Sandra Stetson Aquatic Center
In early 2017, we will break ground on the Sandra Stetson Aquatic Center on Lake Beresford that will house the Institute in Spring 2016. The ten acre site on the western shore of the lake will be the site of a field lab, floating classroom, outdoor classroom, and botanical garden highlighting native Florida plants. The center will also include a multi-use facility for classwork and community outreach.
The planned aquatic center is the result of a $6 million gift from Sandra Stetson, a great-granddaughter of John B. Stetson. She has long supported garden, wetland and environmental efforts, most recently through her support of the Naples Botanical Garden that contains plants and flowers from around the world. She has also underwritten a partnership between Stetson and the Naples gardens so that Stetson students can engage with professional botanists, researchers and educators there through summer internships.
Lake Beresford is part of the St. Johns River and a short distance from Blue Springs, Hontoon Island State Park, and the Alexander Springs Wilderness Area. The site will be jumping off place for student and faculty research and community engagement for political solutions for the challenges posed by threats to water and our natural environmental.
The Aquatic Center will enhance Stetson research at the Institute for Water and Environmental Resilience and represent Stetson’s core value of being responsible stewards of our natural environment.”
Through the institute and the Sandra Stetson Aquatic Center, Stetson University is poised to emerge as a leader in statewide and nationwide efforts to address the challenges of our strained water resources and associated environmental concerns,” says Paul.
The Aquatic Center is going to make a major difference in what we do,” declared Karen Ryan, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Ryan notes that the new Aquatic Center is more than a place for science. She envisions a facility where Stetson students can take advantage of the center’s recreational opportunities, including canoeing and kayaking.
Another component, according to Ryan, is a community outreach and education function. “The center will host workshops and seminars where noted environmental and policy speakers will give us their viewpoints,” she says. “And this new facility will help us marry science with policy creation.
Our students need to be grounded in both.