ALACHUA COUNTY, FL - The Alachua County Environmental Protection Department (ACEPD) was recently awarded a grant to teach students about the impacts of daily activities (such as littering, applying fertilizer and pesticides, and increasing stormwater runoff from developed areas) on water pollution in our creeks and watersheds. Three local schools (Glen Springs Elementary, Williams Elementary, and Kanapaha Middle School) were selected to participate in the pilot project.
The project, titled "Exploring Solutions to Non-point Source Pollution,” is funded by the Envirnmental Protection Agency (EPA) Environmental Education Program. It consists of four teaching modules: a hands-on classroom presentation on non-point source pollution, a field trip to a local stormwater treatment wetland, a classroom planning workshop to design and build a rain harvesting exhibit at the school, and finally a workday for the creation of the outdoor exhibit (rain barrels connected to a rain garden).
The grant is coordinated by ACEPD staff, with support from local partners including the Alachua County Extension Office (Wendy Wilber and master gardeners), University of Florida (Dr. Mark Clark and UF Wetlands Club), Gainesville Clean Water Partnership, and Current Problems, Inc.
“We really want the students to immerse themselves in the issues of water pollution and have planned a variety of hands-on activities so they can also be active participants in finding solutions. The hope is that they will put their new understanding to practice and share it with their peers, family, and community,” says Eliana Bardi, Senior Planner with ACEPD. "Our hope is to inspire students and the community to adopt some of these practices and techniques in their everyday lives and homes by providing them with resources and low-cost solutions to improve our community’s waters. The grant complements the Department’s water quality protection goals and new water conservation initiative."
For more information, contact Eliana Bardi at 352-264-6800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.