Sumter County Teachers Awarded Grants for Water Resources Education Projects

News Release

Seven Sumter 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 Sumter County to the strong partnership with Sumter County Schools. Christine Burk, career academy specialist for Sumter 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 Sumter County awardees are:

* Angela Sovercool, *Bushnell Elementary School*, will receive $954. Students will conduct field studies, learning about the need to protect freshwater resources.

* Tiffany Ward, *Bushnell Elementary School*, will receive $1,910. Students will learn how freshwater resources are found within the water cycle, how they are nonrenewable and how they are affected by severe weather.

* Lynn Thomas, *Webster Elementary School*, will receive $2,005. Students will participate in a study of their local watershed to build an understanding of water resources.

* Benachoice Caruthers, *Wildwood Elementary School*, will receive $844. Students will plant seedlings in container gardens, build a watershed model to study the effects of pollutants and document water savings at home.

* Carole LaViolette, *Wildwood Elementary School*, will receive $417. Students will make water cycle posters and water filtration models, learning about human impacts on the freshwater environment.

* Cheryl McKinney, *Wildwood Elementary School*, will receive $873. Students will study the importance of water and visit a park where people and animals depend on water for survival and recreation.

* Connie White, *Wildwood Elementary School*, will receive $866. Students will learn about freshwater resources and the effects of pollutants.

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