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Tampa Bay Estuary Program


Bay Mini-Grant Recipients 2013-2014

Estuary Program Announces 2014 Bay Mini-Grant Recipients

The Tampa Bay Estuary Program recently awarded more than $86,000 to 18 community groups for projects that directly involve citizens in restoring and improving Tampa Bay.

The 2013-2014 Bay Mini-Grant program attracted 30 applicants. Members of the Estuary Program's Community Advisory Committee evaluated the grant proposals, recommending 18 for full or partial funding. Grants were eligible for funding of $500 to $5,000.

Funds for the Mini-Grant program come from sales of the Tampa Bay Estuary license plate - also known as the "Tarpon Tag."

The 2013-2014 recipients are:

1. Around the Bend Nature Tours, LLC
LID Field Trips: Teaching New Pathways for Stormwater
Manatee County students in grades 6-12 will participate in field trips to learn how human activities affect water quality. Students will be introduced to Low Impact Development (LID) stormwater management techniques such as pervious pavers and bio swales. Also included will be lessons regarding non-point source pollution and their affect on seagrass production.

2. Canterbury School of Florida
Estuary Education
Canterbury School will partner with middle-school aged students at Academy Prep and Pace Center for Girls to enhance their knowledge of Tampa Bay through lessons and activities including water conservation and water quality. Students will also participate in a marsh grass planting and learn how the grass acts as a natural filter to remove excess nutrients from stormwater runoff.

3. Community Stepping Stones
"I AM RIVER" - The Hillsborough River's journey to the Gulf - personal stories of the Estuary Basin told through a video made by the teens of Community Stepping Stones
At-risk teens will learn about the Hillsborough River and its relationship to Tampa Bay through classroom studies, field trips on the river and personal videos. The students will then have the opportunity to showcase their river video stories at the Ybor Gallery of Hillsborough Community College. Videos will also be available to Hillsborough and Pinellas County schools and on-line.

4. Dowdell Middle Magnet School
A Day of Discovering Our Bay
Dowdell, the only middle school with an environmental studies magnet program, will take more than 300 of their students to the Tampa Bay Watch facility to participate in hands-on educational experiences focusing on conservation and protection of Tampa Bay. The students will create posters, photos and videos of their experience to share with the school and display at the Florida State and Hillsborough County fairs.

5. Eckerd College
Eckerd College Aquaponics Model System
The Eckerd College Aquaponics Model will reduce nitrogen to the Bay through the replacement of chemical fertilizers on Eckerd College lawns. The natural fertilizer created by the aquaponics will be used on designated lawns. The College will hold workshops for interested individuals and organizations to tour the facility and learn how the process works. Fish and vegetables grown in the system will be used in the school's cafe and/or in the natural fertilizer.

6. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Online Boating and Angling Guide to Tampa Bay - Update and Upgrades
Grant funds will make the current on-line Tampa Bay Boater's Guide more user-friendly and accessible when viewed on multiple platforms, such as mobile smart phones and tablets. Since the beginning of the year, mobile and tablet traffic to the existing site has increased greatly. The updates and upgrades will allow users of multiple devices to view the guide using their smaller screen size.

7. Friends of Boyd Hill Preserve
Swamp Woodland Restoration Project
This project will remove non-native, invasive plants such as Brazilian pepper, primrose willow and wild taro from sensitive swamp hardwood areas within the Boyd Hill Nature Preserve. Volunteers will work to remove the non-natives and clear the waterway to allow the flow of water through the Preserve. Visitors to the Preserve will be educated about the project and importance of planting native plants.

8. Lake Forest Condominium's Homeowner Association
Lake Forest Community Pond Restoration
The pond at Lake Forest, which drains to Cross Bayou before entering Tampa Bay, will undergo a community-led facelift. Restoration efforts will include removal of non-native, invasive plants and replanting with native plants. Students from the local high school will work with community volunteers to assess water quality, identify plants and help create the restoration plan.

9. Learning Gate Community School
Pond Restoration and Water Quality Monitoring
Learning Gate school has created a three-step process for restoring a pond on their property. The first phase will be to clear the invasive plants, the second phase will include education the third phase will include planting native plants. Learning Gate teachers will work with faculty from USF and parent and student volunteers to complete the project.

10. Lowry Park Zoological Society of Tampa, Inc.
Teens4Tampa Bay: Empowering Youth to Save the Estuary
Teens that have applied and been accepted to the Zoo's nationally-recognized Education, Conservation and Community Opportunity (ECCO) program will create estuary-focused programs to present to Zoo visitors. Through this nine month long program, teens will learn about conservation, community involvement and their impact on the Estuary. This information will be delivered to Zoo guests using a mobile cart that can be positioned throughout the Zoo.

11. Manatee School for the Arts (MSA)
MSA Marine Science Education Program: Exploring Tampa Bay through life-changing field trips and education
Nearly one hundred marine science students, many on free or reduced lunch, will participate in field trips, including a trip to Egmont Key to learn about the various bay habitats and species identification of local native and non-native species. Students will use the knowledge gained from the trips to create presentations for students and parents.

12. National Audubon Society, Inc. dba Audubon Florida
Erosion Control/Oyster bar Habitat Creation/Phase 2
Grant funds will create an oyster reef breakwater on the south side of the Alafia Bank Bird Sanctuary. This island has showed significant shoreline erosion on the south side and the oyster bar, created from concrete polygons, will be installed in an effort to slow the erosion. The Alafia Bank Bird Sanctuary has been recognized as the most important waterbird bird nesting site in Florida.

13. Shorecrest Preparatory School
Coastal Awareness Program
Students at Shorecrest Preparatory School will participate in maintaining, transplanting and recycling Spartina alterniflora using the Bay Grasses in Classes program. The program will include water quality testing and the data collected will become part of the Global Learning for the Benefit of the Environment (GLOBE) database. Local data entered into the GLOBE database can be compared with other locations around the world.

14. Tampa Bay Watch
Westshore Waterways Seagrass Transplanting Project
This grant project will recover and transplant seagrass in Old Tampa Bay. Shoal grass, Halodue wrightii will be extracted from an area slated for dredging by the City of Tampa and transplanted using the 1-meter staggered row method. Staff will work alongside volunteers to ensure proper planting techniques are maintained.

15. Tampa Shore Special Dependent District, #60
Tampa Shores Stormwater Filtration System Improvement
A community of more than two hundred homes plans to retrofit storm water catch basins in an effort to reduce the oil, plastics, trash and fertilized lawn clippings flowing into upper Tampa Bay. Community leaders provide information to volunteers on improvement projects and educational opportunities through the Association's website, Facebook, business meetings and social events. Neighborhood members have participated in past clean-up events and continue their ongoing environmental awareness in an effort to improve the Bay.

16. The Florida Aquarium
Secondary Teachers Exploring Climate Change
The Aquarium will host three one-day Climate Change workshops for secondary school teachers from Hillsborough, Pinellas and Manatee counties, reaching up to sixty educators and benefiting more than six thousand students in the Tampa Bay region. Updated and relevant climate change content will be shared with the secondary teachers. Information will include monitoring and measuring personal actions, such as energy use, water use and actions that contribute to CO2 release for age-appropriate teaching back in the classroom.

17. UF/IFAS Extension, Florida Sea Grant in Pinellas County
Building Connections: A Collaborative Climate Change Education Project
This grant project will use Tampa Bay as a local case study to inform visitors to Weedon Island Preserve of the invaluable ecosystem services of coastal habitats. Educational signage, online materials, factsheets and a short video will be created to explain the important role of coastal habitats in buffering the impacts of climate change.

18. West Central Florida Chapter of the American Meteorological Society (WCFLAMS)
Environmental Weather Workshop for Teachers
Teachers from Pinellas, Hillsborough and Manatee counties will participate in a three to four hour workshop focused on to../pics such as, the water cycle and how it cleans polluted water, meteorological events that can cause algal blooms, fish kills, how Florida's climate is suitable for invasive species, how climate change will affect Tampa Bay and many others. Instructors include staff from the National Weather Service, Hillsborough County Schools and USF.

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