Splash! Grant Overview

The Splash! school grant program provides up to $3,000 per teacher to enhance student knowledge of freshwater resources issues. Public and charter school teachers of grades K through 12 are eligible to apply.


Before completing a grant application, be prepared with the following:

Grant Topic: Review the grant topics and associated details below. Select one or more grant topics and plan your associated key concepts, activities and budget.

Classroom Activities: All grant types are required to incorporate freshwater-resources classroom activities even if the main component of your grant is a field trip or garden. This helps reiterate or introduce new concepts into the grant, expanding its educational value. You can visit WaterMatters.org/Education for ideas. Photos of sample student-completed activities will be submitted at the end of the grant.

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM): What STEM-related teaching strategies will be employed to actively engage students in water resources education?

Next Generation Sunshine State Standards (NGSSS) for Science: A drop-down menu of NGSSS Big Ideas is available on the application to assist you in your selection.

Budget: Prepare your budget based upon the list of approved budget items below. Provide the quantity and estimated costs per item. If applicable, include shipping in the cost of each item. It is your responsibility to find the lowest cost for each item requested. It is also your responsibility to contact the locations on the pre-approved field trip list for pricing.

NOTE: Please also review the list of items SWFWMD cannot pay for below.


Topic 1: Water Cycle Basics

Learning Concepts:

  • Water exists in three different states – liquid, solid and gas.
  • Water is constantly in motion through a process called the water cycle.
  • The major parts of the water cycle include solar energy, evaporation, transpiration, condensation, precipitation, and percolation.
  • The water cycle plays an important role in weather events, such hurricanes, flooding, and droughts.
  • The water cycle impacts our fresh water supply and the amount of water available for wildlife.

Sample Activity Ideas:

  • Use a water cycle model to observe the water cycle in action.
  • Create a water cycle in a bag using the activity guide here.
  • Conduct water cycle experiments to observe water as it changes different states of matter.
  • Write a book or play following a water drop on its journey through the water cycle.
  • Invite a guest presenter, such as Mad Science, to lead students in hands-on explorations all about water!

View Topic 1 sample grant overview and budget here »

Topic 2: Freshwater or Estuarian Ecosystems

Learning Concepts:

  • An ecosystem is a community of microbes, plants, and animals (including humans) that interact with one another and with the physical environment in which they live. Water connects all types of ecosystems.
  • There are many different types of freshwater habitats in Florida.
  • Plants need water and adequate sunlight to grow.
  • Hydrology and soils determine the kinds of plants that grow in specific locations.
  • Invasive species can negatively impact freshwater ecosystems and overtake natural habitats.

Sample Activity Ideas:

  • Participate in an off-site field study or educational program focused on freshwater or estuarian ecosystems. View a list of previously approved field study programs here.
  • Create a model freshwater ecosystem in the classroom.
  • Visit a wetland or create a model wetland to explore the many ecosystem services wetlands provide.
  • Research and present on a nearby freshwater habitat, including the plants and animals found there, recreational uses, significant historical facts, water quality concerns and/or restoration efforts.
  • Explore and discuss native species verse invasive plant species. Work with a local park or non-profit to have students assist with invasive species removal or native plantings at a nearby water habitat.

View Topic 2 sample grant overview and budget here »

Topic 3: Water Quality and Watersheds

Learning Concepts:

  • Water quality is a description of the condition of water. It can refer to the chemical, physical and biological condition of water, as well as whether water is safe to be used for a specific purpose.
  • Scientists use different types of equipment and tests to measure water quality.
  • Pollution comes from many sources, and pollution on the land’s surface can end up in our groundwater and surface waters.
  • A watershed is an area of land that water flows across as it moves toward a common body of water, such as a stream, river, lake or coast.
  • A spring is only as healthy as its springshed, which is the area of land that contributes water to a spring.
  • We all live in a watershed and everything we do can affect the quality of our water.
  • Florida-Friendly LandscapingTM practices can help to protect water quality.

Sample Activity Ideas:

  • Test various water quality parameters and conduct a macroinvertebrate sampling at a local waterway or by using different water samples in the classroom.
  • Use a model, such as an EnviroScape®, to observe how stormwater runoff moves over the land and can bring various pollutants into our waterways.
  • Participate in an off-site field study or educational program focused on water quality. View a list of previously approved field study programs here.
  • Visit a wetland or create a model wetland to explore how this ecosystem helps protect nearby water.
  • Explore a virtual watershed through one of the District’s Virtual Watershed Excursions available here.
  • Invite a local UF/IFAS extension agent to talk with students about how Florida-Friendly LandscapingTM practices can help protect water quality.

View Topic 3 sample grant overview and budget here »

Topic 4: Water Supply and Conservation

Learning Concepts:

  • Traditional sources of freshwater in Florida include groundwater and surface water.
  • Most of our fresh water supply in west-central Florida comes from groundwater. Groundwater is replenished by rainfall as water circulates through the water cycle.
  • Florida’s future depends on a continued adequate supply of fresh water for human consumption and natural systems.
  • To conserve water means to use it wisely and not be wasteful.
  • Different irrigation and gardening methods use various amounts of water. Florida-Friendly LandscapingTM practices require less water and help conserve water.
  • Alternative water supplies use nontraditional sources of water to meet a community’s fresh water needs and reduce pressure on groundwater and surface waters.

Sample Activity Ideas:

  • Create or use an existing garden/landscape area to learn about how different growing techniques and irrigation practices use various amounts of water.
  • Invite a local UF/IFAS extension agent to talk with students about how Florida-Friendly LandscapingTM practices require less water and can help conserve our water supply.
  • Implement a classroom or community awareness campaign led by students focused on the importance of water conservation and water conserving practices.
  • Conduct a school water use evaluation and/or at-home water use evaluation.
  • Research alternative water supply options, such as reusing wastewater or desalination.
  • Visit a desalination or reclaimed water treatment plant.
  • Complete one or more of the District’s hands-on activities focused on water use and conservation found here, or take the Classroom Conservation Challenge.

View Topic 4 sample grant overview and budget here »


Grant applications must clearly state how each budget item will be used to be considered for approval. 

Eligible Budget Items:

  • Transportation
  • Substitute teachers
  • Entrance and program fees for water education field studies
  • Professional to conduct field programs
  • Water test kits and supplies
  • Soil test kits
  • Probeware
  • Kayak, canoe or boat rental (life jackets, paddles, waders, etc.)
  • Dip nets
  • Microscopes (up to $150 each)
  • Microscope slides
  • Field notebooks and study guides
  • Plants and seeds
  • Mulch and soil
  • Rain barrels and coordinating supplies
  • EarthBoxes and coordinating supplies
  • Hydroponic planters and coordinating supplies
  • Gardening tools (gloves, rakes, shovels, hoses, etc.)
  • Drip irrigation supplies
  • Weather station
  • Rain gauge
  • Educational signage
  • Models – such as a watershed model (e.g., Enviroscape®), groundwater model, stream table, etc.
  • Freshwater-related books, DVDs, software and activity kits
  • Project-specific consumable supplies and materials (printing, postage, paper, poster board, art supplies, etc.)

Not Approved Budget Items:

  • Infrastructure (pavers, boardwalks, fences, benches, cisterns, gutters, construction projects, etc.)
  • Storage sheds, carts or display cases
  • Capital expenditures
  • Computer hardware (e.g., thumb drives, computers, iPads)
  • Computer software not exclusively related to water resources education
  • Food or beverages
  • Cameras or GPS equipment
  • Graphic design/artwork
  • Salaries
  • T-shirts
  • Video or audio equipment
  • Website development or website providers


You’ll need to know the following important expectations of grant recipients if you receive a grant:

Making Changes

During the grant period, activity or budget items may need to be modified. If modifications are needed, SWFWMD pre-approval is required. Please email modification requests to Katherine Munson at Katherine.Munson@WaterMatters.org. Katherine is the Splash! grant program manager. All changes must be requested in writing and should not be made until approval is given by Katherine.

Grant Budget and Reimbursement

  • Your approved budget is outlined when you log in to your account. The SWFWMD will reimburse only for items listed in your approved budget.
  • All changes to the original approved budget must be requested in an email to your SWFWMD program manager, Katherine.Munson@WaterMatters.org.
  • The SWFWMD does not provide grant funds directly to grantees. For information on how to make grant related purchases, please contact the Splash! grant liaison for your school district. Find your school district contact here.
  • The SWFWMD will reimburse only for purchases made after a grant is awarded and before the grant cycle ends on May 9, 2025.
  • The SWFWMD will reimburse your school district for your grant only if the Final Documentation and Report is submitted by May 9, 2025 — unless a later deadline is granted by Katherine Munson.
  • All funded projects must be completed in accordance with SWFWMD and state rules, regulations and procedures.


  • It is mandatory to give students a pretest before beginning the grant and a posttest at the completion of your grant’s activities. The pretest and posttest should include all the same questions in the same format.
  • Samples tests and a bank of questions are located on the Additional Information and Resources tab on the right of the Splash! grant webpage. Feel free to use these as samples when creating your own test specific to your grant’s activities.
  • Your Final Report will ask for the average pretest score and the average posttest score.
  • A copy of the pre-/posttest must be submitted as part of your required invoicing documentation.

Participation Hours

  • Record all direct student participation hours related to the grant for your Final Report. Direct student participants are the students taking the pre-/posttest.

Classroom Activities and SWFWMD Resources

  • Every grant should incorporate classroom activities even if the main component of your grant is a field trip or garden. This helps reiterate or introduce new concepts into the grant, expanding its educational value.
  • SWFWMD encourages classroom use of SWFWMD publications and web resources. Please refer to WaterMatters.org/Education for ideas. There’s an abundance of other activities online. Photos of sample student-completed activities will be submitted with your final report.

Spread the Word

  • The SWFWMD encourages grantees to inform the entire school community about the grant and ways students are learning about freshwater resources. A take-home element is also strongly encouraged to inform families about freshwater resources education.
  • The SWFWMD, as a public funding source, reserves the right to share all projects, concepts, artwork, photos, videos and other products of these grants with others who desire to create projects in their own schools or communities. Each grant recipient should maintain school district photo/video release forms for students included in submitted work products.

Important Dates

September 6, 2024: Deadline for applications to be submitted.

October 1, 2024: Grantees will be notified of their acceptance or denial via email.

October 1, 2024 – May 9, 2025: Project activity period.

May 9, 2025: Final Report and documentation are due. Complete the report and upload it, along with your required documentation, to your account accessed under the menu on the top right.