March 21, 2012

A project in Marion County featuring educational sessions about the ecology and other environmental issues surrounding Rainbow Springs was recently awarded a Community Education Grant from the Southwest Florida Water Management District.

Twelve grants were awarded Districtwide this year 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 Marion County Extension received a $1,945 grant to offer four concurrent sessions covering topics on ecology and karst geology, native and invasive plants, water sampling techniques and human impact to springs. Attendees also will participate in guided canoe trips, nature hikes and water sampling demonstrations.

Participants will be tested before and after the event to determine what they learned. They will also participate in follow-up surveys and report if they modified any behaviors based on the event experiences. About 100 people are expected to participate in the event and nearly 6,000 are expected to be reached through event advertisements.

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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