BROOKSVILLE — Seven Hernando County teachers are among 206 educators who have won Splash! school grants throughout the Southwest Florida Water Management District's 16-county region.
"These teachers are receiving a small amount of money but are able to accomplish so much," said Mary Margaret Hull, Swiftmud's lead communications coordinator. "Grant recipients also use the district's collection of curriculum materials and other free educational resources."
Leonette Ehlenbeck, Challenger K-8 School of Science & Mathematics, Linda Kelley, Moton Elementary School, and Ann Connell, Suncoast Elementary School, will receive the K-3 Watershed Resources Box. Their students will learn about the importance of watersheds in a program that integrates science, mathematics, social studies and literature in hands-on learning activities.
Donald Weed, Explorer K-8, will receive $2,734. Students will participate in classroom readings, hands-on assignments and field trips that will focus on the Florida aquifer system. They will visit limestone caves, springs, rivers and marshes.
Lisa Rae Dickinson, F.W. Springstead High School, will receive $1,611. Students will learn about the Weeki Wachee River and Jenkins Creek ecosystems. Data collected by the students will be added to databases for the Weeki Wachee River and Jenkins Creek and shared with district staff.
Wendi Bellows, Gulf Coast Academy, will receive $3,947. Students will plant drought-tolerant plants and install drip irrigation. They will perform water quality testing, create simulated aquifer filtration systems and produce public service announcement videos.
Madhu Thomas, Hernando Christian Academy, will receive $1,243. Students will study ecosystems and the role of wetlands. They will observe their home water use, complete mini-labs and water quality testing, and take field trips to a wastewater treatment plant and the Springs Coast Environmental Education Center.
The goal of the Splash! school grant program is to provide hands-on learning opportunities that teach students about their local watersheds and the freshwater resources within them. Splash! school grants provide up to $5,000 per school on a reimbursement basis only and are available to public, private and homeschool teachers.