Gibraltar Private Field Study Scholarship Program grants 180 Miami-Dade students a visit to the Deering Estate

As part of its continued effort to provide engaging experiential educational enrichment programs to the community, the Deering Estate welcomed 180 students, along with their teachers, at no cost thanks to the generous donation from Gibraltar Private Bank & Trust. Ninety students (second and third graders) from Dr. Edward Whigham Elementary School were hosted on Friday, October 6, and ninety students (third graders) from Colonial Drive Elementary were hosted on Thursday, October 19.

Earlier this year, Gibraltar Private donated $30,000 ($10,000 per year for three years) to fund the “Gibraltar Private Bank & Trust Field Study Scholarship Program at Deering Estate.” The scholarship program provides assistance to under-resourced Miami-Dade County teachers and students allowing them to participate in the Deering Estate’s award winning Environmental Education Enrichment Programs.

“We are delighted to see the first group of students and teachers from our community visit the Deering Estate and experience their hands-on educational and enrichment programs,” said Angel Medina, President and CEO of Gibraltar Private. “The Field Study Programs at Deering Estate are known to expand children’s understanding of the environment, natural resources, humanities and art, as well as science, math and technology through applied practice.”

The bank’s donation provides financial assistance to qualified local Miami-Dade County Title 1 Schools to be used for underwriting the program fees of participating students in the Deering Estate Field Study and/or bus transportation costs transporting students to and from the Deering Estate. Students are required to write a short reflection piece of what was learned during their participation in the field study.

“We are pleased to see Gibraltar Private’s generous gift benefiting the students and teachers from both of these schools,” said Mary Pettit, Executive Director at Deering Estate Foundation. “We are already seeing how these funds are making a difference in the lives of the students in our local community. These kids are the future stewards of our planet and our next generation of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEM+arts) professionals.”

About the Deering Estate
The 450+ acre Deering Estate is an environmental, archaeological and historical preserve. From canoe tours to butterfly walks and guided Historic House & Natural Areas tours, the Deering Estate has diverse activities for the whole family to enjoy. The Estate is part of the Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Space Department, which manages the Estate on behalf of the State of Florida. Discover More art, culture, history, science, preservation, conservation and ecology at the Deering Estate today!

About the Deering Estate Foundation
Established in 1989, The Deering Estate Foundation is a community-based charitable 501(c) 3 Florida Corporation and the philanthropic arm of the Deering Estate.  Its Board of Directors, members and volunteers are made up of a diverse group of business and community leaders who are dedicated advocates of the Estate and active supporters of education, research, cultural arts, environmental conservation and historic preservation.

About Gibraltar Private Bank & Trust
Gibraltar Private is an integrated private banking and wealth advisory company dedicated, since 1994, to enhancing the wealth and well-being of its clients and their families.  Gibraltar Private offers residential and commercial lending, private banking and wealth management services to professionals and professional service firms, corporate executives, families, entrepreneurs and their businesses.  Gibraltar Private has eight full-service offices with its headquarters in Coral Gables, offices in Fort Lauderdale, Downtown Miami, Miami Beach, South Miami, Naples, Ocean Reef and New York.

ArtCare Conservation Lecture Series at the Deering Estate

The Deering Estate is proud to present the first program in a lecture series on Thursday, November 16th from 8:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. with partner ArtCare Miami. The lecture is presented by ArtCare Director Rustin Levenson who will discuss her book, “Seeing Through Paintings” (Yale University Press). The book describes using the materials and techniques of paintings to make art historical assessments. The series is free and open to the public and will be held in the historic Stone House Ballroom. Donations to the Deering Estate’s Artwork Conservation Fund are welcome.

Additional Lectures:
Thursday, January 25, 2018
“Dramatic Conservation: Treatment of Albert Bierstadt’s Domes of Yosemite” with Oliver Watkiss.
Presented by ArtCare, expert Oliver Watkiss will discuss his experience with the structural treatment of paintings. This year ArtCare Conservation undertook the treatment of this large (15′ x 10′) painting from the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum in Vermont.  This work was painted in 1867 and displayed in Boston, Philadelphia, and New York to give viewers a sense of the West.  The treatment included varnish removal and lining. During the treatment new discoveries were made about the working method of the artist and the technical history of the painting.

Thursday, March 15, 2018
“Case Studies in Painting Conservation” with Veronica Romero-Gianoli
Veronica will describe various painting conservation projects carried out in the studio.  Treatments including stabilization, lining, varnish removal, and surface cleaning will be discussed.  The complex decision making process involved in treatments will be explored.

Thursday, May 17, 2018
“Hurricanes: Preparing your Collection and Recovering from a Storm” with Kelly O’Neill
Kelly will illustrate the best methods of protecting a collection during a storm.  She will also discuss the conservation problems encountered at the Deering Estate after Hurricane Irma and describe treatments carried out on the collection.
8 pm to 9:30 pm; Free and open to the public.

Cultural Arts Programming is made possible with support of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners, The 100 Ladies of Deering, and The Deering Estate Foundation, Inc.

About the ArtCare Conservation Lecture Series
The ArtCare Conservation Lecture Series presents specialized topics in art conservation for art lovers, collectors and arts professionals. ArtCare, Inc., a Rustin Levenson Company that specializes in fine art conservation, shares examples of their decades of art conservation and restoration experiences working on individual and museum collection pieces. Join us to learn about best practices in caring for artworks in South Florida, ask questions of the experts, and see onsite restoration projects that are part of the Deering Estate Permanent Collection. The series is free and open to the public and will be held in the historic Stone House Ballroom.

About the Deering Estate
The 450+ acre Deering Estate is an environmental, archaeological and historical preserve. From canoe tours to bird walks and guided Historic House and Natural Areas Tours, the Deering Estate has diverse activities for the whole family to enjoy. The Estate is part of the Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Space Department, which manages the Estate on behalf of the State of Florida. Discover More art, culture, history, science, preservation, conservation and ecology at the Deering Estate today!

Keep Kids on Track during after school hours with Miami-Dade Parks Fit2Play™

It’s 3 p.m. The school bell rings. Now what?

For a majority of the nation’s youth, the hours from the time school lets out to the moment families are reunited are becoming a period of loneliness and boredom. The U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, points out that juvenile violence peaks in the after school hours on school days and in the evenings on non-school days.

Findings from the Harvard Family Research Project indicate that after school programs not only help prevent risky behavior, but also show academic achievement, social and emotional development and improvement in overall health and wellness in participants.

So where can you find safe, supervised and structured after school programs? At a Miami-Dade park!

The Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Space Department invites parents to enroll their kids in one of two specialized programs.  The “Fit2Play™: Health, Wellness, and Physical Activity” after-school program, for ages 6-14, is nationally-acclaimed and designed to help children discover the “fun” in fitness and develop healthy habits for a lifetime.  Kids will stay fit with fully-supervised activities focused on fitness, nutrition, and wellness, and developing their appreciation of nature, science, and the cultural arts.

Fit2Play will be held Monday – Friday, 2 – 6 p.m., August 21, 2017 through June 8, 2018, throughout the school year and school vacation breaks, at 25 Miami-Dade park locations.

Program fees range from $25-$35 per week. Financial assistance may be available to qualifying families based on the availability of funds. Miami-Dade County Parks also offers transportation from select schools to park sites, for an additional charge, making the program all the more convenient for parents.

Returning for a second season is Miami-Dade Parks’ “Fit2Lead Youth Enrichment & Sports (Y.E.S.)” program, for ages 12-14. The program is presented in collaboration with the Department of Juvenile Services and local universities. Its aim is to empower youth through sports and recreation – where they will learn life and leadership skills through personal, academic, career, and citizenship enrichment activities.

Fit2Lead Y.E.S. is offered free of charge during the regular school calendar year, Monday – Friday, 4 – 7 p.m., at 10 county parks. Transportation from the student’s school to the park may be available, depending on the location.

Make the most out of your child’s after school time, register today!

The Value of Parks

The iconic components of most major cities are found in their parks. Central Park in New York, Chicago’s Millennium Park, Boston Manor Park in Boston and San Francisco’s Golden State Park, to name a few. What these cities knew early on was that not only do these parks transform their city’s skyline, but they also provide real value and a return on investment.

The measurable economic value of a city with a well-designed and well-maintained network of city parks is reflected in the strength of its economy, the condition of its environment and the health of its residents and communities.

In short, parks build better cities – making them sustainable, liveable and vibrant.

One of the most visible traits of an attractive and healthy city, and an essential component of its infrastructure, is a healthy park system that includes plenty of greenways, trails, blueways, open spaces and great streets. This type of park system spurs economic development by attracting homebuyers and boosting residential property values.

To help increase the County’s social, economic and environmental values and overall livability and visitor experience, Miami-Dade Parks created and is implementing the Open Space Master Plan. The plan creates a healthier, greener and more economically vibrant community, built on principles of equity, access, beauty, seamlessness, sustainability and multiple benefits.

Conservation and stewardship are an integral part of Miami-Dade Parks’ management practices. The department maintains 26,000 acres of natural areas including the Western Greenway and its conservation plan protects the fresh water of the Everglades and addresses adaptation to climate change. An expanding landscape of native trees and vegetation offers low cost and natural solutions to issues of rising sea levels, storm water runoff and air pollution. Successfully working to grow Miami’s inadequate tree canopy, more than 220,000 new trees have been planted since Neat Streets Miami first launched the Million Trees Miami campaign in 2011.

The health of a community begins with the health of its residents – no matter the age. Miami-Dade Parks together with long-time park partner, the University of Miami School of Medicine have evidence-based results for the improved health of underserved, at-risk youth participating in the Parks Department’s Fit2PlayTM program, touted as a low-cost, high-value solution and national model in fighting the childhood obesity epidemic. For the over 55 active adult population, the department utilizes the nationally recognized evidence-based EnhanceFitness® exercise program, designed to improve functional fitness and well-being. Through a combination of strength-training, flexibility and cardio-conditioning exercises – everything that health professionals say is needed to maintain health and function at any age – older adults have an opportunity to improve their overall health.

An integral component to sustaining natural areas, increasing value and improving the health and resiliency of residents and communities is making an investment in parks.

Isn’t it time we started?

Volunteer Days

The Parks Foundation Has Launched Parks Passport

The world’s greatest park systems have conservancies and foundations to help sustain them now and for the future. The National Park Service receives support from the National Park Foundation, and New York’s Central Park is supported by the Central Park Conservancy. In that same way, the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade works to raise funds and be a conduit of support to help maintain South Florida’s largest, most historic park system: Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department.

Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces is the nation’s third-largest park system, proud of its uniquely rich profusion of 270 parks and 13,573 acres of land, beaches, trails, golf courses, and attractions like Zoo Miami and the Deering Estate. Not surprisingly though, basic government funding is inadequate to maintain, expand and sustain such a vast park system in one of the nation’s largest and ever-growing metropolitan areas.

The Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade is a 501 (c)3, non-profit organization established to support Miami-Dade Parks. The function of the organization is to ensure the present and future operation of these beautiful parks and facilities continues, and to provide quality recreational programs for every segment of the community.

The Foundation works with groups to adopt-a-park through volunteer and service projects. It also collaborates with organizations, donors and partners to build landmark parks and facilities, and to provide programs for children, seniors, people with disabilities, and at-risk communities.  Donations to the Parks Foundation have helped thousands of children learn-to-swim and hundreds more attend summer camp and afterschool programs.

The easiest way to get involved is by becoming a member.

The Foundation has launched a membership program called Parks Passport. This program offers new prices and appealing benefits, such as 25-percent-off admission to attractions including Zoo Miami, the Deering Estate and Miami EcoAdventures™.

Whichever way you choose to become involved, whether as a member, an advocate or a volunteer, what you do now will impact parks for future generations.  Let’s work together to make sure that parks are here to stay in this community.  The following are just some of the ways parks make a difference in communities:

  • Parks, greenways and trails enable and encourage people to exercise.
  • Exposure to nature improves psychological and social health.
  • Parks help build healthy, stable communities.
  • Park programs offer a variety of activities for everyone to enjoy.

For more information on the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade and how you can get involved, visit