Approved Field Studies Programs

Please read these important details: 

  • Select a program (not just location) from this list if applying for Grant Type Four.
  • Notice the counties in parenthesis next to each location. You may select a field trip program only if your school’s county is listed and the field trip location is one hour or less drive time from your school. 
  • Notice the grade levels in parenthesis next to each program. Select a field trip program that accommodates your student’s grade level(s).
  • You are responsible for contacting the field trip location/provider for additional details including the price, availability and scheduling. Contact them for prices to include on the budget portion of your grant application.
  • Classroom activities are required for all Grant Types and help reinforce and expand freshwater concepts.
  • If you’d like to submit another field trip program for consideration, please email a thorough description of the program and how it encompasses freshwater education to the Splash! grant program manager at for her review and approval.

Archbold Biological Station (Highlands) (Grades K–12) 

With enough notice, the Archbold Education Office can work with teachers to design a field trip program for students of all ages. It is the teacher’s responsibility to confirm the field trip is focused on freshwater.

Around the Bend Nature Tours (Manatee and Sarasota) 

Crab Inquiry (Grades K–3)
Students will explore a mangrove forest while gaining an understanding of estuaries and habitats. Students will also learn about the animals that call this habitat home with a hands-on storytelling activity. 

Dip Net Estuary Study (Grades 4–12)
Students learn about estuarine habitats through dip netting in the grass flats and guided nature hikes through mangrove forests and estuarine shorelines. Students will learn how their actions and nonpoint source pollution affect the estuarine habitats. 

Ecosystems Field Study (Grades 3–8) By comparing different environments, students will begin to consider how non-living elements influence living conditions in an ecosystem. Students learn about estuarine habitats and the importance of water conservation and the water cycle. 

Low Impact Development Stormwater Management Field Study (Grades 8–12)Students will learn how the principals of Low Impact Development positively affect a watershed while analyzing water quality. Students will also learn the distinction between native, nonnative, and nonnative invasive plants. 

Pond Study – field study on school campus (Grades K–12)
Students will understand the impact of human activities on water quality and the importance of protecting our watersheds through studying their school’s stormwater pond. Elementary students will focus on the pond’s ecosystem while middle and high school students will perform and analyze water quality tests to determine the best practices for urban landscaping and development. 

Scrub Ecosystem Study (Grades 4–12)
Students will discover how the Florida scrub habitat is significant to local ecology and how habitat restoration is an important land management tool. Students will also identify native and nonnative plant species.

Bok Tower Gardens (Polk and Highlands)

Splash! Grant Freshwater Education Program (Grades 2-5; Adaption for Grades K-1 available)
Your students will explore sources of freshwater in the garden during a water walk, play a water cycle game, test water quality in our moat by the Singing Tower and dip net in Pinewood Pond to learn about a pond ecosystem.

Brooker Creek Preserve (Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas) 

Students will be led through the preserve by professional biologists and naturalists as they learn about water resources through the following possible activities: wetland boardwalk hike, dip netting, interactive scavenger hunt, freshwater ecology and wildlife, ecosystem or habitat management, and more. 

Camp Bayou Outdoor Learning Center (Hillsborough and Manatee) (Grades K–12)

Students will visit the Little Manatee River to learn about biodiversity. Activities are catered to the appropriate age and may include: water quality testing, aquatic insects, wetland walk, watershed model demonstration, water cycle activities and more. Please tell the center this is part of a Splash! school grant.

Charlotte Harbor Environmental Education Center (Charlotte)

With two locations, Alligator Creek and Cedar Point, the CHEC offers a variety of hands-on educational programs on land or in the water. 

Crystal Springs Preserve (Hillsborough, Pasco, Polk, Sumter) 

River Rats Water Adventure (Grades 3–5)
Students will tour the Preserve’s habitats and learn about the Hillsborough River and the Floridan Aquifer System. Students will perform a biodiversity survey using dip nets to catch and identify the invertebrates and vertebrates that live in the in the Hillsborough River.

Awesome Aquifers (Grades K–5)
Students will gain an understanding about water conservation and pollution by creating a watershed model that represents their community. Once constructed, students will determine what happens to all the runoff and watch as pollution from one part of the watershed affects the entire watershed. Students will discuss ways of keeping pollution from entering our watershed.

What’s In Your Water? (Grades 6–8)
Through an in-depth hands-on experience, students will collect and analyze water samples from Crystal Springs and the Hillsborough River. 

Using chemical water testing kits, students will determine dissolved oxygen, pH, and other basic chemical levels. Students will be guided through a discussion of their results and explore how these levels effect the overall health of the river and spring 

River Critter Roundup (Grades 6–8)
Students will tour the Preserve and learn how the water in the spring gets to and from the aquifer. Students will do a biodiversity survey of the invertebrates and vertebrates that live in the river and explore diversity and ecosystem health. 

Florida Chemistry (Grades 9–12)
While exploring the various habitats at the Preserve, students will collect water samples from each. They will use chemical tests to compare dissolved oxygen, nitrate, and pH levels of their samples. Students will analyze their results to determine the health of the river and spring ecosystems.

Rolling In the River (Grades 9–12)
Students will perform an in-depth benthic Investigation of the Hillsborough River. Students will wade into the river with sampling nets and collection tubs collecting macro-invertabrates and vertabrates. 

Tech Trek (Grades 9–12)
Students will use handheld GPS units to explore Florida’s wetland habitats. Students will learn about the karst rock topography and native plants and animals of the woods and river.

Environmental Career Explorations (Grades 9–12)
Students will analyze the health of an entire ecosystem through in-depth investigations. Students will collect water samples from around the preserve and perform chemical tests to determine dissolved oxygen, pH and nitrate levels;  learn about the diverse terrestrial flora and fauna by conducting an elevation transect; and collect invertebrates and vertebrates in the Hillsborough River.

Florida Aquarium (Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas and Polk)

Exploring the Bay (Grades 3–12)
Come aboard our Bay Spirit II catamaran, and see Tampa Bay in a whole new way!  Search for dolphins, birds, and other aquatic life forms in their natural habitat.  Tours are narrated by an educator. 
Secrets of the Swamp (Grades 2–8) 

During this outreach program, an expert instructor comes to your school and takes students on a journey through Florida’s most valued treasure, the Florida Everglades and compares the similarities and differences to our own local treasure, the Green Swamp! Students (no more than 125) will examine biofacts and meet LIVE animals that call the swamp their home. 

Animal Ambassadors (Grades 2–12)

During this outreach program, students will meet a variety of animals from the local watershed without leaving school. Students will learn how each animal fills an important niche and how they depend on the watershed for their survival. This informal program is a great option for large audiences (15–125 students) or groups with a wide age range. 

Plankton Lab (Grades 3–12)
Most plankton may be small, but they’ve got a big job to do!  Learn the importance of plankton and meet live specimens eye-to-eye.  Students will spy on the secret world of tiny, living organisms that come straight from Tampa Bay.

Gator Safety (Grades 2–12)
There is a large, dangerous species living in Florida…and alligators need your help to stay safe from them.  During the Gator Safety program, students will meet a live alligator and learn how we can coexist with theses amazing and important reptiles.

Virtual Programs (Grades K-12)
The Florida Aquarium will work with you to design a virtual program that meets your needs.  Tell them your topic and their experienced staff will incorporate different aspects of The Florida Aquarium into your personalized program.

Florida Bass Conservation Center (FBCC) (Hernando, Pasco and Sumter)

Also known as the old Richloam Fish Hatchery, the FBCC is a state-of-the-art fish hatchery and research facility dedicated to reproducing and conserving Florida’s largemouth bass and other popular freshwater fishes. Water quality testing can be done at the FBCC but grantees may need to instruct the testing if FBCC staff is not available at the time of the field program.

Glazer Children’s Museum (Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas and Polk) 

The Glazer Children's Museum will work with Splash! grantees to create a program tailored to fit your needs. If scheduling a program with Glazer, please forward the tentative agenda to the SWFWMD Splash! grant project manager for approval.

Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park (Citrus, Marion)

The park features a children’s education center, providing hands-on experiences about Florida’s environment including an aquifer display. With enough notice, park staff can arrange an educational program on springs. It is the teacher’s responsibility to confirm the field trip is focused on freshwater. 

Institute of Florida Studies at Hillsborough Community College (Hillsborough) 

The Environmental Studies Centers are designed for the study of the ecology, biology, ecosystems and understanding of the natural areas of Florida. Facilities are located at Cockroach Bay, English Creek and Upper Tampa Bay Park. These field programs are suitable for grades 1–12. 

Cockroach Bay is located on the southeastern shore of Tampa Bay. Students will board boats and use seine nets and sieves to collect organisms for study. Students will also partake in a nature walk and other educational activities. 

English Creek is located east of Plant City in Hillsborough County. Students will conduct water sampling and collect aquatic organisms on the creek. Students will also learn about the four plant communities surrounding the creek: open grasslands, mesic flatwoods, upland mixed forest and bottomland forest. 

Upper Tampa Bay Park is on the northern shore of Tampa Bay and hosts six different plant communities for students to learn about. Those are flatwoods, wet prairies, salt barrens, seagrass beds, mangrove forest and salt marshes. Students will study the wetlands by using seine nets and sieves to collect organisms. 

Mad Science (serving all counties in the SWFWMD) 

“What Do You Know About H2O?” (Grades K–5)
This entertaining special event for up to 400 students is brought right to your school’s campus. Students will explore the amazing properties of water, interact with water in its three different states and learn about the amount of freshwater on earth and ways to conserve it. Program includes teacher resources.

“Wacky Water” (Grades 1–8)
During this hands-on workshop, for up to 22 students, students create their own multi-density wave bottles while learning about water, its properties and its environment including a fun trip around Florida’s water cycle. Investigate water density and pollution by creating density stackers. Program includes take-home materials for students and teacher resource guides. 

“Earth Awareness” (Grades 1–8)
In this workshop, for up to 22 students, discover how we can help save our planet by becoming more aware of its precious resources. Investigate water filtration and build a natural filter system. Learn about the world’s deadliest predator – packaging. Students will design a pollution solution with each topic and discover the incredible properties of water Jelly Marbles. Program includes take-home materials for students and teacher resource guides. 

“Black and Blue Waters: Making a Pollution Solution!” (Grades 3–8)
Students will learn the importance of Earth’s precious water resources and ways to protect them through the design and test of a mock oil spill. Students will also learn about water conservation.

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens (Sarasota, Manatee) 

Fantastic Florida: Florida’s Native Plants (Grades 3–5)
Florida is home to unique and intricate ecosystems, including the mangrove forests and estuaries which line much of our coastlines. In this field study, students will identify several of the plants and animals living along our coast and investigate the contents and benefits of estuaries and adjoining mangrove forests.  With a focus on Florida native plants, such as mangroves, sea grapes, sea grasses and other coastal plants, students will learn how these plants connect land and sea.  

Where Land Meets Sea: Mangrove and Estuary Explorations (Grades 6-12)
This field study will broaden students’ understanding of the coastal wetlands of Southwest Florida and our individual and societal interconnectedness with these ecosystems.  Students will stroll along Selby’s beautiful bayfront to discover the unique traits that allow mangroves to survive and thrive in coastal conditions and explore how the maze of the mangrove root system contributes not only to coastal wetland and estuary ecosystems, but to nearby ecosystems as well. The tour concludes at our dock on Hudson Bayou, where students will board the Carefree Learner.

Moccasin Lake Nature Park (Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas) (Grades K-12)

Fresh Water Chemistry
Learn what makes water healthy enough for plants and animals to thrive. Participants will test the waters of Moccasin Lake and discover the chemistry behind healthy waterways. 

Pond Safari
Grab a dip net, and take the plunge. See what organisms are lurking in the waterways at Moccasin Lake Nature Park. 

Weather in Florida
Learn to prepare for the best and worst that Florida weather has to offer. Discover why and how to protect ourselves from both the sun and hurricanes. 

Mote Marine Aquarium (Sarasota, Manatee) 

Field Sampling Techniques (Grades 6–12)
Students will learn about the estuarine ecology of Sarasota Bay while using dip nets, seine nets and core samplers in the seagrass beds and sand flats of Sarasota Bay. 

Habitat Hoopla! (Grades K–5)
Students will wade into Sarasota Bay with dip nets while learning about the estuary habitat and the scientific method. 

Planet H2O Laboratory Program (Grades 3–5)
Discover the water cycle with hands-on experiments and simulations. 

MOSI (Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas and Sumter) 

Marine Gang (Grades PreK-2)
Join the Captain and on a trip through the Tampa Bay Estuary to learn about the plants and animals that call it home. Meet members of the Marine Gang and help them protect and conserve their natural environment.

Marine Explorers (Grades 3-5)

Dive deep into the depths of marine science to learn about our impact on the Tampa Bay Estuary. How do our actions impact the plants and animals living in the water? Learn about the science of polymers and their impact on the marine environment while brainstorming ways of protecting our waters.

Stormy Weather (Grades 3-5)
Be prepared for anything with this “low pressure” class that shows how and why weather patterns change. Learn about the tools used by meteorologists, see a cloud in a bottle, and learn about the rain cycle. Find out about lightning safety, hurricane preparedness, and see how many drops your cloud can hold before it “rains” inside a plastic cup.

Weather Wonders (Grades K-8)

Flash! Clap! Bang! Thunderstorms are an everyday occurrence in Florida but do you wonder how they form? In this interactive stage show, students will investigate how the basic ingredients of weather affect air pressure, precipitation, and convection currents to understand daily weather
patterns as well as natural disasters.

Myakka River State Park (Charlotte, Manatee and Sarasota) 

The Myakka River flows through 57 square miles of wetlands, prairies and woodlands at the Myakka River State Park. With enough notice, park staff can assist with water quality testing but the teacher must provide all educational instruction. It is the teacher’s responsibility to confirm the field trip is focused on freshwater. 

Nature’s Academy (Charlotte, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pinellas and Sarasota) (Grades K–12) 

Coastal Connections 
Students and teachers will explore the ecology of coastal habitats such as seagrass beds and mangrove forests. Activities include a nature walk, dipnetting biodiversity study, water quality testing, and a coastal cleanup. An exciting new partnership with the red tide monitoring program puts students in charge of sampling for red tide in our local communities using specialized microscopes.

Myakka Mysteries 
At the Myakka River State Park, students will explore the Myakka River and the surrounding wetlands, prairies, hammocks and marsh communities. Participants investigate the forest canopy on a nature hike, discuss impacts of invasive species and identify human impacts on Florida’s freshwater wetlands.

Rainbow Springs State Park (Citrus, Marion and Sumter) 

Rainbow Springs, located in Marion County, is Florida’s fourth largest spring. With enough notice, park staff can assist in planning springs educational opportunities for students. 

Sarasota County Extension (Sarasota) (Grades K–12) 

The UF/IFAS Extension Service provides education to local communities that helps residents create a Florida landscape with minimal negative environmental impact, a Florida-friendly landscape. Staff is available to educate students on various topics including how to create a Florida-friendly landscape and how to reduce stormwater runoff. The Enviroscape® Nonpoint-Source Pollution Model can be exhibited to students. 

Science Center of Pinellas (Pinellas) 

Only the labs listed are approved. First Grade: Watch it Grow and Sun, Water and Clouds; Second Grade: From the Ground Up and Our Changing Weather; Third Grade: Plants, Plants and More Plants and Defining a Drop; Fourth Grade: Connecting with Nature; Fifth Grade: Weather Prediction

Sensing Nature (will travel to all participating counties) 

Florida Ecology Program (Grades K–12)
Students partake in a classroom experience followed by a field program to a local outdoor area. Topics covered include watersheds and human impacts on watersheds, wetlands, ecosystems and native and invasive exotic species. 

“Dabbling Ducks to Wetland Mucks” (Grades 2–12)
These interactive classroom experiences can be tailored to your classroom’s needs. One lesson, Florida’s Natural Way, teaches the importance of watersheds, the critical habitats within them and human impacts to watersheds. 

Suncoast Youth Development Center (Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk and Sarasota*) 

Kayaking Field Trip (Grades 3-12) 

Students will take part in an interactive kayak trip and day of wildlife discovery along the Newman Branch Paddling Trail out into eastern Tampa Bay. Throughout their visit, students will have the chance to learn about various water resource topics, including water quality, healthy ecosystems, wetlands and more! This field trip requires a 1:5 adult to youth ratio. *Only if less than a one-hour drive from your school to the center.

Suncoast Science Center (Sarasota) (Grades 5–8)

During this exploration that comes to your school, students will become acquainted with the importance of plankton in the ecosystem, understand the process and purpose of water quality testing through hands-on lab testing, identify point and non-point sources of pollution in a watershed, and understand the effects of pollution on the coastal zone. Program spans two class periods.

Tampa Bay Watch (Hillsborough, Manatee and Pinellas) 

Bay Grasses in Classes (BGIC) (Grades K–12)
Salt marsh wetland nurseries have been established at several bay area schools, monitored and maintained by students of all ages. After 6–8 months, students participate in a harvesting-transplanting event where a portion of their nursery is removed and planted at a restoration site in the Tampa Bay area. The remaining portion will be replanted into the existing nursery pond for another growing cycle. Funding will be used for transportation to restoration sites for schools enrolled in the BGIC program. 

Community Service-Learning Sessions (Grade K–12)
Students will receive a hands-on learning experience while participating in a community service opportunity such as salt marsh grass plantings, sea oat plantings, coastal cleanups and oyster domes and bars establishment. 

Estuary EDventures (Grades K–12)
Students will participate in hands-on educational opportunities through species collection and identification and interactive habitat sessions. Various activities include seining, classroom boat tour, kayak ecotour, plankton lab and touch tanks. The mollusk lab session is not approved for field programs funded by Splash! grants. 

Environmental Education Centers (EEC) 

EECs may or may not have the availability to accommodate Splash! grant field programs based upon their schedule of school district field trip programs. Feel free to contact the educators at an EEC within your school’s county for availability. 

  • Anderson EEC at Sawgrass Lake Park (Pinellas)
  • Brooker Creek Preserve (Pinellas) see additional details on the Brooker Creek Preserve listing above
  • Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center
  • Citrus County Marine Science Station (Citrus, Hernando, Marion and Sumter)
  • Cross Bar Ranch (Pasco)
  • Hardee Outdoor Classroom
  • Polk Nature Discovery Center
  • Starkey EEC (Pasco)

UF/IFAS County Extension Offices 

The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) created the Florida Yards and Neighborhoods Program which is a set of nine guiding principles that help save water and reduce water pollution in the landscape. The Southwest Florida Water Management District partners with the university to provide Florida-Friendly Landscaping (FFL)™ education through county Extension offices. Contact your county Extension office to learn how the FFL coordinator can assist with your grant. Assistance would be best suited for Grant Type 2: Water-Conserving Garden Project. 

Water Resource Management Facilities 

  • Desalination plants
  • Wastewater treatment facilities
  • Water reservoirs
  • Water treatment facilities