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  I LOVE Science

I LOVE Science (Increasing Local Opportunities for Volunteers Enthusiastic about Science) is looking for volunteers interested in leading monthly, one hour hands-on science activities in fifth-grade classrooms during the 2009-2010 school year. Training for volunteers will be on August 17 at 5:30 pm at the Gulf Power Corporate Office on Bayfront Parkway.

I LOVE Science was launched in 2006 to increase the frequency of hands-on science activities in our schools, to inspire future scientists and to improve FCAT science scores.

It was created by a partnership between the Gulf Power Company, the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC), former state Rep. Holly Benson, and the Escambia and Santa Rosa County School Districts.

"It‘s critical that today’s youth develop an interest in science and engineering," said Susan Story, president & CEO of Gulf Power Company. "We need to help them build on that interest through education that prepares them for high quality careers in a future that will require those skills."

Volunteers are partnered directly with classroom teachers in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. They are given activity guides, materials and training on the lessons. Volunteers do not need to be scientists; they just need to care about science education.

Students and teachers give the program high marks. The students look forward to volunteers’ visits and enjoy the activities and the change of pace.

Many volunteers also enjoy the experience. “It helps children develop a true interest in science and math and a broader knowledge of why they’re so important in everyday life,” said Vaughn Nichols, Gulf Power employee. “If we catch them when they are young we can instill an excitement that will carry on through their school years.”

Evidence shows that participation in hands-on activities increases students’ interest in and knowledge of science. In addition, science role models can increase students’ interest in pursuing scientific careers. Through this program, we are working together to build Northwest Florida’s workforce of the future.

To volunteer, please contact Nancy Stanley at or 850-439-2623 for an Escambia County school or Charlene Kincaid at or 850-983-5051 for a Santa Rosa County school. Volunteers may choose any school in either county or let the program coordinators help them choose.