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Camp Bayou Outdoor Learning Center E-mail
Written by Ruskin Community Development Foundation   
A project of the Ruskin Community Development Foundation, Inc.

Case Statement for Camp Bayou Outdoor Learning Center 2010 Executive Summary:

The Camp Bayou Outdoor Learning Center is a project of the Ruskin Community Development Foundation, Inc. (RCDF), a 501 ( c ) 3 non-profit corporation (FEIN# 65-0545202), in partnership with Hillsborough County Parks, Recreation and Conservation Department. This Center is located in Ruskin, Florida, along the Little Manatee River. It is currently open Thursday - Saturday, 9AM- 2PM. It has been in operation since 1999, through the efforts of volunteers, donations, grants and supporters from all walks of life. In the past 3 years, volunteers have logged over 4000 hours. In that same time, community organizations, local businesses and SWFWMD community grants have contributed over $22,000 in cash and material donations toward developing and implementing our programs, exhibits and events.
Over the course of our partnership with the County we have acquired grants and donations for capital improvements to the property totaling more than $90,000. We host over 1000 children in our various programs each year, plus offer programs for families and adults, including our annual Florida Master Naturalist Program module. Our programs cover a range of topics, from environmental education in general, to Florida habitats in particular, fossils from Florida’s past, life lessons of Florida‘s native people before colonization, our fishing heritage from our more recent past and a native plant nursery as a reflection of our agricultural roots. As part of our partnership, the County will be providing canoes to help further eco-tourism opportunities.

The ten-member RCDF Board oversees one Manager. The Center has the potential to become an outstanding educational center, one that serves the entire population- not just a single school grade or the wealthy or the disadvantaged- everyone who is interested in the world around them: its past, present and ultimately its future.

Mission Statement: To preserve a sample of Florida’s original habitats, in the Little Manatee River Watershed, and to use this Center for the purpose of promoting appreciation and better understanding of our natural resources, local culture and history.

Our budget allows for only a limited amount for publicity, so many folks do not know about us. We wanted to take this opportunity to introduce ourselves and invite you to come visit us one day at Camp Bayou.

Funding is needed to maintain full time staff person(s) and the current, as well as future, programs for the benefit of the community and beyond.

P.O. Box 549
Ruskin, Florida  33570