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Preserving Bonnet House through our Youth

By June 13, 2023Bonnet House Blog

Evelyn Bartlett stated that she never wanted Bonnet House to change.  Neither do those of us who support the beauty and spontaneity of Bonnet House through our work, service, tranquil visits, and colorful inspiration.  Some of the same things that spark our own playful natures are reflected on the faces of students who visit Bonnet House for onsite Field Trips.  The innocence of being set free in 35-acres of lush landscape replete with a colorful home and courtyard recalls the excitement of special moments in our own childhood.  Is it not a wonder then to realize that the true act of preserving Bonnet House for all time is through our Youth?

This 2022-23 academic year, Bonnet House Museum welcomed 1,830 students and their teachers for onsite field trips.  These fresh and free minds traveled back in time witnessing old Fort Lauderdale blossom into the international city of today just by walking up and over ancient sand dunes.  They followed tidal shifts along the mangrove canals, were charmed by an anhinga fishing in the slough, witnessed all the hues of green along our maritime hammock path, and peeked at a racoon peering out from sprawling branches.  Sometimes, they trekked through rain, but it was worth every drop.  Imagine students who ran up the beach path to see the Atlantic Ocean for the very first time!

Bonnet House Onsite Field Trip Information and Registration can be found by clicking here.  Teachers choose from several programs including, Art, Ecology and History including 2 programs with Stranahan House about the early history of Fort Lauderdale.

The regular Field Trip rate is $8 for our 2-hour program onsite or $14 for a dual program with both Bonnet House and Stranahan House.  It might be surprising to know how difficult it can be for some youth groups to participate, because they must raise money for their students through fundraising.  The Special Rate for Title 1 Schools is $4 per student.  In all, Bonnet House Field Trips become memorable experiences for each young person.  Our special Volunteer Guides broaden the view of this new world through stories from the one-hundred-three-year history of Bonnet House.  A stop at the South Gate Circle takes students even further back when seeing and touching artifacts from a timeline representing Tequesta People and Spanish Explorers who walked through these same natural spaces long ago.

The exceptional thing to realize is that no field trip is ever the same twice.  Even impressions between the groups of students varies dependent upon the time they are viewing the outside realm before entering the sights and sounds of the inner courtyard.  The same school can leave with completely different perspectives from one student to the next.

Moments become memories that last a lifetime.  The special effects of a place and time shape each child with an appreciation for nature, art, design, and a sense of belonging. Building Community was at the heart of the Birch and Bartlett families.  This is still evident today through the Members, Donors, Artists, Volunteers, Visitors, Guests, and Youth who share this kindred spirit.  As we look into the future to preserve and protect the elements of Bonnet House that keep us engaged in its survival, we must promote a palette of experiences for youth to forge future stewardship.  Afterall, it is they who will paint the world.  From these special connections, they will choose to protect and preserve Bonnet House in their own timelines.


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