December 20, 2010

Fifty-one Hillsborough County teachers and three private school teachers are among the educators who were awarded Splash! school grants through the Southwest Florida Water Management District.

This year 206 Splash! grants were awarded to educators across the District’s 16-county region.

Mary Margaret Hull, lead communications coordinator, attributes the effectiveness of the grant program in Hillsborough County to the strong partnership with Hillsborough County Schools, which helped get the word out to teachers. Four school district staff serve as the Southwest Florida Water Management District’s liaisons to teachers: Karen Folsom, Nature’s Classroom administrator; Larry Plank, supervisor of secondary science; Andi Ringer, science supervisor of middle school education; and Shana Tirado, elementary science supervisor.

“These teachers are receiving a small amount of money but are able to accomplish so much,” said Hull. “Grant recipients also use the District’s collection of curriculum materials and other free educational resources.”

The Hillsborough County awardees include:

  • Sara White, A.T. Jones Math, Science, and Technology Academy, will receive $569. Students will use different materials and technology tools to learn the hydrologic cycle.
  • Nigel Jagoo, Alonso High School, will receive $1,800. Students will take an educational field trip to collect and analyze water samples. They will also complete a biological survey of the Hillsborough River.
  • Autumn Balthazor, Benito Middle School, will receive $1,805. Students will discover strategies that stabilize soil and improve percolation to reduce erosion and chemical runoff.
  • Donna Thomas, Beth Shields Middle School, will receive $1,854. Students will learn about watersheds and how to conserve water and reduce pollution. Students will monitor the water quality in the school’s retention pond.
  • Christina Hill, Blake High School, will receive $3,502. Students will learn about surface water and ground water pollution. They will take a field trip to the Florida Aquarium to visit the Wetlands Ecosystem exhibit.
  • Denise Dennison, Brandon High School, will receive $1,700. Students will create informational brochures to educate the school community about water conservation and water quality in Tampa Bay.
  • Lori Hanson, Chiles Elementary School, will receive $2,830. Students will participate in educational field trips. They will educate families, peers and the community about conservation and protection of water resources.
  • Jane Kemp, Chiles Elementary School, will receive $2,256. Students will compare a hydroponics system to conventional gardening, analyzing water use, plant growth and plant production.
  • Sylvia Ellis, Clair-Mel Elementary School, will receive $365. Students will learn about the importance of conserving water through a hands-on rain barrel project.
  • Leigh Crosson, Colleen Bevis Elementary School, will receive $2,248. Students will learn about the importance of water conservation through a study of our local watersheds.
  • Nancy Deringer, Davidsen Middle School, will receive $3,371. Students will learn about the Hillsborough River watershed, its importance to the community and how human activity impacts water quality.
  • Susan Ferrell, Dowdell Middle Magnet School, will receive $1,966. Students will construct an aquaponics system, which models the hydrologic cycle.
  • Michelle Lee, East Bay High School, will receive $2,800. Students will gain an understanding of the Tampa Bay watershed through a variety of hands-on activities.
  • Rebecca Rouch, East Bay High School, will receive $1,600. Students will take educational field trips and create an ad campaign promoting water conservation to air on the school’s morning show.
  • Karen-Vanessa Brown, Ernest E. Just Elementary School, will receive $1,160. Students will research freshwater resources and take educational field trips.
  • Angelina Ferlita-Spencer, Ernest E. Just Elementary School, will receive $1,693. The students will study the Floridan aquifer and watersheds, and take an educational field trip to learn about freshwater resources and perform water quality tests.
  • Michele Wiehagen, Foster Elementary School, will receive $518. Students will plant, maintain and monitor a vegetable garden and set up touch tanks with plants and animals.
  • Gale Crowe, Freedom High School, will receive $3,523. Students will learn about their watershed and the organisms inhabiting it by participating in educational field trips and performing water quality testing.
  • Jennifer Fritz, Gaither High School, will receive $2,000. Students will take educational field trips to perform water quality testing and conduct a biological survey.
  • Judy Charlton, Hillsborough High School, will receive $3,765. Students will study the Hillsborough River watershed, tracking changes in the river’s water levels and quality during seasonal highs and lows.
  • Cheryl Pahl, Hunter’s Green Elementary School, will receive $2,046. Students will learn about water conservation by gardening with Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ principles.
  • Pam Gassler, Jefferson High School, will receive $3,924. Students will take educational field trips to learn about water supply, treatment processes and water quality monitoring.
  • Alyssa Mormon, Kenly Elementary School, will receive $3,587. Students will educate teachers, students and community members on reducing water use and pollution.
  • Jeffrey Grevert, King High School, will receive $525. Students will promote the awareness of watershed ecology and conservation to younger audiences.
  • Scott Coonfare, Kingswood Elementary School, will receive $1,467. Students will learn the basics of the water cycle, watersheds, water conservation and water quality.
  • Jim McGinity, Learning Gate Community School, will receive $2,406. Students will learn about watersheds and perform water quality testing.
  • Sarah Potts-Koslow, Leto High School, will receive $1,072. Students will study the estuarine environment, collect water and soil samples and perform water and soil quality tests.
  • Cathy Townsend, Lincoln Elementary Magnet School of International Studies, will receive $2,663. Through the use of hydroponics, students will be involved in a growing project using two-liter bottles and a variety of mediums in closed containers.
  • Sarah Thompson, Lomax Elementary School, will receive $4,693, Students will learn about water conservation and the water cycle, and grow a hydroponic garden.
  • Kathleen Boyle, Mabry Elementary School, will receive $2,660. Students will plant a garden using Florida-Friendly Landscaping™, drip irrigation and a rain shutoff device.
  • Joyce Hoehn-Parish, MacFarlane Park IB Elementary School, will receive $1,008. Students will take an educational field trip to learn about freshwater resources and conservation measures.
  • Walker Lea, Madison Middle School, will receive $1,891. Students will participate in water and environmental sampling on the Hillsborough River.
  • Kathy Dimitrievski, Muller Magnet Elementary School, will receive $2,810. Students will take an educational field trip to the Crystal Springs Preserve.
  • Kim Burnett, Pizzo Elementary School, will receive $150. Students will test the quality of water samples collected from mangrove swamps and create a play to educate the school community.
  • Shawna Everidge, Plant City High School, will receive $325. Plant City High School special needs children will take a field trip to Crystal Springs Preserve for a day of hands-on education about water quality and conservation.
  • Jennell Graham, Pride Elementary School, will receive $3,250. Students will take an educational field trip and construct hydroponic and in-ground gardening systems.
  • Sarah Thompson, Riverview High School, will receive $1,850. Students will use water quality measurements, an elevation and vegetation study, and a biodiversity index to assess the health of the wetlands around Crystal Springs Preserve.
  • Kristy Loman Chiodo, Robinson High School, will receive $3,277. Students will take educational field trips, compare their personal water use and discuss conservation methods that can be implemented in their communities.
  • Deborah Gwyn, Sheehy Elementary School, will receive $1,225. Students will collect local samples of water from different sources, analyze them, and graph the data.
  • Anthony Leotta, Sickles High School, will receive $3,959. Students will learn about aquaponic farming and make comparisons to conventional gardening.
  • Charles Rocca, Steinbrenner High School, will receive $4,995. Students will set up an aquaponics and hydroponics system to raise tilapia.
  • Lynn Langford McDaniel, Stewart Middle Magnet School, will receive $1,400. Students will collect water quality data and study birds, animals and plants in the Hillsborough River watershed.
  • Deborah Flock, Stonewall Jackson Elementary School, will receive $2,399. Students will be encouraged to discuss water use with their family and track water use as they implement water conservation efforts in their homes.
  • Andria Keene, Strawberry Crest High School, will receive $1,765. Students will participate in a cleanup project at Medard Reservoir where they can see how debris enters the waterways.
  • Teri Locke, Strawberry Crest High School, will receive $700. Students will review a water quality report and present their findings to the class.
  • Julie Sackles, Tampa Bay Technical High School, will receive $2,174. Students will take a field trip to Crystal Springs Preserve and measure water quality, and then create books about the water cycle.
  • Charles Miller, Tampa Charter School, will receive $3,149. Students will receive education in the classroom about the mangrove and sea grass ecosystems at Upper Tampa Bay Park.
  • Virginia Frissell, Twin Lakes Elementary School, will receive $3,620. Students will engage in bay restoration by planting salt marsh grass with Tampa Bay Watch.
  • Kristy Carew, Wharton High School, will receive $2,530, Students will participate in coastal cleanups and habitat restoration projects benefitting Tampa Bay.
  • Kevin Maloney, Wharton High School, will receive $2,547. Students will test the water in the creek that traverses Wharton High School’s campus, and analyze components that are vital to the watershed.
  • Wendy Weber, Williams IB Middle Magnet School, will receive $3,384. Students will use rain barrels for watering school gardens and perform water quality testing on the rain water.

In addition to the county’s public schools, three private schools were awarded Splash! grants.

  • Neysa Grevert, Cambridge Christian School, will receive $794. Students will conduct home water audits and water quality testing and take an educational field trip to Crystal Springs Preserve.
  • Samuel Rotker, Community Montessori School, will receive $171. Students will add micro-irrigation to the garden that was funded by the District in 2009.
  • Stacia Perry-Eaton, Tampa Preparatory School, will receive $3,335. Students will create an organic garden using Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ principles, rain barrels and drip irrigation.

The goal of the Splash! school grant program is to provide hands-on learning opportunities that teach students about their local watersheds and the freshwater resources within them. Splash! school grants provide up to $5,000 per school on a reimbursement basis only and are available to public, private and homeschool teachers.

Past Splash! grant projects include water quality monitoring of local lakes and rivers, the development of water-conserving gardens on school properties, and outreach campaigns designed to promote awareness of water-conserving practices.

In addition to Splash! grant funding, the District offers educators free teacher training workshops, speakers for classroom presentations and free educational materials. The publications are correlated to Florida’s Sunshine State Standards and can also be ordered on the District’s web site at WaterMatters.org/publications/.

 
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