Tampa Bay Estuary Program Tampa Bay Estuary Program


Recipients 2014-2015

Estuary Program Awards $83,000 in Community Grants

The Tampa Bay Estuary Program recently awarded $83,000 to 20 community groups for projects that directly involve citizens in restoring and improving Tampa Bay.

This year's Bay Mini-Grant program attracted 30 applicants. Members of the Estuary Program's Community Advisory Committee evaluated the grant proposals, recommending 20 for full funding. Grant requests were eligible for as little as $500 up 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 2014-2015 award recipients, by county, are:

Hillsborough County

Community Stepping Stones $4,975.00

The Tampa Bay I Want to Inherit

Participating teachers will work with 200 to 400 at-risk Tampa youth to create art exhibits or murals illustrating a "Think Earth" theme focused on climate change. The students' art projects will be displayed in local exhibits and in a traveling show.

Florida Turtle Conservation Trust $4,450.12

The Suwanee Cooter in the Alafia River: Determining the Distribution, Status and Conservation Needs of a Disjunct Turtle Population

Believed to be extinct from the Alafia River for at least 25 years, a small population of this freshwater turtle (17 hatchlings) was discovered in 2014. This project will investigate the population abundance and distribution of this state Species of Special Concern in the Alafia, assessing habitat conditions, identifying conservation needs, and offering hands-on field experiences and training to local university students and park/preserve volunteers.

Hillsborough Community College $5,000.00

Cockroach Bay Environmental Studies Center Habitat Restoration, Phase I

This project combines both habitat restoration, through the removal of invasive plants on 6 acres adjacent to Cockroach Bay Aquatic Preserve, with educational seminars about bay ecology and bay-friendly living for the underserved, minority populations living close by the Preserve.

Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful $2,910.00

Watershed Education Model

KTTB will install an enviroscape model at the Florida Learning Garden on the Florida State Fairgrounds, and accompanying educational materials. This large tabletop model will introduce Hillsborough County 3rd graders who visit the State Fairgrounds each year for Ag-Venture to stormwater runoff, its impacts and how to prevent it.

Lowry Park Zoological Society of Tampa, Inc. $5,000.00

Bringing "Beasties" to the Zoo: A Collaborative Teen Program for Science Investigation and Self-Expression

This inventive partnership project will bring "Beautiful Beasties", plankton-inspired sculptures, out of retirement from the warehouse of Community Stepping Stones to become part of a repurposed exhibit at the Zoo. More than 20 at-risk teens will work at the Zoo to research the science that links the "Beasties" with the living organisms and work to translate this information into interpretive graphics. At Community Stepping Stones, new "Beasties" will be created by the participating teens for the zoo exhibit based on their research.

Quest Ecology, Inc. $868.00

Pulling the Plug on Invasive Plants, One Vine at a Time

Quest staff will present an educational presentation on the harmful effects of exotic, invasive plant species to 8th grade students at RCMA Academy. The RCMA Academy school population is nearly 100% Hispanic, where English is the second language for these children. Students will then take a field trip to the Alafia River State Park where they will remove invasive air potato plants to reinforce what they learned in the classroom.

Temple Terrace Preservation Society $5,000.00

Bat Tower Fencing and Signage Project

The Temple Terrace Preservation Society has worked for years to replace a local landmark bat house from the 1920's that was lost to arson in 1979. The Society recently received city approval to rebuild the bat house. When finished, it will be able to house 10,000 bats. This grant will specifically be used for fencing and educational signage to keep the bat house and its inhabitants safe.

The Florida Aquarium $4,500.00

Connecting Elementary Teachers with the Tampa Bay Watershed

Three one-day workshops hosted by the Aquarium for elementary school teachers will share information about key issues affecting the health of Tampa Bay. The workshops will emphasize the importance of personal, hands-on involvement in bay improvement initiatives such as clean-ups and workdays for teachers to promote to students.

Center for Open Exploration (C4OE) $5,000.00

Natural Marine Debris Collection Areas

The C4OE project will be a crowd-sourced, citizen-driven, coastal clean-up effort that simultaneously documents and maps debris collection areas. The creation of a mobile application to document marine debris locations will then collect data for the NOAA Marine Debris Clearinghouse.

Pinellas County

Canterbury School of Florida $5,000.00

Tampa Bay Buoys

Middle and high school students from Canterbury will create, install and monitor a Basic Observation Buoy. Students will use the buoy to monitor water temperature, salinity and pH and share the data online with the Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association (SECOORA), National Geographic Field Scope and other sites. Students will create multimedia presentations to share with other participating schools.

City of St. Petersburg's TASCO Teen Center $3,047.92


Teens attending the Teen Arts, Sports and Cultural Opportunities (TASCO) program conducted by the St. Petersburg Recreation Department will utilize photography and computer design to create three interactive traveling displays to educate teens about the importance of Tampa Bay.

Eckerd College $4,133.00

Plastics and Microplastics in Tampa Bay: Education and Action

Eckerd College will partner with AMIKids, at-risk, middle-school aged students, to implement a three-pronged approach to raising awareness about the presence and impact of micro-plastics in Tampa Bay and the Gulf. Students will participate in a clean-up activity, sample for microplastics and learn about their effects on the Bay and create awareness signs.

Neighborhood B Homeowners Association $5,000.00

Lake Taranto Restoration and Revegetation

This homeowners association along Placido Bayou in St. Petersburg will restore Lake Taranto, one of three lakes receiving stormwater runoff from the surrounding neighborhood. The slope of Lake Taranto will be regraded using a biodegradable erosion blanket and residents will install native plants to stabilize the shoreline and help prevent lawn runoff from entering the lake. Newsletter and website updates will keep residents informed and involved in the project.

Riviera Bay Civic Association $1,540.00

Healthy Waters & Neighborhood Clean-Up

Local neighbors will clean up and remove trash and debris from the areas surrounding Riviera Bay. Volunteers also will be recruited from the larger community, including Boy Scout troops and local school groups. "Drains To Bay" markers will be installed on storm drains to remind residents not to dump yard debris, oil or trash.

The Friends of Boyd Hill Nature Preserve $5,000.00

Swamp Woodland Restoration Project Continuation

Follow-up treatment will be provided to remove invasive plants that have begin to return in previously treated areas of Boyd Hill Nature Preserve in St. Petersburg. Interns from local colleges will assist with management plans and activities, and educational signs will be installed to inform preserve visitors about the restoration and promote native plants.

The Shores of Long Bayou Homeowners Association $4,187.00

Increasing Conservation Awareness by Rejuvenating Retention Ponds

The homeowners association, which won our Golden Mangrove Award last year for its outstanding stormwater pond restoration, will expand its efforts to several more stormwater ponds within the community. Residents also will create a series of presentations so their experience and knowledge of pond restoration can be shared with other neighborhoods.

Manatee County

Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County, Inc. $3,980.08

Great Futures Start Here for Environmental Sustainability

Manatee County youth ages 5-17 will learn about Tampa Bay through hands-on activities, educational components and field trips to local County Parks and Preserves. Field trips will focus on identifying plants, animals and how they are connected to the Tampa Bay watershed.

Manatee School for the Arts $5,000.00

Exploration, Conservation and Education Through Field Work and Aquaculture

Marine Science students at this school, 50% of whom receive free or reduced-cost lunches, will travel to Tampa Bay Watch in St. Petersburg to learn about Tampa Bay. Students will then incorporate what they learn in classroom activities, including installing and maintaining an on-campus aquaculture tank, and creating their own field guide of bay habitats and inhabitants.

The Manatee County Library System $3,505.20

The Waterway Book to Action Project

This grant project will combine book discussions with environmental education, awareness and action. Each age group will take part in a book reading and/or discussion, then take a bay-related field trip. Teens will read popular fiction stories, participate in awareness programs and attend local clean-ups and invasive plant removal projects at parks and preserves.

Hillsborough, Manatee and Pinellas Counties

Environmental Protection Commission of Hillsborough County $5,000.00

Artificial Reef Program Brochure & Catch Application

EPCHC will design and produce an updated artificial reef brochure indentifying locations of artificial reefs in Tampa Bay. Additionally, a catch reporting computer app will be created to encourage anglers to report data about species caught on artificial reefs.


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