Field trips to Rosebud Continuum are a regular, bi-weekly event for students at Academy at the Lakes during the school year.
Students learn about gardening and sustainable practices for an environmentally friendly world.
Now, Rosebud’s staff members are preparing for a future that will expand its outreach to more schools.
The Pasco County Planning Commission on July 11 approved a special exception permit that will allow Rosebud to operate as a private school.
The expectation is for more students from area schools to come for tours and hands-on-learning. Rosebud also plans to apply to Pasco County Schools for inclusion on a list of approved student support programs and resources.
Rosebud will not be a day school, but instead will be a go-to location for other schools interested in environmental programs, said Jerry Comelias, the site and educational director for the Rosebud Continuum, at 22843 Hale Road in Land O’ Lakes.
Teachers also could attend workshops to learn about Rosebud and sustainability, with a goal of being their students’ tour guides.
“We want to train the trainers,” said Comelias. “We want to make the world a better place.”
In addition to Academy at the Lakes, Blake High School students, from Hillsborough County, were among those making trips to Rosebud in recent months.
Students aren’t the only groups that tour Rosebud.
Visitors from Haiti came earlier this year to learn natural growing practices that they can use at home.
Comelias is a graduate of the Patel College of Global Sustainability at the University of South Florida.
Rosebud Continuum is a partnership between the Patel College, and Sonny and Maryann Bishop, who own the 14-acre site.
Sonny Bishop is a former National Football League player, and a Lakota Sioux.
Rosebud reflects the Bishop family’s philosophy of preserving and advocating for ancient traditions of sustainability, once commonly used in Florida.
The site features a sustainability farm, a wildflower meadow, goats, aquaponics, hydroponics, Florida native plants, beekeeping, and biodigesters that convert food waste into fuel and fertilizer.
The site also has a two-story brick home, a brick garage, a basketball and volleyball court, a hoop-house and a shed.
The metal shed will be designated as a classroom, and the hoop-house will be a greenhouse classroom.
No new structures are planned.
Summer months are mostly about maintenance and cleaning up, and getting geared up for the coming school year, Comelias said.
Tours through the Florida Native Plant Trail, with the wildflower meadow, though, are available on request, he said.
Published July 18, 2018