Charlotte County Teachers Awarded Grants for Water Resources Education Projects

News Release

Four Charlotte County teachers were awarded Splash! school grants through the "Southwest Florida Water Management District(Southwest Florida Water Management District)":/.

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

"The District recognizes the critical role STEM education – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – plays in preparing students for the future," said Hull. "With the help of the grant program, students will learn the importance of protecting and conserving Florida's water resources through STEM-based education projects."

The Charlotte County awardees are:

* Blake Schmidt, *Edison Collegiate High School*, will receive $1,394. Students will canoe down the Peace River to test aspects of water quality and develop posters documenting their results.

* Angie Taillon, *Neil Armstrong Elementary School*, will receive $1,954. Students will study water resources and perform the play "Earth!" which is centered around environmental protection themes.

* Catherine Fedonni, *Punta Gorda Middle School*, will receive $2,724. Students will learn about drought-tolerant native plants and water conservation as they create a working garden.

* Jessica Scott-Dunda, *Sallie Jones Elementary School*, will receive $3,000. Students will make large moveable murals depicting freshwater conservation scenes that will be displayed in public places around the county.

This year 157 Splash! grants were awarded across the District's 16 county region to educate students on Florida's water.

The goal of the Splash! school grant program is to provide teachers with funding to enhance student knowledge of freshwater resources issues. Splash! school grants provide up to $3,000 per school on a reimbursement basis and are available to public, charter and private school teachers.

Past Splash! grant projects include student monitoring of local water quality, environmental field studies and outreach campaigns designed to encourage water conservation.

In addition to Splash! grant funding, the District offers free teacher professional development workshops and curriculum materials. The publications are correlated to Florida's Next Generation Sunshine State Science Standards and can also be ordered on the District's website at "":/publications