Saturday, June 23, 2018
Education

Winding Waters kids pluck squishy scourge from Weeki Wachee River

WEEKI WACHEE — Lyngbya is a non-native plantlike organism — actually a cyanobacterium or blue-green alga. It does not belong in Florida, and it causes problems.

"Manatees eat eel grass," said Winding Waters K-8 sixth-grader Marleen Ohr, 11, "and there's this Lyngbya; it covers the sun so the eel grass can't grow."

Marleen and her classmates recently visited the Springs Coast Environmental Education Center in Weeki Wachee to learn about the invasive algae and to help clear the spring-fed Weeki Wachee River under the supervision of the center's director, Cheryl Paradis.

"I was inspired by the Rotary clubs' project to clean Lyngbya out of the Weeki Wachee River," Paradis said.

She volunteered with that effort and said she thought, "Wow, this would be a really good experience for my students."

She had to go through the permit process, first with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

"You can't just remove anything that you want out of the river," she said.

The students set out in kayaks and did a bit of a nature trip before the cleanup. Then they climbed out of the kayaks and walked or swam through the water, collecting the offensive organisms and putting them in Paradis' kayak. From there, she would see to it that the collected mats of algae were removed to an area where they could dry out.

Stacy Lucky is a Winding Waters P.E. teacher who, with fellow P.E. teacher Denise Suiters, accompanied the students to the center. Lucky saw the outing as a mix of science and physical education.

"I think it's a great experience for the kids to see nature hands-on and see what kayaks are like," she said.

Adam Schad, 11, was in the water with the Lyngbya, which was "heavy, squishy, green." He said he learned "that the Lyngbya is not good for plants, because it covers the plant so it doesn't get sunlight."

William Diggs, 11, went on to explain that "plants and small animals need (eel) grass to live on because bigger animals can kill them."

Although Xiohaly Sambolin, 11, now knows about eel grass, she liked being away from the classroom.

"We got to go kayaking. We swam in the water," she said.

For Kayla Gorton, 11, the best part of the morning was "going down the river," where they learned "about the outside and wildlife and stuff."

     
 
Comments
First step for Hillsborough schools facing biggest challenges: Hire more teachers

First step for Hillsborough schools facing biggest challenges: Hire more teachers

TAMPA ó As chief of diversity for the Hillsborough County School District, Minerva Spanner-Morrow tries to keep her expectations realistic."We want the best of the best and I know thatís very difficult," she told principals last week as they prepared...
Published: 06/23/18
Hernando school officials set to discuss replacement, sever ties after firing Superintendent Lori Romano

Hernando school officials set to discuss replacement, sever ties after firing Superintendent Lori Romano

BROOKSVILLE ó With dust still settling from the Hernando County School Boardís close vote to fire Superintendent Lori Romano ó and days before her time as head of the district runs out ó school officials and community members seem to be already movin...
Published: 06/20/18
Hernando students score slightly better on state tests

Hernando students score slightly better on state tests

BROOKSVILLE ó As schools and districts across the state await their 2018 grades from the Florida Department of Education, the standardized test scores that factor into those ratings and were dropped last week show slight gains in Hernando County.The ...
Published: 06/20/18
Budget analysis projects deficit, deepened by security costs, for Pasco schools in coming year

Budget analysis projects deficit, deepened by security costs, for Pasco schools in coming year

An early analysis of the Pasco County School Districtís 2018-2019 budget projects a deficit of more than a million dollars, with more than half of that coming from a shortfall in funding new school safety requirements.Costs to hire and train 53 new s...
Published: 06/20/18
New dorm still coming to USF St. Petersburg, but in a smaller package

New dorm still coming to USF St. Petersburg, but in a smaller package

ST. PETERSBURG ó Originally pitched as a nine- or 10-story, 550-bed dorm for the overcrowded University of South Florida St. Petersburg campus, USFís latest residence hall project will likely look much different by the time itís done.For starters, it...
Published: 06/20/18
Carlton: From Sun Dome to Beer Stadium: Don’t let suds scare you

Carlton: From Sun Dome to Beer Stadium: Don’t let suds scare you

Am I missing something in the — pardon the expression — brouhaha over the renaming of the University of South Florida Sun Dome to the Yuengling Center? In trading a college arena’s longtime name for that of a big-name beer brewed ne...
Published: 06/20/18

Hillsborough school district will pursue two kinds of local taxes

TAMPA ó Hillsborough County School District officials took an important step Tuesday toward asking the voters to pay higher taxes for schools that, they say, are not getting enough money from the state.The board voted 5-0 to submit a tax referendum r...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/20/18
STEM camp beats the summer doldrums for some Pasco students

STEM camp beats the summer doldrums for some Pasco students

DADE CITY óJust a few weeks into summer vacation, Pasco Middle School student Jade Neal, 14, was back at school, delving into a challenging STEM activity on force in motion, as the theme to Mission Impossible played in the background.The assignment? ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/21/18
Ethan Hooper steps up with a salute to teachers

Ethan Hooper steps up with a salute to teachers

Editorís note: Ethan Hooper wrote todayís column to give Ernest Hooper Fatherís Day off.In May, I graduated from the University of Central Florida with a degree in elementary education, and I recently secured a job as a first-grade teacher with Orang...
Published: 06/18/18
AP World History course is dropping thousands of years of human events - and critics are furious

AP World History course is dropping thousands of years of human events - and critics are furious

Since 2002, the AP World History course has covered thousands of years of human activity around the planet, starting 10,000 years back. But now the College Board, which owns the Advanced Placement program, wants to cut out most of that history and st...
Published: 06/16/18