you'll be automatically entered in a special LIFE Fest Planner award drawing at LIFE Fest 2010. You have to be present to win -- but you're helping plan so why wouldn't you be?!

Visit for applications or email us at  for more information.

See you at LIFE Fest 2010!