published: Friday, January 25, 2013
Kindergarten Learning Center awarded Splash! grant
Special to the News-Sun
SEBRING - Students at The Kindergarten Learning Center in Highlands County will study water use and water conservation thanks to a Splash! school grant from the Southwest Florida Water Management District.
The goal of the Splash! school grant program is to provide teachers with funding to enhance student knowledge of topics that meet the district's core mission and teach students about their local watersheds, water conservation, quality and supply. Splash! school grants provide up to $3,000 per school on a reimbursement basis and are available to public school teachers.
Melissa Gulvin, the district's K-12 education coordinator, said the grant program is important because these funds are often the deciding factor in whether students learn firsthand about local water resources or not.
"For instance, if a school's campus is near a local water body, students may conduct hands-on water testing and cleanups while learning how their actions affect the health of that local water body and the surrounding watershed," she said.
Teacher Elena Wirick-Velez at The Kindergarten Learning Center was awarded $1,560. Through classroom activities and a field trip to Highlands Hammock, students will learn how the water cycle, weather and freshwater resources are connected. Students will survey the families of other schoolmates about water use and promote water conservation.
This year, 94 Splash! grants were awarded across the district's 16-county region to educate students on water resources. Past Splash! grant projects include student monitoring of local water quality, environmental field studies and school or community outreach campaigns designed to encourage water conservation.
In addition to Splash! grant funding, the district offers free teacher professional development workshops and curriculum materials. The publications are correlated to Florida's Next Generation Sunshine State Science Standards and the Common Core State Standards and can be ordered on the district's website at WaterMatters.org/publications/.
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