By Marq Caughell
At its December board meeting, Tampa Bay Water awarded $25,500 in source water protection mini-grants to Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful, Keep Pinellas Beautiful, Pinellas County Schools’ Journeys in Journalism program and the Coffee Pot Bayou Watershed Alliance for projects that help protect the region’s drinking water sources.
“This program allows us to partner with the Tampa Bay community on a common goal of protecting our region’s drinking water sources,” said Michelle Stom, chief communications officer for Tampa Bay Water.
Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful will receive $10,000 to support education initiatives and presentations to school groups and community groups through its Environmental Education Program. The program teaches students the importance of putting waste in its place and how their actions can directly affect the Tampa Bay watershed.
Keep Pinellas Beautiful will receive $10,000 to increase its K-12 educational curriculum on watershed health, water quality, source water health and habitat improvement. It also will expand its Annual Student Summer Workshops to include watershed stewardship education across Pinellas County and grow its Youth Advisory Council.
Pinellas County Schools’ Journeys in Journalism program, which includes students from Melrose Elementary, John Hopkins Middle and Lakewood High, will receive $3,500 to work to increase media literacy and develop a community and civic engagement campaign across multimedia platforms to promote the value of a clean and safe water system in our community.
The Coffeepot Bayou Watershed Alliance will use $2,000 in grant funding for quarterly volunteer cleanup events in and around the bayou located in St. Petersburg. It includes trash and invasive plant removal, horticulture services to support new native plants, monthly water sampling and bird surveys. It will engage public and private schools and will also work with Boy Scout Troop 219.
Since 2008, Tampa Bay Water has invested approximately $230,000 in its mini-grant program to help community-based efforts that protect the region’s drinking water resources. For more information and to apply for future grant funding, visit tampabaywater.org/grant.