The Navarre Beach Marine Science Station announced today that it has been awarded a roughly $95,000 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for a Santa Rosa Sound water-monitoring project.
The NOAA Bay Watershed Education and Training grant will be coupled with an 18-percent match, totaling $115,000 toward the project, which is titled “Empowering Students to Take Action: Aquatic Care Team (ACT)”.
“Water quality restoration efforts will need baseline information to compare the effectiveness of implementation to measure success, however, few data are available on existing water quality and ecological indices in Santa Rosa Sound at Navarre. To fill this gap, ACT students will learn to use standardized methods to measure environmental variables of habitat and water quality and create a long-term record for this region,” stated MSS Program Director Charlene Mauro.
Per Mauro, 40 high school students who are dual-enrolled in Pensacola State College courses at the Navarre Beach Marine Science Station will work with investigators and experts in water quality from the University of West Florida on the project.
“The experience will give students the background knowledge needed to make informed decisions, suggest solutions, and communicate issues to local residents and policy makers leading to watershed protection in Santa Rosa County,” stated Mauro.
Overall, the project will reach approximately 4,000 students via field trips and other presentations.
“I never underestimate the impact restoration projects and real science experiences can have on students. Empowering Students to Take Action: Aquatic Care Team will reach thousands of community members and students in the area,” Mauro said. “Our goal is to educate, empower, and restore local waterways…We look forward to working with UWF and other environmental organizations on this project.”