Highlands County Teachers Awarded Grants for Water Resources Education Projects

News Release

Six Highlands County teachers were awarded Splash! school grants through the Southwest Florida Water Management District.

Mary Margaret Hull, District lead communications coordinator, attributes the effectiveness of the grant program in Highlands County to the strong partnership with Highlands County Schools. Dorothea Strickland, Highlands County science curriculum specialist, 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 Highlands County awardees are:

* Cedric Bullard, Avon Park High School, will receive $1,416. Students will conduct in-class and field investigations to learn what impacts water quality.

* Cheryl Moffat, Career Academy, will receive $864. Students will conduct field studies, learning about the effects of agriculture on water quality.

* Tanya Koehler, Cracker Trail Elementary School, will receive $2,973. Students will conduct water tests, learning about the water cycle, watersheds, water conservation and water quality.

* Kathy Robinson, Lake Country Elementary School, will receive $2,999. Students will build a hydroponic garden and visit a local commercial farm to see water-conserving farming on a large scale.

* Lydia Tubbs, Lake Placid Middle School, will receive $2,999. Students will conduct a field study of the Peace River through the Hardee County Outdoor Classroom, observing aquifer modeling.

* JoLynne Crout, Park Elementary School, will receive $3,000. Students will investigate the cause-and-effect relationships of natural systems and build mock water ponds in and out of the classroom.

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 WaterMatters.org/publications/.