The Conservancy of Southwest Florida is pleased to welcome Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) Professor of Environmental Education Dr. Heather Skaza-Acosta to the Conservancy team as the new FGCU Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies. In this position, Skaza-Acosta will serve as an environmental education liaison, providing support to the annual Environmental Education Alliance Conference, FGCU student internship programs and environmental education research efforts within the Southwest Florida community.

Skaza-Acosta completed her doctorate in Science Education and her Master of Science in Environmental Policy and Management at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), and earned her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Biology at The Ohio State University. She currently serves as the Assistant Professor of Environmental Education in the Department of Marine and Ecological Sciences at FGCU. Skaza-Acosta has extensive research experience in environmental education, including the development of curriculum and learning assessments for students, as well as professional development resources for educators. She is an active member of the System Dynamics Society, National Association for Research in Science Teaching, National Science Teachers Association, North American Association for Environmental Education and Connecting Hands: Offering Life-long Learning Adventures.

Skaza-Acosta’s position was formed through a partnership between the Conservancy of Southwest Florida and FGCU, designed to strengthen programs and further the missions of each organization. This partnership has since resulted in additional on-site, hands-on learning opportunities for FGCU students at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, through internship opportunities and on-site courses, and shared resources has enabled the Conservancy to enhance current educational programs, including its educational initiative, the STEM Institute. Through the STEM Institute program, the Conservancy provides students with real-world opportunities designed to better understand the scientific method and participate in STEM activities. The program utilizes the latest scientific technology in an immersive natural setting to merge STEM-based curriculum with core instruction.

“We are excited to welcome Dr. Skaza-Acosta to the team and look forward to working with her as we continue to develop and enhance educational programs currently offered at the Conservancy,” said Rob Moher, Conservancy of Southwest Florida president and CEO. “Our partnership with FGCU has proven to be invaluable, enabling us to advance programs that help students connect education to the real world. Dr. Skaza-Acosta’s extensive experience in developing curriculum aligned with STEM education brings great potential to our STEM Institute, and we look forward to seeing this program flourish.”

About the Conservancy of Southwest Florida:

The Conservancy of Southwest Florida is a not-for-profit environmental protection organization with a 50-year history focused on the issues impacting the water, land wildlife and future of Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Conservancy accomplishes this mission through the combined efforts of its experts in the areas of environmental science, policy, education and wildlife rehabilitation. The Conservancy of Southwest Florida, world-class Nature Center and von Arx Wildlife Hospital are headquartered in Naples, Florida, 1495 Smith Preserve Way, south of the Naples Zoo off Goodlette-Frank Road. Learn more about the Conservancy’s work and how to support the quality of life in Southwest Florida