Splash! School Grants

Approved Field Studies Programs


Please read these important details:

  • Select a program (not just location) from this list if applying for Grant Type Four.
  • Notice the counties in parenthesis next to each location. You may select a field trip program only if your school’s county is listed.
  • Notice the grade levels in parenthesis next to each program. Select a field trip program that accommodates your student’s grade level(s).
  • You are responsible for contacting the field trip location/provider for additional details including the price, availability and scheduling. Contact them for prices to include on the budget portion of your grant application.
  • Classroom activities are required for all Grant Types and help reinforce and expand freshwater concepts.
  • If you’d like to submit another field trip program for consideration, please email a thorough description of the program and how it encompasses freshwater education to the Splash! grant program manager at Mary.Kassabaum@WaterMatters.org for her review and approval.

Archbold Biological Station (Highlands) (Grades K–12)

With enough notice, the Archbold Education Office can work with teachers to design a field trip program for students of all ages. It is the teacher’s responsibility to confirm the field trip is focused on freshwater.

Around the Bend Nature Tours (Manatee and Sarasota)

Crab Inquiry (Grades K–3)
Students will explore a mangrove forest while gaining an understanding of estuaries and habitats. Students will also learn about the animals that call this habitat home with a hands-on storytelling activity.

Dip Net Estuary Study (Grades 4–12)
Students learn about estuarine habitats through dip netting in the grass flats and guided nature hikes through mangrove forests and estuarine shorelines. Students will learn how their actions and nonpoint source pollution affect the estuarine habitats.

Ecosystems Field Study (Grades 3–8) By comparing different environments, students will begin to consider how non-living elements influence living conditions in an ecosystem. Students learn about estuarine habitats and the importance of water conservation and the water cycle.

Low Impact Development Stormwater Management Field Study (Grades 8–12) Students will learn how the principals of Low Impact Development positively affect a watershed while analyzing water quality. Students will also learn the distinction between native, nonnative, and nonnative invasive plants.

Pond Study – field study on school campus (Grades K–12)
Students will understand the impact of human activities on water quality and the importance of protecting our watersheds through studying their school’s stormwater pond. Elementary students will focus on the pond’s ecosystem while middle and high school students will perform and analyze water quality tests to determine the best practices for urban landscaping and development.

Scrub Ecosystem Study (Grades 4–12)
Students will discover how the Florida scrub habitat is significant to local ecology and how habitat restoration is an important land management tool. Students will also identify native and nonnative plant species.

Bok Tower Gardens (Polk and Highlands)

Pinewood Estate Pond Study (Grades K-5)
Students will understand the impact of human activities on water quality and the importance of protecting our watersheds through studying PineWood Estate Pond. Students will use dip nets to discover life in the pond, test for water quality, and discuss the pond food web as well as possible sources of pollution for the pond.

Pine Ridge Preserve Trail (Grades K-5)
Students will be led through the preserve on a trail that winds through the native sandhill ecosystem showcasing longleaf pines, turkey oaks, and a variety of grasses. Activities include a comparison of water percolation through different types of soil, how plants have adapted to water availability in the sandhill ecosystem, and contrasting the native sandhill ecosystem with the intentional plantings at Bok Tower Gardens.

Wild Garden Ecosystems Field Study (Grades K-5)
Students will be led through eight acres of native plantings including a pine savannah, oak hammock, wetland prairie, and bog, as well as a boardwalk hike. Students will compare the four different ecosystems with respect to water availability and the plants and animals that live there. While exploring students will discuss adaptations needed to live in these ecosystems, the important role of each of these ecosystems, and have an interactive scavenger hunt to differentiate between the ecosystems.

Brooker Creek Preserve (Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas)

Students will be led through the preserve by professional biologists and naturalists as they learn about water resources through the following possible activities: wetland boardwalk hike, dip netting, interactive scavenger hunt, freshwater ecology and wildlife, ecosystem or habitat management, and more.

Camp Bayou Outdoor Learning Center (Hillsborough and Manatee) (Grades K–12)

Students will visit the Little Manatee River to learn about biodiversity. Activities are catered to the appropriate age and may include: water quality testing, aquatic insects, wetland walk, watershed model demonstration, water cycle activities and more. Please tell the center this is part of a Splash! school grant.

Charlotte Harbor Environmental Education Center (Charlotte)

With two locations, Alligator Creek and Cedar Point, the CHEC offers a variety of hands-on educational programs on land or in the water.

Crystal Springs Preserve (Hillsborough, Pasco, Polk, Sumter)

Hanging out in the Habitat (Grades K–5)
Students will learn about habitats, niches, ecosystems and food webs. Students also explore the Preserve and karst rock topography, along with native and nonnative species of plants and animals.

River Rats Water Adventure (Grades 3–5)
Students will tour the Preserve’s habitats and learn about the Hillsborough River and the Floridan Aquifer System. Students will perform a biodiversity survey using dip nets to catch and identify the invertebrates and vertebrates that live in the waters of the Preserve.

Awesome Aquifers (Grades 3–5)
Students will learn about the Preserve, water conservation and pollution by creating a watershed model that represents their community. Once constructed, students will determine what happens to all the runoff and watch as pollution from one part of the watershed affects the entire watershed.

What’s In Your Water? (Grades 6–8)
Through an in-depth hands-on experience, students will collect and analyze water samples from around the preserve. Using chemical water testing kits, students will determine dissolved oxygen, pH, and other basic chemical levels. Students will be guided through a discussion of their results and explore how these levels effect the overall health of the waters on the Preserve.

River Critter Roundup (Grades 6–8)
Students will tour the Preserve and learn how the water in the spring gets to and from the aquifer. Students will do a biodiversity survey of the invertebrates and vertebrates that live in the river and explore diversity and ecosystem health.

Florida Chemistry (Grades 9–12)
While exploring the various habitats at the Preserve, students will collect water samples from each. They will use chemical tests to compare dissolved oxygen, nitrate, and pH levels of their samples. Students will brainstorm using their results to determine the health of the habitats.

Rolling In the River (Grades 9–12)
Students will perform an in-depth benthic Investigation of the Hillsborough River. Students will wade into the river with sampling nets and collection tubs collecting macro-invertabrates and vertabrates.

Advanced Biology and AP Biology (Grades 9–12)
Use the Preserve to enhance biology lessons. The Preserve staff can help customize a program to cover a wide range of topics from plant and animal diversity to ecology and environmental impact.

Advanced Environmental Science and AP Environmental Science (Grades 9–12)
Use the Preserve to enhance AP environmental science lessons. The Preserve staff can help customize a program to cover a wide range of topics from ecosystems and nutrient cycles to human impact on an environment.

Rockin’ Out with CSP (Grades 9–12)
Students will understand that hydrology, topography and soil type are key factors in determining Florida’s habitats. Students will investigate the geology of Florida by performing geological experiments on different rocks and minerals. Using water chemistry kits, students will test water samples for dissolved oxygen, nitrates, and pH. Students will also perform soil tests to check soil type and pH.

Tech Trek (Grades 9–12)
Students will use geocaching to explore Florida’s wetland habitat while using hand held GPS units. Students will learn about the karst rock topography and native plants and animals of the woods and river.

Explorations V (Polk)

Water Maters! Workshop (Grades K–5)
Students will complete hands-on activities to learn more about the water cycle, water conservation and water pollution. Students will also learn about different sources of water and how water is made up. The interactive Water Matters! exhibit reinforces the topics explored during the workshop.

Florida Aquarium (Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas and Polk)

Exploring the Bay (Grades 5–12)
Students will board the Aquarium’s catamaran to tour Tampa Bay, Florida’s largest open-water estuary. Students will learn about the rivers and freshwater tributaries flowing into the Bay, the important habitats surrounding the Bay and the plant and animal species that make up the Bay’s estuarine ecology.

The Wonders of Water (Grades 6–8)
This 60-minute program is appropriate for up to 30 middle school students. Through engaging educational activities, students will learn about the chemical and physical properties of water, conduct an experiment to highlight the similarities and differences between fresh and salt water properties, and see how humans impact water quality through basic water chemistry and an ocean acidification experiment.

Bayside Discoveries (Grades 6–12) (Hillsborough, Manatee, Pinellas and Sarasota)
This 90-minute program appropriate for 15–50 students is located at the Florida Conservation and Technology Center in Apollo Beach. Students will explore the health of Tampa Bay by wading in the water and using seine nets and box sieves to sample aquatic biodiversity.

Secrets of the Swamp (Grades 2–8)
During this outreach program, an expert instructor comes to your school and takes students on a journey through Florida’s most valued treasure, the Florida Everglades and compares the similarities and differences to our own local treasure, the Green Swamp! Students (no more than 125) will examine biofacts and meet LIVE animals that call the swamp their home.

Animal Ambassadors (K–12)
During this outreach program, students will meet a variety of animals from the local watershed without leaving school. Students will learn how each animal fills an important niche and how they depend on the watershed for their survival. This informal program is a great option for large audiences (15–125 students) or groups with a wide age range.

Florida Bass Conservation Center (FBCC) (Hernando, Pasco and Sumter)

Also known as the old Richloam Fish Hatchery, the FBCC is a state-of-the-art fish hatchery and research facility dedicated to reproducing and conserving Florida’s largemouth bass and other popular freshwater fishes. Water quality testing can be done at the FBCC but grantees may need to instruct the testing if FBCC staff is not available at the time of the field program.

Glazer Children’s Museum (Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas and Polk)

Remember students must participate in one of these learning workshops.
Learning Workshops (Grades 2–4)
Please request at least two of the three learning workshops.
Sinkholes
Explore the good, the bad and the ugly of one of Florida’s most unpredictable phenomena.
States of Matter
Explore water molecules in three different states of matter.
Wetlands
Explore why wetlands are important and how they protect Florida’s ecosystems.

Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park (Citrus, Marion)

The park features a children’s education center, providing hands-on experiences about Florida’s environment including an aquifer display. With enough notice, park staff can arrange an educational program on springs. It is the teacher’s responsibility to confirm the field trip is focused on freshwater.

Institute of Florida Studies at Hillsborough Community College (Hillsborough)

The Environmental Studies Centers are designed for the study of the ecology, biology, ecosystems and understanding of the natural areas of Florida. Facilities are located at Cockroach Bay, English Creek and Upper Tampa Bay Park. These field programs are suitable for grades 1–12.

Cockroach Bay is located on the southeastern shore of Tampa Bay. Students will board boats and use seine nets and sieves to collect organisms for study. Students will also partake in a nature walk and other educational activities.

English Creek is located east of Plant City in Hillsborough County. Students will conduct water sampling and collect aquatic organisms on the creek. Students will also learn about the four plant communities surrounding the creek: open grasslands, mesic flatwoods, upland mixed forest and bottomland forest.

Upper Tampa Bay Park is on the northern shore of Tampa Bay and hosts six different plant communities for students to learn about. Those are flatwoods, wet prairies, salt barrens, seagrass beds, mangrove forest and salt marshes. Students will study the wetlands by using seine nets and sieves to collect organisms.

Lowry Park Zoo (Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas)

Wetlands Connection (Grades 4–8)
Students will participate in an experiment, have an encounter with an animal ambassador, go on a scavenger hunt and more as they learn about wetlands and the vital role they play in Florida’s ecology.

Mad Science (serving all counties in the SWFWMD)

“What Do You Know About H2O?” (Grades K–5)
This entertaining special event for up to 400 students is brought right to your school’s campus. Students will explore the amazing properties of water, interact with water in its three different states and learn about the amount of freshwater on earth and ways to conserve it. Program includes teacher resources.

“Wacky Water” (Grades 1–8)
During this hands-on workshop, for up to 22 students, students create their own multi-density wave bottles while learning about water, its properties and its environment including a fun trip around Florida’s water cycle. Investigate water density and pollution by creating density stackers. Program includes take-home materials for students and teacher resource guides.

“Earth Awareness” (Grades 1–8)
In this workshop, for up to 22 students, discover how we can help save our planet by becoming more aware of its precious resources. Investigate water filtration and build a natural filter system. Learn about the world’s deadliest predator – packaging. Students will design a pollution solution with each topic and discover the incredible properties of water Jelly Marbles. Program includes take-home materials for students and teacher resource guides.

“Black and Blue Waters: Making a Pollution Solution!” (Grades 3–8)
Students will learn the importance of Earth’s precious water resources and ways to protect them through the design and test of a mock oil spill. Students will also learn about water conservation.

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens (Sarasota, Manatee)

Fantastic Florida: Florida’s Native Plants (Grades K–12)
Students will discover the Gardens with a focus on coastal ecology and plant collections, specifically the red, black and white mangroves. Hands-on activities will be conducted such as collecting, examining and comparing mangrove leafs and identifying other plants and their functions. Grant funds shall not be used for the Florida Bird’s add-on option.

Mote Marine Aquarium (Sarasota, Manatee)

Field Sampling Techniques (Grades 6–12)
Students will learn about the estuarine ecology of Sarasota Bay while using dip nets, seine nets and core samplers in the seagrass beds and sand flats of Sarasota Bay.

Habitat Hoopla! (Grades K–5)
Students will wade into Sarasota Bay with dip nets while learning about the estuary habitat and the scientific method.

Planet H2O Laboratory Program (Grades 3–5)
Discover the water cycle with hands-on experiments and simulations.

MOSI (Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas)

Wetland Wonders (Grades 3–5)
Students will conduct scientific investigations in the field and lab to learn how their actions affect water and the importance of our water resources. Activities include pollutant identification in water samples, animal and plant identification on a hike through MOSI’s wetlands, and specimen collection and identification.

Wetland High Tech Investigators (Grades 6–12)
Students will conduct water quality testing using chemical kits, probes, sensors and other technologies. Students will then use their creativity to build robotic sensors that move in and out of wetland areas to collect or test water in the MOSI Back Woods. Students will reflect on how their actions affect water purity and pollution.

Myakka River State Park (Manatee and Sarasota)

The Myakka River flows through 57 square miles of wetlands, prairies and woodlands at the Myakka River State Park. With enough notice, park staff can assist with water quality testing but the teacher must provide all educational instruction. It is the teacher’s responsibility to confirm the field trip is focused on freshwater.

Nature’s Academy (Hillsborough, Manatee, Pinellas and Sarasota) (Grades K–12)

Coastal Connections (Manatee and Pinellas)
Students focus on the local watershed and estuary through inquiry-driven activities. Students investigate barrier island ecology on a nature walk, collect citizen science data on seagrass animal biodiversity, water quality and litter, and participate in a coastal cleanup. The collected data is uploaded to an online database and smartphone application to engage students in STEM learning.

Myakka Mysteries (Manatee and Sarasota)
At the Myakka River State Park, students will explore the Myakka River and the surrounding wetlands, prairies, hammocks and marsh communities. Participants investigate the forest canopy on a nature hike, discuss impacts of invasive species and collect citizen science data on water quality and bird diversity. The collected data is uploaded to an online database and smartphone application to engage students in STEM learning.

Organic Earth (Hillsborough and Pinellas)
On this hands-on interactive tour of a working organic farm students conduct an in depth investigation of the water cycle and the natural filtration of ground and surface water while identifying the causes and impacts of acid rain, industrial agriculture and oil spills on the environment.

Rainbow Springs State Park (Citrus, Marion and Sumter)

Rainbow Springs, located in Marion County, is Florida’s fourth largest spring. With enough notice, park staff can assist in planning springs educational opportunities for students.

Sarasota County Extension (Sarasota) (Grades K–12)

The UF/IFAS Extension Service provides education to local communities that helps residents create a Florida landscape with minimal negative environmental impact, a Florida-friendly landscape. Staff is available to educate students on various topics including how to create a Florida-friendly landscape and how to reduce stormwater runoff. The Enviroscape® Nonpoint-Source Pollution Model can be exhibited to students.

Science Center of Pinellas (Pinellas)

Only the labs listed are approved. First Grade: Watch it Grow and Sun, Water and Clouds; Second Grade: From the Ground Up and Our Changing Weather; Third Grade: Plants, Plants and More Plants and Defining a Drop; Fourth Grade: Connecting with Nature; Fifth Grade: Weather Prediction

Sensing Nature (will travel to all participating counties)

Florida Ecology Program (Grades K–12)
Students partake in a classroom experience followed by a field program to a local outdoor area. Topics covered include watersheds and human impacts on watersheds, wetlands, ecosystems and native and invasive exotic species.

“Dabbling Ducks to Wetland Mucks” (Grades 2–12)
These interactive classroom experiences can be tailored to your classroom’s needs. One lesson, Florida’s Natural Way, teaches the importance of watersheds, the critical habitats within them and human impacts to watersheds.

Suncoast Science Center (Sarasota) (Grades 5–8)

During this exploration that comes to your school, students will become acquainted with the importance of plankton in the ecosystem, understand the process and purpose of water quality testing through hands-on lab testing, identify point and non-point sources of pollution in a watershed, and understand the effects of pollution on the coastal zone. Program spans two class periods.

Tampa Bay Watch (Hillsborough, Manatee and Pinellas)

Bay Grasses in Classes (BGIC) (Grades K–12)
Salt marsh wetland nurseries have been established at several bay area schools, monitored and maintained by students of all ages. After 6–8 months, students participate in a harvesting-transplanting event where a portion of their nursery is removed and planted at a restoration site in the Tampa Bay area. The remaining portion will be replanted into the existing nursery pond for another growing cycle. Funding will be used for transportation to restoration sites for schools enrolled in the BGIC program.

Community Service-Learning Sessions (Grade K–12)
Students will receive a hands-on learning experience while participating in a community service opportunity such as salt marsh grass plantings, sea oat plantings, coastal cleanups and oyster domes and bars establishment.

Estuary EDventures (Grades K–12)
Students will participate in hands-on educational opportunities through species collection and identification and interactive habitat sessions. Various activities include seining, classroom boat tour, kayak ecotour, plankton lab and touch tanks. The mollusk lab session is not approved for field programs funded by Splash! grants.

Environmental Education Centers (EEC)

EECs may or may not have the availability to accommodate Splash! grant field programs based upon their schedule of school district field trip programs. Feel free to contact the educators at an EEC within your school’s county for availability.

  • Anderson EEC at Sawgrass Lake Park (Pinellas)
  • Brooker Creek Preserve (Pinellas) see additional details on the Brooker Creek Preserve listing above
  • Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center
  • Citrus County Marine Science Station (Citrus, Hernando, Marion and Sumter)
  • Cross Bar Ranch (Pasco)
  • Hardee Outdoor Classroom
  • Polk Nature Discovery Center
  • Starkey EEC (Pasco)

UF/IFAS County Extension Offices

The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) created the Florida Yards and Neighborhoods Program which is a set of nine guiding principles that help save water and reduce water pollution in the landscape. The Southwest Florida Water Management District partners with the university to provide Florida-Friendly Landscaping (FFL)™ education through county Extension offices. Contact your county Extension office to learn how the FFL coordinator can assist with your grant. Assistance would be best suited for Grant Type 2: Water-Conserving Garden Project.

Water Resource Management Facilities

  • Desalination plants
  • Wastewater treatment facilities
  • Water reservoirs
  • Water treatment facilities
Southwest Florida Water Management District home page

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