Charlotte County teachers awarded grants for water resources education projects

News Release

Two Charlotte County teachers and one private school teacher are among the educators who were awarded Splash! school grants through the "Southwest Florida Water Management District(Southwest Florida Water Management District)":/.

This year 206 "Splash! grants(Splash! School Grants)":/education/schoolgrants were awarded to educators across "the District's 16-county region":/data/map.

Mary Margaret Hull, lead communications coordinator, attributes the effectiveness of the grant program in Charlotte County to the strong partnership with the Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center, which helped get the word out to teachers. Rich Dorken from the center serves as the District's liaison to teachers.

"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 Charlotte County awardees include:

* Blake Schmidt, *Edison Collegiate High School*, will receive $1,562. Students will canoe down the Peace River to test several aspects of water quality, and develop posters documenting their trip and water testing results.

* Jessica Scott-Dunda, *Sally Jones Elementary School*, will receive $4,925. Students will create a booklet about water conservation to distribute to the community. They will also add to an existing on-campus garden.

In addition to the county's public schools, one private school was awarded a Splash! grant.

* Connie Taft Garriott, *St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School*, will receive $4,545. Students will take educational field trips to collect and test water samples and perform water-related classroom experiments.

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(2009 Splash! school grants)":/education/schoolgrants/projects.php 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 " publications)":/publications.