Welcome to Learning is for Everyone of Tampa

LIFE of Tampa welcomes everyone, of all races, ethnicities, religions, family compositions, sexual orientations, learning styles, lifestyles, abilities and disabilities, and asks only that rules of civility, kindness and compassion be honored by all, for all.

This homepage and our online discussion group serve as an announcement and resource list for a variety of activities and events.

Visit LIFE of Florida for a great list of statewide and general learning resources.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Anthony H. 4th Annual Homeschool National Geographic Bee Winner

On December 10, the 4th Annual Homeschool National Geographic Bee was held at Starkey Park Educational in New Port Richey. Six homeschooled students competed, from Pasco, Pinellas, and Citrus Counties.

Questions were particularly tough this year. Answers to some of the stumpers were Manitoba, Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria.

Anthony H., age 10, of East Lake was the winner, with Neatia D. , age 13, of Holiday was the first runner-up (above, with event organizer Loni Kaplan). Anthony will take a 70-question written exam to see if he qualifies for the state competition in April.

The Bee was sponsored, in part, by Learning is for Everyone. For more information, or to be put on a list to receive information about next year's bee, please contact Loni Kaplan at adamfolk@hotmail.com

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Young American Creative Patriotic Art Award

RIVERVIEW - Artistic students eager to earn college scholarship money have several months to create patriotic art that could land them thousands.

The Ladies Auxiliary to VFW Post 8108 is looking for students to participate in the Young Patriotic Art Contest, offered to grades nine through 12.

The Young American Creative Patriotic Art Award is one of the many programs available through the auxiliary. "This is a wonderful way to encourage our young people to use their artistic talents to express patriotism, love of country and respect for the American flag," said national chairwoman Patricia Sistrand on the auxiliary's Web site.

"There are now seven scholarships to be awarded on the national level, from $500 to $10,000 for the first-place winner," she said.

"If it gets past the district level and to the national level, that is when they can win the college scholarship money," said local chairwoman Norrine Forrest. "Scholarships are available at varying levels."

Sad as it is, Forrest said, she rarely receives more than a handful of entries. Students are missing out on a huge opportunity for scholarship money, she said. The only requirement for residency is that a student live in Hillsborough County.

Here's how it works:

The art must be on paper or canvas. Water color, pencil, pastels, charcoal, tempera, crayon, acrylic, pen-and-ink or oil can be used. Digital art can be submitted but must be on paper or canvas.

Submit canvas entries on stretched frames. Other entries must be matted in white only.

Anyone choosing to include the American flag in their work must abide by the federal flag code as far as the color and number of stars and stripes and other rules.

All entries must have been completed in the current school year, and a teacher must sign them. Students can submit only one entry.


For deadlines and to obtain an entry form, contact Norrine Forrest at (813) 677-9559.

Last Chance to Register for 4th Annual Homeschool National Geographic Bee

The 4th Annual Homeschool National Geographic Bee in Pasco/Pinellas and surrounding counties, sponsored in part by Learning is for Everyone, will be held Wednesday, December 10 at 2:00 p.m. at Starkey Park Education Center in New Port Richey, FL

For those who wish to compete, please visit the National Geographic Geography Bee website which offers further information and links to study questions:


All are welcome and invited! The following rules apply only to those who go on to the next level (state competition). The competition is for those in grades 4-8. The student may not reach their 16th birthday before May 1, 2009. A student may not be enrolled in more than three academic courses at the high school and/or college level during each school year of the competition.

If you have a question about whether or not your child is age-eligible, please contact Loni Kaplan at

The winner of this bee will take a written test; the top 100 scorers in Florida will be eligible to compete in the state bee in March. The winner of the state bee will be sent to Washington D.C. for the National Geographic Bee in May, 2009, all expenses paid by the National Geographic Society.

The winner and runner-up of our bee will also receive trophies. Every participant will receive a Certificate of Participation.

Please feel free to forward this message on to any other lists you belong to, and any individual you feel may be interested. This bee is open to any homeschooler, regardless of where you may live.

The cost to participate in this bee is just $5/child, to defray the cost of registration with National Geographic.

Please contact me by email, and include your name, your child's name and age. I will contact you closer to the date with further details.

Thank you for your interest!

Loni Kaplan

Monday, December 1, 2008

Brooker Creek Preserve - Upcoming Events, Dec.3-13

Call (727) 453-6800 for information and registration.

Registration is required for some and appreciated for all programs.

Brooker Creek Preserve will never share your email address.

If you would like to be removed from this list, please reply by placing remove and your name in the subject line.

Brooker Creek Preserve Environmental Education Center

3940 Keystone Road

Tarpon Springs, FL 34688

Center Hours:

Wednesday 9:00am - 8:30pm

Thursday - Sunday 9:00am - 4:00pm

Closed Monday, Tuesday and Holidays


Family Night Hikes

Wednesday, December 3 & 17 2008 7:00pm - 8:30pm

Education Services Staff, Environmental Lands Division

Glowing eyes, strange sounds and unusual smells are all experienced as you awaken your senses during this night hike. Join us for a walk to experience the Preserve after dark as we look and listen for the creatures of the night. We will discuss the unique adaptations of nocturnal animals as we explore the Education Center trails. Sturdy closed-toe shoes are a must and a flashlight is optional. Pre-registration is required and space is limited. Admission: Free. Recommended for families with children age 10 and up.

Adult Ecology Workshop: Fungi: Exploring the Wood-Wide-Web

Friday, December 5, 2008 9:00 am – 3:00 pm

Dr. Diane TeStrake – Professor of Biology, University of South Florida

The Adult Ecology Workshop offers a unique opportunity to explore focused topics in natural history under the guidance of noted authorities. Hands-on field and laboratory investigations teach ecology, use of taxonomic keys, and techniques. The workshop will present college-level instruction and is designed to accommodate participants with a broad range of experience. Amateur botanists are welcome, as are those wanting to improve their current skills.

This workshop is an introduction to fungi -- their taxonomy, morphology, physiology, ecology, and economic importance. After an introduction to morphology and collection techniques in the morning, the late morning and early afternoon will be spent collecting samples around the Education Center followed by an afternoon identification and edible lab session with a short film.

Admission: $ 40.00 per person. Space is limited to 25 participants. Recommended for Adults.

Guided Hikes

Saturdays 9:00 am – 11:00 am

Environmental Lands Division Volunteers

Take a walk through time each Saturday morning on a guided hike along the Education Center Trail. Join us for this 0.75 mile walk as we look at how the land has changed over time and discuss the ecological footprints left by those changes. Sturdy closed-toe shoes are a must, and water and a hat are recommended. Pre-registration is required by 12:00 noon on the Friday before the hike. Admission: Free. All ages welcome - children younger than 6 may find this hike challenging.

Beyond Pinellas – Winter Animals

Saturday, December 6, 2008 1:00pm – 2:00pm

Education Services Staff, Environmental Lands Division

Seasonal changes affect wildlife as well as plants and people. As summer turns to fall, and fall to winter, animals must adapt to changing food and weather patterns. Join us for an interesting look at the ways animals around the world survive during harsh winter months. Pre-registration is required. All ages welcome.

Open Classroom – Discovering Nature with Your Child

Sunday, December 7 & 21, 2008 11:00 am – 3:00 pm

Education Services Staff, Environmental Lands Division

Who lives in that skin? What is the difference between a carnivore and an herbivore? Whose tracks are those? Stop by our classroom anytime between 11:00am and 3:00pm to participate in a variety of self-guided nature games and activities that will answer these questions and many more. Pre-registration is not required for this open activity. Admission: Free. Recommended for families with children of all ages.

Cypress Swamp Cafe: Going Organic

Wednesday, December 10, 2008 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm.

Education Services Staff, Environmental Lands Division

Learn about the benefits and impacts of organic farming. Organic products have long been a good alternative for people who are concerned about the presence of chemicals in their food. Today, organic growers are providing much more than food for our tables. Admission: Free. This program is best for adults.

Book Time at Brooker Creek – The Lorax

Thursday, December 11, 2008 10:30am - 11:15am

Education Services Staff, Environmental Lands Division

This program is designed to connect pre-school children to the wonders of the natural world. This week features The Lorax by Dr. Seuss. The Lorax is a story about how cutting down trees can affect the animals that depend on them. This classic tale introduces children to the idea that everything in nature is connected. This program also includes a craft, game or other hands-on activity related to the story. Pre-registration is required for this program. Spaces are limited so register early! Admission: Free. Recommended ages: 3 – 5

Lawn and Garden Help Desk

Thursday, December 12, 2008 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

Pinellas County IFAS Extension

Do you have a mysterious plant in your garden that you just can’t identify? Would you like to know more about landscaping with native plants? A Pinellas County IFAS Extension Horticulture Specialist will be available to help you, at no charge, throughout the day. Stop by the Center’s Resource Center to ask questions about landscaping and gardening, diagnose a plant problem, identify insects and even drop off your soil test sample. Recommended for adults.

Tis the Season for Holiday Plants

Thursday, December 12, 2008 10:00am – 11:00am

Cindy Peacock - Pinellas County IFAS Extension

From holly to poinsettias, the holiday season is the perfect time to decorate with plants. Join Extension Specialist Cindy Peacock to learn how to keep your plants looking their finest right into the New Year. Participants will also learn which are invasive species and find beautiful native alternatives to holiday standards. Pre-registration is appreciated. Admission: Free. Recommended for adults.

Scout Day

Saturday, December 13, 2008 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

Education Services Staff, Environmental Lands Division

Boy Scouts, come join us for this fun day of merit badge activities. Scouts can choose from two three-hour sessions: Bird Study and/or Environmental Science. Activities are designed to help Scouts achieve hard-to-meet requirements for each of these merit badges. All Scouts must be accompanied by an adult or Scout leader. Pre-registration is required and space is limited. Registration opens Monday, October 27, 2008. Admission: $10 per scout per badge. Recommended for Boy Scouts 11 – 17 in age.

Art Builds Florida! Statewide Student Arts Contest - deadline Jan 20

Art Builds Florida! Statewide Student Arts Contest sponsored by Citizens for Florida Arts, Inc. in collaboration with the Florida Department of State’s Division of Cultural Affairs, is open to all Florida high school students in grades nine through 12.

Florida’s 67 counties have been grouped into four regions; each region representing one of the focus areas of the plan.Students can submit original, two-dimensional artwork to assist the Division in promoting the four key areas of Florida’s strategic plan, Culture Builds Florida’s Future.

Finalists will be announced on the Division’s Web site by early February 2009. The four winners and their parent/guardian will be invited to Tallahassee in April 2009 for events recognizing their achievements in the contest.

Simultaneously, an exhibition in the Division of Cultural Affairs Gallery for Innovation and the Arts will feature the work of the finalists next spring. The top winner in each of the four categories, Learning and Wellness, Strengthening the Economy, Design and Development, and Leadership will be awarded a $1,500 cash prize.

For further information including the deadline postmark date and all contest rules and submission guidelines, visit the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs Web site at http://www.florida-arts.org/artcontest or contact Laura Stone, Arts In Education Manager, at (850) 245-6475.