Pasco County Teachers Awarded Grants for Water Resources Education Projects

News Release

Nine Pasco 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 Pasco County to the strong partnership with Pasco County Schools. Laura Hill, K–12 science supervisor for Pasco 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 Pasco County awardees are:

* Gloria Mouw, *Centennial Middle School*, will receive $2,998. Students will discover how different plants adapt to nutrients and growing mediums.

* Karen Stewart, *Charles S. Rushe Middle School*, will receive $2,990. Students will study freshwater resources and monitor the water quality of the campus pond and wells.

* Kristina Samples, *Double Branch Elementary School*, will receive $1,520. Students will choose appropriate plants, design planters, measure rain barrel water use and test water quality in a school garden.

* Donna Hoague-Koljeski, *Energy and Marine Center*, will receive $2,675. Students will use a watershed model and create posters, learning about watershed pollution and how it affects estuaries.

* Mary Lou Jordan, *Moore Mickens Education Center*, will receive 2,109. Students will plant and cultivate drought-tolerant and native plants, learning about Florida-friendly plants, water conservation and wetlands.

* Jean Knight, *Pasco Environmental Programs*, will receive $3,000. Students will collect data in the field to be uploaded on the Pasco Water Web for use by all Pasco County students.

* Lisa Decker, *Quail Hollow Elementary School*, will receive $2,040. Students will participate in a field study to learn about freshwater and estuarine ecosystems.

* Laine Smith, *River Ridge High School*, will receive $2,831. Students will build a small estuary habitat, and also create an unhealthy habitat for comparison.

* Margaret Higgins, *Shady Hills Elementary School*, will receive $1,413. Students will learn about the water cycle, watersheds, the aquifer and water pollution through container gardening and rainwater measurement.

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