Science & Technology

WFRPC brings NOAA grant to local schools

The West Florida Regional Planning Council was recently awarded a grant through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Bay Watershed Education and Training program. The grant will be administered in both Escambia and Santa Rosa counties and provides 11th grade students and teachers with the resources to promote hands-on environmental education through outdoor place-based activities.

A two-day NOAA B-WET Teachers’ Workshop will be hosted by the University of West Florida’s Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences on August 3 and 4 to introduce teachers to the NOAA Watershed Vanguard for Education program. The department chair, Dr. Matthew Schwartz, along with Dr. Johan Liebens and Nathan McKinney will facilitate the event.

“We are very excited to be joining WFRPC and our regional partners in support of the valuable project that helps high school teachers bring hands-on learning to students in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. We are particularly excited that this project focuses attention on stormwater and its regional environmental impact because this issue has been especially important to our region over the past two years. The UWF Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences continues to explore ways that we can educate and serve the region in the geosciences,” said Schwartz.

The goal of the WAVE program is for students to gain an overall understanding of the watershed concept and how actions on the local level can affect overall water quality.

The program administrator, Traci Goodhart, an environmental planner with the WFRPC, has been working closely with both school districts and partners to ensure the WAVE program will offer students the opportunity to expand their current studies and provide a skill set that applies to careers in the environmental field while promoting environmental preservation and conservation.

“This program would not be possible without support from the Escambia and Santa Rosa County UF IFAS Extension offices and both county school districts,” said Goodhart.

For information on the workshop or the NOAA WAVE program, email or call 850.332.7976 ext. 222.