St. Johns County teachers receive thousands in grant dollars

PALATKA, Fla., Dec. 20, 2016 — Three St. Johns County schoolteachers are receiving grant funding from the St. Johns River Water Management District’s new Blue School Grant Program for projects to enhance student development in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) related topics. The program offers financial support for teachers working to promote water resource protection through hands-on learning opportunities.

“I applaud these teachers for their commitment to educating their students about Florida’s water resources,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “I’m really excited to see these projects come to fruition in the months ahead. Even more, I appreciate these educators and their schools supporting a legacy of water resource protection with Florida’s future leaders.”

April Moore, St. Johns Technical High School Academy of Coastal and Water Resources, and Amy DeVries, Pedro Menendez High School, are each receiving $1,000, while Wendy Vidor with Matanzas High School is receiving $700.

Moore’s project involves site visits to local farms and ranches, collecting water for analysis and mapping local watersheds. The project will include looking at how geography relates to water quality as a result of agricultural stormwater runoff.

DeVries’ project calls for Pedro Menendez ninth graders to test samples from three onsite waterbodies at the school, demonstrating how human actions affect the quality of freshwater resources.

Vidor’s horticulture students will convert an existing overhead irrigation system for a raised garden bed at the school to a timed drip irrigation system. The students will collect data, conduct experiments and develop a public service announcement about the effects of runoff.

Other grant recipients include Sarah Smith and Josue Urbina, both with Crooms Academy of Information Technology in Seminole County; Lori Ballard, Umatilla High School in Lake County; Tessa Clark, Leesburg High School in Lake County; and Heather LeGate, Eau Gallie High School in Brevard County, each received $1,000 grants.

The Blue School Grant Program, now in its inaugural year, provides grants of up to $1,000 for water quality field study, water-conserving garden projects, community/school awareness campaigns or freshwater resources field study programs. The district plans to double funding for this project for 2017 and encourages teachers to keep an eye out for next year’s application window.