Citrus County Teachers Awarded Grants for Water Resources Education Projects

News Release

Four Citrus 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 Citrus County to the strong partnership with Citrus County Schools. Gayle Nobles, the coordinator of special academic programs for Citrus County Schools, serves as the District's liaison 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 Citrus County awardees are:

* Charles Mulligan, *Academy of Environmental Science*, will receive $3,000. Students will test water quality in Crystal River and investigate the impacts of fertilizer and other nutrient sources.

* Mark Cassidy, *Citrus High School*, will receive $2,610. Students will maintain classroom aquatic ecosystems, solve problems that arise in the systems and identify pollution issues.

* Zachary Leonard, *Renaissance Center*, will receive $1,918. Students will expand the center's Florida-friendly garden and will build an aquatic ecosystem in the classroom.

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

* Cindy Russ, *Pope John Paul II Catholic School*, will receive $2,232. Students will study water resources and stormwater systems on the campus, conducting water quality tests and examining water samples under microscopes.

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