Citrus County teachers awarded grants for water resources education projects

News Release

Ten Citrus County teachers 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 Citrus County to the strong partnership with Citrus County Schools, which helped get the word out to teachers. Mark Klauder, the director of secondary education for Citrus County Schools, 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 Citrus County awardees include:

* Charles Mulligan, *Academy of Environmental Science*, will receive $2,419. Students will conduct field research on seagrass, map currents and topography, identify plankton diversity, and conduct workshops involving local middle school students and the public.

* Mark Cassidy, *Citrus High School*, will receive $2,473. Students will maintain aquariums and small specialty tanks to display the various ecosystems that make up the "living waters" of Citrus County. Students will conduct water quality testing and complete ecosystem data observation logs.

* Gema Coleman, *Citrus Resource for Exceptional Student Transition (CREST)*, will receive $2,529. Students will learn about water conservation by planting a drought-tolerant garden and using rain barrels for watering.

* Melony Siegendorf, *Citrus Springs Middle School*, will receive $1,106. Students will install Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ in areas of runoff, measure erosion, and measure the amount of irrigation needed to ensure the plants' success.

* Patricia Barbarow, *Inverness Primary School*, will receive $1,683. Students will learn about the importance of Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ and water conservation from a butterfly garden. They will use rain barrels to water their butterfly garden and track rainfall.

* Melissa Davis, *Inverness Primary School*, will receive $1,773. Students will brainstorm ways to conserve water and will display their findings at a family night.

* Mary Tyler, *Inverness Primary School*, will receive $1,915. Kindergarteners will create a water conservation team called Life Savers, and will do weekly hands-on experiments, activities and virtual field trips.

* Zachary Leonard, *Renaissance Center*, will receive $2,612. Students will use rain barrels and micro-irrigation to water their garden. Students will test the pH value of rainwater and compare it to the school's freshwater supply. They will track rainfall data and plant growth and report their findings in the school web site and newspaper.

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

* Christine Woodall, *Inverness Christian Academy*, will receive $1,163. Students will plant a garden using Florida-Friendly Landscaping principles. Students will use test kits to measure water quality, participate in home water conservation efforts, and visit the Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park.

* Cindy Russ, *Pope John Paul II Catholic School*, will receive $2,330. Students will take a field trip to participate in the wetlands educational program at the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa.

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.