TALLAHASSEE – Governor Charlie Crist and the Florida Cabinet presented a resolution at Tuesday’s Cabinet Meeting recognizing September 8, 2007, as International Literacy Day. In celebration, the Department’s Florida State Parks are partnering with the Department of Education’s (DOE) Just Read, Florida! program, the Department of State, the Florida Lottery, Volunteer USA Foundation, Florida Literacy Coalition, Adult and Community Educators of Florida, and local libraries and reading programs to promote the importance of literacy and environmental education.

“State parks are a natural setting for a collaboration of environmental education and literacy,” said Secretary Sole. “We look forward to working with our partners during this month-long effort to encourage education as well as recreation within Florida’s state parks, which offer a wide array of natural and cultural resources.”

Florida’s state parks are highlighting literacy with special events across the state. In addition, throughout the month of September, visitors to any state park can enter for free by presenting a library card or library book, or by donating a new or gently used family book. DOE will help distribute donated books to under-privileged children throughout the state. To encourage environmental education, age-specific reading lists will be distributed to libraries and schools that focus on Florida’s wildlife, history and recreational opportunities. With funding from the Florida Lottery, Literacy Month bookmarks will be distributed at Barnes and Nobles, Borders, Public Libraries and Senior Centers throughout the state.

“This wonderful celebration will help to highlight the depth of Florida’s natural, cultural and literary resources,” said Education Commissioner Jeanine Blomberg. “Through it, we are able to focus the public’s attention on the importance of reading, a key building block to future academic success.”

The first two-time Gold Medal winner honoring the nation’s best state park service, Florida’s state park system is one of the largest in the country with 160 parks spanning 700,000 acres and 100 miles of sandy white beach. From swimming and diving in Florida’s rivers and springs to birding and fishing or hiking and riding on natural scenic trails, Florida’s state parks offer year-round outdoor activities for all ages. Battle reenactments and Native American festivals celebrate Florida’s unique history, while art shows, museums and lighthouses offer a window into Florida’s cultural heritage.

For more information about the Department’s Florida State Parks, visit www.FloridaStateParks.org. To learn more about DOE’s Just Read, Florida! program, visit www.justreadflorida.com. For information on library services available online, go to www.dos.state.fl.us.

 

R E S O L U T I O N

 

 

 

WHEREAS, September 8, 2007 marks the 40th anniversary of the worldwide observance of International Literacy Day, and

 

WHEREAS, reading is critical to the success of adults and children as Florida and the world move toward an increasingly technological future; and

 

WHEREAS, more than twenty percent of Florida’s adults experience literacy issues, according to the Florida Literacy Coalition, that severely impact their lives and families, their ability to work productively and their full participation as citizens and residents of our state, and

 

WHEREAS, parents create an environment for their children’s lifelong learning potential and the reading habits of children become the foundation for their future educational and employment success, and

 

WHEREAS, the Department of Environmental Protection’s Florida Park Service is partnering with the Volunteer USA Foundation, the Florida Literacy Coalition, and the Adult and Community Educators of Florida, the Florida Department of Education’s Just Read, Florida!,  the Department of State’s Division of Library and Information Services and the Department of Lottery in sponsoring reading and literacy activities in state parks, and

 

WHEREAS, the 161 Florida State Parks are planning special activities and many will host literacy and interpretive events for the entire month of September to emphasize the importance of literacy in general and reading about the environmental, cultural and historic significance of their geographic areas specifically, and

 

WHEREAS,  Florida State Parks will waive the admission fee during the month of September for all visitors who donate a new or used book, show a valid library card or show a book checked out from a library, and

 

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that September 8, 2007 is declared International Literacy Day in Florida, and 

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Department of Environmental Protection’s Florida Park Service and its partner organizations are to be commended for their demonstrated commitment to literacy and reading and to raising the awareness of the importance of a literate citizenry to all Floridians.