The Guana Tolomato Matanzas Research Reserve (GTM) recently received the 2018 Outstanding Business Partner of the Year Award from the St. Johns County Career Academies. The award is given annually to community partners supporting one or more career academies for a number of years on a consistent level.
“We are honored to receive this award for the second time from our community partners," said Dr. Michael Shirley, director of the GTM Research Reserve. “Our environmental education team has been working with this organization for over six years now.”
The reserve also received the award in 2011-12. The GTM education staff works with the Environmental Science strand of the Academy of Engineering and Environmental Science at Creekside High School, conducting vegetation site assessments in the uplands forest. Additionally, students in the Academy of Coastal and Water Resources at St. Johns Technical High School helped build the reserve’s paved sensory trail. After Hurricane Irma, GTM worked with both schools during a marine debris cleanup. Each year, the reserve’s education team mentors new career academies recruits.
The St. Johns County Career Academies depend on the business community to support education programs for local students. In 2017-18, there were 120 business partners working with the 19 career academy programs.