5 local schools awarded grants for water resource education projects

Students from Vanguard High School in Marion County collecting water samples on Silver River. (Provided by St. Johns River Water Management District)

Five Northeast Florida schools were recognized recently with grant money from the St. Johns River Water Management District to support teachers’ efforts to educate students about the importance of Florida’s freshwater and estuarine systems.

Overall, the SJRWMD awarded $20,825 in grants to 11 schools within the District. Among those were three schools in Duval County, one in Clay County and one in Putnam County.

The Blue School Grant Program began in 2016 with the mission of helping students develop an appreciation for Florida’s water, understanding that water is a limited resource and teaching them a water ethic that they can foster throughout their lifetime.

Blue School grants encourage hands-on student learning through STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) activities, as well as engagement of the greater school community.

“After students complete their projects this year, the District will have reached over 10,000 students! That is 10,000 Floridians that we have supported in learning more about Florida’s water resources,” said the SJRWMD Education and Outreach Coordinator Laura La Beur. “This is a unique funding opportunity that helps support teachers within the District to include water resources topics in their curriculum development, and it incentivizes work beyond the classroom.”

The program provides up to $2,000 per teacher, and the district awarded the following local schools/teachers grants:

  • Baldwin Middle-Senior High – Amy Pellicer (Duval)
  • James Weldon Middle School – Christos Lampropoulos (Duval)
  • Landmark Middle School – Avis Collier (Duval)
  • Oakleaf High School – Victoria Gwaltney (Clay)
  • Crescent City Junior Senior High School – Marcia Parker (Putnam)

Grants are available to support water education programs and activities that focus on water cycle basics, freshwater or estuarian ecosystems, water quality and water conservation.

For more information, please visit the District’s website at www.sjrwmd.com/education/blue-school.

About the Author:

A Jacksonville native and proud University of North Florida alum, Francine Frazier has been with News4Jax since 2014 after spending nine years at The Florida Times-Union.