Jupiter Community High School has received a $310,000 donation from the Perry J. Cohen Foundation to fund the permanent transformation of the retention pond in front of the school into the Perry J. Cohen Wetlands Laboratory and outdoor classroom for the school’s Environmental Research & Field Studies Academy.
The Perry J. Cohen Foundation – along with the help of private individuals and corporate sponsors such as The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, The Miami Dolphins Foundation, Art Miami, LLC and The Telvi Family – is transforming the retention pond where materials will be planted most recognized as the five ecozones of Florida, ranging from the Coastal Upland Hammock to the Littoral Shelf just inside the shallow portion of the pond.
In addition, the design includes a bridge with stairs into the water and an ADA boardwalk into the deepest part of the pond. These hardscape elements will provide platforms from which students can access the water safely for taking water samples and teachers can conduct lessons. A nature trail with interpretive signage will identify the varied plant material and the ecozones. The Wetlands Laboratory will be used by students from the entire school for research, analysis, monitoring, and biology lessons.
“Eight years ago, Phil Weinrich and a team of Environmental Academy students planned this wetland project to create an outdoor classroom on campus and provide habitat for native species. The students’ scope and vision of this project was so huge that we never truly thought it would ever come to fruition due to our limited resources and connections,” said Jessamyn Ramsey, lead teacher for the Academy. “We stand here today, with the Perry J. Cohen Foundation, thankful for their generosity and interest in our school, students, and wetland.”
In the fall of last year, Phase 1 of the project was completed with the construction of the outdoor classroom donated by US Paverscapes, Yukon Construction, and Supermix Concrete.
World-renowned artist Shepard Fairey came to Jupiter Community High in December to paint a special mural which he donated in support of the Perry J. Cohen Wetlands Laboratory and the Jupiter Environmental Research Field Study Academy (JERFSA) program at Jupiter Community High. The mural features elements of the environment, nature, wildlife, the Jupiter Lighthouse, an iconic structure of Jupiter and the portrait of Perry Cohen, the project’s namesake.
“Because of Perry’s deep love for the sea, a highlight of the foundation’s work is the creation of the Perry J. Cohen Wetlands Laboratory at Jupiter High School and its annual continuing education scholarship program that will recognize deserving students who plan to further their education in the Marine Science and Environmental Education fields, as well as the preservation of our coastlines,” Pamela Cohen said.
The PJC Foundation has also worked with Jupiter Community High for the last three years to develop and fund a boating safety education program through the community school.
“On behalf of the Environmental staff and students, we would like to acknowledge the tremendous effort put forth by the Perry J. Cohen Foundation to make our eight-year dream a reality,” Ramsey said.
For more information on the Perry J. Cohen Foundation and the Wetland Laboratory, visit www.pjc.org.