Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo and Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful Receive $10,000 Grants to Help Protect Regional Drinking Water Sources

CLEARWATER, Fla. (December 17, 2014) – Tampa Bay Water announced today that it awarded $10,000 grants to Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo and Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful for their efforts to protect the sources of the region’s drinking water. The grants were presented by Tampa Bay Water’s board of directors at its regular board meeting.

“Through the source water protection grant program, Tampa Bay Water partners with the Tampa Bay community to guard our most precious resource and to ensure that our ecosystems remain healthy and functioning now and into the future,” said Matt Jordan, general manager for Tampa Bay Water.

Since 2008, Tampa Bay Water has offered $20,000 in grants annually to fund projects and events sponsored by local community groups, non-profit groups, schools and universities that help promote protection of the region’s drinking water sources.

In attendance to accept the grants were Craig Pugh, CEO of Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, along with Debbie Evenson, Executive Director of Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful, and Patricia DePlasco, Development and Community Relations Director at Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful.

“This grant helps Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo share a water conservation success story with almost a million visitors a year,” stated Craig Pugh, CEO of Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. “Source water is a precious resource. This project helps the Zoo manage it wisely, which is important because whatever we do in Tampa affects the water we drink.”

Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo will use the funds to make source water protection a consistent theme in its education and outreach efforts. The Zoo is in the early stages of planning initiatives that will shape its role in conservation and source water protection over the next quarter century. The grant funding will go to developing education materials, exhibits, signage, website content and other educational programming.

“Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful believes that protecting water at the source is an important way to ensure the health of humans, ecosystems and economies,” stated Patricia DePlasco, Development & Community Relations Director for Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful. “Tampa Bay Water grants support our educational efforts, which engage bay area citizens and students to become lifelong stewards of our environment.”

Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful will use the funds for education initiatives, which include presentations to school and community groups. This also includes their annual Youth Environmental Education Conference that hosts high school and college students. While their programs’ focus on litter prevention, waste reduction, conservation and beautification, Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful also works to cultivate and support environmental citizenship; draw awareness, understanding and appreciation to Florida’s fragile ecosystem.

To qualify for a grant, applicants provided a plan for a project or event related to source water protection in the Tampa Bay Water service area. The program grants funds from $2,000 to $10,000 for community-based activities including but not limited to: river clean-ups, storm water nature walks and educational field trips.

All mini-grant applications received were reviewed and screened against the program’s selection criteria. Funds will be granted in 2015.

About Tampa Bay Water

Tampa Bay Water is the largest wholesale water supplier in Florida, providing high-quality drinking water to its members, who in turn, supply water to more than 2.3 million residents of the Tampa Bay area. Tampa Bay Water member governments include the cities of New Port Richey, St. Petersburg and Tampa, and the counties of Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas. tampabaywater.org

About Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo

Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo is operated by the Lowry Park Zoological Society, an independent 501(c)(3) charitable organization committed to excellence in education, conservation and research. The Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), and has been rated No. 1 by Parents magazine, “10 Best Zoos,” (2009) and Child magazine, "The 10 Best Zoos for Kids" (2004). The Zoo is located at 1101 W. Sligh Avenue in Tampa, one mile west of I-275 (exit 48) and is open seven days a week, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Parking is free.

Visit zootampa.org or call (813) 935-8552 for information.

About Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful

Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful, Inc. (KTBB), a Keep America Beautiful Affiliate, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to provide environmental education and volunteer opportunities that develop individual responsibility and environmental stewardship. Since 1989, KTBB has formed partnerships with local governments, corporations, schools, and neighborhood organizations to engage individuals and provide opportunities to enhance the community through volunteer participation.