Student and teacher examining pond life
Tampa Bay Water Awards Nearly $60,000 for Community Projects to Protect Drinking Water Sources

Community outreach is essential to engage the Tampa Bay community on the important work of protecting our drinking water sources. Tampa Bay Water’s Source Water Protection Mini-grants and sponsorships programs help Tampa Bay Water partner with organizations that share common environmental goals and they are all cost-effective, collaborative ways to help spread the word about protecting our drinking water, environment and public health.

Tampa Bay Water’s Source Water Protection Mini-grant Program is available to non-profit groups, schools or teachers, and community groups. Grants range from $2,000 to $10,000, for projects relating to protecting regional drinking water supplies.

For 2021, Tampa Bay Water is pleased to award grants to:

Florida Botanical Gardens Foundation ($5,500), to replace educational signs around the Florida Botanical Garden’s Aquatic Demonstration Area. Originally installed more than 15 years ago through a partnership between Southwest Florida Water Management District and Pinellas County, the signs show how storm water runoff, swales and berms, watersheds, retention ponds and pollutants can affect our environment and drinking water sources.

Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful ($10,000), to create a distance learning video production room as part of its Environmental Education Program to support education initiatives and presentations to school groups and community groups. This project helps Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful adapt to the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic and provides opportunities to reach more students, including virtual school students.

Keep Pinellas Beautiful ($10,000), to help re-envision its education and outreach efforts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It will create new, flexible, scalable programming to ensure a wider variety of ways to participate, including small-group and virtual learning for K-12 educational students learning about watershed health, water quality, source water health and habitat improvement. For 2021, Keep Pinellas Beautiful will broaden its community reach with virtual education, experiential learning, grassroots efforts and a high school ambassador program.

Pinellas County Schools Rain, Rain, Grow Away! Program ($3,400), to create a Florida-friendly Pollinator Garden at the Boyd Hill Nature Preserve in St. Petersburg focusing on water conservation and minimal pesticide use. The garden will be coupled with the City of St. Petersburg’s Rain Barrel Education and Composting programs. The garden will contain educational signage, provide information to more than 4,000 students each school year in addition to more than 80,000 park visitors. Students and park patrons will have access to environmental education programming to help them understand the correlation between pesticide use and the use of native plants and how this helps to protect our water resources.

Tampa Bay Water also sponsors programs that help protect and conserve the Tampa Bay region’s water resources. For 2021, Tampa Bay Water is proud to sponsor:

Pasco County Schools Environmental Education Program at the Cross Bar Ranch Environmental Education Center ($20,000), to continue offering Pasco County School students in-field instruction for environmental education. Students in the seventh grade Watershed Ambassador’s Program, which runs September to June each school year, use the Cross Bar Ranch site to support water resource education. Funding from Tampa Bay Water goes to programmatic equipment and supplies, transportation costs, and Environmental Program resource teacher salary costs, to mobilize and continue the program in light of the effects of the pandemic.

Glazer Children's Museum Source Water Protection for Families Project ($10,000), to fund the Source Water Protection for Families exhibit, a complement to The Wild Kratts: Creature Power! exhibit to the museum January through May 2021. The exhibit focuses on cultivating STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills in children ages 3 to 9 and exploring animal habitats from around the world. The Source Water Protection for Families project will feature daily digital and in-exhibit programming to teach about Florida’s diverse animal habitats, the importance of water to their existence, and how they’re interconnected.