Field Trips

AESS conference field trips offer attendees a chance to explore on and off-campus sights in and around Orlando. From kayaking to walking tours, there’s something for everyone. Trips will require a reservation (made during regular conference registration). Costs will be paid during registration. Scroll to read trip descriptions.

Sustainability Initiatives and the UCF Natural Lands (the Arboretum)

This tour includes a hike in the morning and a tour of the natural lands of UCF, the Arboretum. The Arboretum is more than a 1000 acres and is mostly managed for conservation. There is an apiary, and the Arboretum is host to endangered species like the gopher tortoise. We will then tour efforts under the UCF Office Sustainability Initiatives that include energy programs that work toward the goal of making UCF carbon neutral, and efforts to make UCF a zero waste campus.  

  1. Good to know: 8am start. Max 25 spots for this tour. Bring a hat, closed-toed shoes, sunscreen and insect repellant.
  2. Duration: Arboretum tour is 60 minutes with a 60 minute presentation and small tour from Sustainability Initiatives.
  3. Fee $0
"20160409-IMG_5721" flickr photo by kellyv shared under a Creative Commons (BY-ND) license
UCF Arena

Tour of Orlando sustainability programs and Fleet Farming organized by the NGO IDEAS for US

Orlando recently won a large award from Michael Bloomburg to fight climate change, and the city has developed several programs to make Orlando a livable, “smart” city.  We will also tour a neighborhood working on Fleet Farming. Fleet Farming is a non-profit urban agriculture program whose mission is to empower all generations to grow food to increase local food accessibility. Their vision is to create localized food systems that bring communities together towards a healthier, more connected world in harmony with people and planet. They accomplish this by converting underutilized lawn space into productive localized edible gardens or micro farms. The program works to provide edible landscaping to schools, community centers, affordable housing units, businesses and individuals through our community farming initiative and edible landscapes garden installation service. Transportation to/from the University included.

  1. Good to know: 8am start. Bring a hat, sunscreen, and water.
  2. Fee $20
By IDEAS For Us - official logo, CC BY 4.0,

Orlando Wetlands

The Orlando Wetlands Park is a man-made wetland designed to provide advanced treatment for reclaimed water from the City of Orlando and other local cities. The Park is 1650 acres in size and located in Christmas, Florida. There is a lot of wildlife there, and a very high chance of seeing alligators. Transportation to/from the University is included.

  1. Good to know: 8am start. 10 person minimum for tour to run. Bring a hat, closed-toed shoes, sunscreen and insect repellant.
  2. Duration: 90 minute easy to moderate loop hike
  3. Fee $20
"Various Pictures from Orlando Wetlands Park (Christmas, Florida) - October 20th & 21st, 2017" flickr photo by cseeman shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-SA) license

Kayaking on the Coast

We will kayak through Haulover Canal in the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, rich with birds and wildlife such as manatees. Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge is a 140,000 acres on the Atlantic coast of Florida’s largest barrier island. This tour has a 100% chance of manatee sighting and a 50% chance of dolphin sighting.

  1. Good to know: 8:00am start. 20 person minimum for tour to run. It’s recommended that participants bring water shoes or water sandals (if they have them), sunscreen, hat, sunglasses and a dry bag if they want to bring a camera or phone on the kayak.
  2. Recommended attire: quick drying material clothes, bathing suit, or anything you’re OK getting wet.
  3. Duration: tour will return to UCF at 1:00pm
  4. Fee $70

Trip details will be emailed to participants later in the spring after registration. In general, breakfast will on your own before trips leave from UCF. Participants will have the opportunity to eat lunch with their trip or on their own on- or off-campus. Trips will be led by an AESS or UCF volunteer.