Sarasota County Teachers Awarded Grants for Water Resources Education Projects

News Release

Five Sarasota 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 Sarasota County to the strong partnership with Sarasota County Schools. Brad Porinchak, science program specialist for Sarasota 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 Sarasota County awardees are:

* Susan Roberts, *Brookside Middle School*, will receive $2,877. Students will design and build five-gallon shower systems and take five-gallon showers, learning about water conservation.

* Mary Compton, *Gulf Gate Elementary School*, will receive $580. Students will conduct field studies at a local lake, creek and slough, comparing data and learning how activities in the watershed may affect water quality.

* Susan Forrest, *Phoenix Academy*, will receive $2,601. Students will participate in field studies to learn about watersheds, runoff, pollution and water conservation.

* Lauren Watson, *Sarasota School of Arts & Science*, will receive $2,490. Students will test water samples and analyze soil, comparing results with local water department data.

* Chip Phillips, *Southside Elementary School*, will receive $930. Students will write and publish a book on water conservation and share it with their families.

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