On April 17, 2012, Governor Rick Scott signed Florida’s budget, which included a $4.5 million investment for Tallahassee Community College to construct an environmental institute in Wakulla County, and the Wakulla Environmental Institute was born.
In 2013, TCC purchased and broke ground on 158 acres off of Crawfordville Highway for WEI. The large, beautiful tract of land featured a sinkhole, wetlands and a natural bridge, and would easily accommodate a world-class facility to fulfill the Institute’s three-part mission of education, conservation and recreation. A year later, the United States Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration announced a grant of $1.5 million to TCC for “core infrastructure improvements that will enable the construction of the Wakulla Environmental Institute.” Construction was completed and WEI’s first building opened in early 2016.
To make Wakulla County a world-class destination that brings together education,conservation and recreation in a manner that stimulates economic development in an environmentally responsible way.
WEI was created to highlight Wakulla’s natural heritage and biodiversity through education. The Institute offers environmentally-focused certificates and educational programs including:
- Green Guide Environmental Education Program
- Oyster Aquaculture Certification
- Unmanned Technology (Drone) Applications
Interested in our programs or opportunities? Learn more about our programs of study or contact Bob Ballard at (850) 558-3500 or email@example.com.
The Institute is situated on 158 acres of untouched land which includes pine forest, a natural land bridge, sink holes and swamp. The campus’ first building boasts 10,000 square feet of classrooms, meeting spaces, a state-of-the-art wet lab, and plenty of covered porch area ideal for taking in the beautiful campus scenery. The most striking feature is the dog trot, a three-story tall indoor/outdoor space that runs the width of the building, opening on one end to the entrance, the other end to the natural stone fireplace and back porch, and above to a roof-top cupola which facilitates ventilation for the entire building.
Everything at WEI is designed with the environment in mind, from the insulated concrete walls and LED bulbs, to the solar-paneled parking lot and rain collection tanks for use in cooling the air conditioning and flushing toilets.
Moreover, since its inception WEI has worked closely with several state agencies and numerous businesses in conservation throughout the Big Bend to develop a conscientious strategy for our educational programs. WEI is always mindful of the responsibility we share with the citizens of Wakulla to be good stewards of the environment.
Wakulla has a lot to offer and we want to see it grow and flourish by providing recreational and environmental opportunities for its citizens and visitors. As WEI continues to grow and develop, we will be implementing initiatives to bring together recreation with education and conservation.
Area attractions include:
Home of one of the world's largest and deepest freshwater springs where visitors can swim, hike, snorkel, lodge, enjoy boat tours down the Wakulla River and more.
Offers a one-of-a-kind experience to visitors wishing to get up-close and hands-on with thousands of animals including sharks, sea turtles, sea horses and hermit crabs.
One of the country's oldest refuges encompassing 17,000 acres of protected acres and home to the historic St. Marks Lighthouse.
This scenic state park features excellent biking, boating, hiking, fishing, picnicking, camping and swimming for visitors.
Includes a museum and a national landmark on the site of a former Spanish fort which dates back to 1528.
The Capital City to the Sea Trails (CC2ST) is envisioned to be a series of trails that will connect various regions of Leon County and Wakulla County and currently includes Tallahassee-St. Marks Historic Railroad State Trail and the Ochlockonee Bay Bike Trail. When completed, WEI will serve as a trailhead for the trail with facilities for bikers.