The FFA is prepared to bring an advanced Marine Lab program and science center to the old Northboro High School building in West Palm Beach. Built in 1925, this historic site has enormous promise. Refurbishing the boarded-up, vacant property could do more than beautify the area. We envision transforming the 4,500-square-foot building into a marine lab destination open to school children from across South Florida.

The FFA’s Marine Lab will teach students of all ages firsthand about the unique species populating local waters, via classroom instruction, field trips by boat and hands-on exploration. Instruction will start in the classroom, at participating South Florida schools, where we will lead students through an abbreviated version of our 12-session basic marine-education course. Students will also examine microorganisms found in live rock, and our aquaponics aquarium tank will demonstrate the growth and life cycle of underwater vegetation. Students and chaperones will then take an FFA bus to the Riviera Beach Marina, where they will board the Thea Marie, our 49-passenger, Coast Guard-inspected, handicapped-accessible catamaran, riding this floating classroom to snorkeling locations off central Palm Beach County. FFA guides will help them identify and collect fish, plant and other marine species. They will then return to the classroom, using microscopes to examine the biological composition of fish and other marine life. As a bonus, our mobile program will include a strong dose of character-building, leadership opportunities and other life lessons, and will be open to disabled and able-bodied students alike. Best of all, the program will be affordable, no more than $50 per student.

The current Northboro renovation proposal has the FFA responsible for raising the necessary money for repairs, improvements and development of the property, along with staffing, equipment, utilities and other expenses. Get ready, volunteers and supporters! We need your help. Call us to learn more about how you help.