Biophilia cancels summer programs

Special to Gannett
Walton Sun

Paul Arthur, president/director of the Biophilia Center in Freeport, discusses the facility’s summer plans in this recent letter:

After much deliberation and with heavy hearts, we have made the difficult decision to cancel all E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center summer programs for 2020, which includes overnight summer camp at Camp Longleaf, day camp at the Center, and public hours. Our community’s well-being and safety are our highest priorities. With rules and regulations regarding social distancing, group size limits, and travel restrictions ever-evolving, we don’t have a clear understanding of what our shared situation will be over the next few months. Planning and preparing for our summer camp programs take an incredible amount of time and resources, and the unpredictability of our current environment makes this process all the more difficult. With our first camp session only a month away, we want to announce our decision now so that campers and staff can plan accordingly.

Full refunds are available for all campers who have already signed up. The process will take a couple of weeks, but you will see a credit to the credit card used.

Since we can’t bring campers to the Biophilia Center, we are bringing the Biophilia experience to you. Here’s what we have in mind so far:

Join us on social media: Our Biophilia team is creating new behind-the-scenes content and virtual lessons every day and sharing on Facebook and Instagram. We’d love to answer any questions you might have about the longleaf pine ecosystem, gopher tortoises, or prescribed burns (just to name a few).

Adopt an Animal! Our new Adopt an Animal program launched this month. Check out our website to start learning more about our incredible animals and have an animal adoption package mailed to your home.

Be on the lookout for exciting, interactive programs, both virtual and hands-on, to be completed at home with all members of the family.

The decision to cancel was not easy for us. Our summer camp programs are integral to our mission of providing hands-on science education to kids, so we share in your disappointment. However, we are confident this is the right decision and we appreciate your support and understanding.

In addition to creating at-home activities to share with you, the Biophilia team is working hard to update and beautify our campus, as well as care for our beloved animal ambassadors. We look forward to the time when we can once again welcome students, campers, and guests to the Biophilia Center and Camp Longleaf.