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March 14, 2012

Projects expected to inform nearly 300,000 people in Pinellas County about water conservation and water quality issues were recently awarded Community Education Grants from the Southwest Florida Water Management District.

This year the District awarded 12 grants Districtwide for a total of $50,319. This is the 15th year Community Education Grants have been available. These grants currently help fund projects that provide communities an opportunity to learn about water resources.

The overall goal of the Community Education Grant program is to actively engage adults in water-related issues including conservation, protection and preservation. The program motivates communities to get involved in protecting their water resources through various educational activities.

The City of St. Petersburg’s Parks and Recreation Administration received a $2,150 grant to hold a community education event on water conservation and water quality best management practices. The group also will install a sign on Lake Maggiore Island describing the lake’s character and a restoration project that improved water quality. About 100 people are expected to attend the event and about 15,000 people will be reached through the sign, social media and event advertisements.

Pinellas County Parks and Conservation Resources received a $4,224 grant to host a volunteer invasive plant removal event and install signs at Walsingham Park. The signs will educate visitors on wetland native plants, the negative effects of invasive exotic plants and how to protect wetland systems. About 45 people are expected to participate in the volunteer event and more than 225,000 will be reached through signs and advertising.

The Hoffman Environmental Research Institute and Karst Conservancy received a $4,946 grant to create an interactive website that will provide information on groundwater issues and karst geology. The site also will feature a forum for community discussions and a calendar of water-related events. About 50,000 people are expected to be indirectly reached through direct-mail advertising for the site.

Tampa Bay Living Green, Inc. received a $4,800 grant to partner with the Council of Neighborhood Associations to host hands-on workshops in six neighborhoods on topics like water conservation, Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ (FFL) and rain barrel installation and use. Three of the six participating neighborhoods will be selected to install neighborhood FFL demonstration gardens. About 600 people are expected to participate in the workshops and about 4,600 will be reached through advertising.

Applications for the District’s 2013 Community Education Grant program will be available online at on April 1, 2012. For more information, please call the District’s Communications Bureau at 1-800-423-1476 or (352) 796-7211, ext. 4757.

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