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DDWS awards $5,000 in school conservation education grants

By Staff | Dec 31, 2014

The “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS) recently awarded more than $8,000 in grants to 12 conservation education-related projects at 11 different schools in Lee, Collier, and Hendry counties.

Teachers submitted grant applications to the DDWS Environmental Education Committee by Oct. 31, 2014. The committee chose awards based on need and relevance to conservation.

Schools to which DDWS awarded grants include Cypress Lake Middle School in Fort Myers for its “Paws For Panthers” project, Edison Park Creative and Expressive Arts School in Fort Myers for “Creating Environmental Stewards,” Estero High School for “Estero Earth Day,” LaBelle 4-H Nature Club and Marine Ecology Team for “4-H Field Trip/Photo Shoot at ‘Ding’ Darling and Cayo Costa,” Patriot Elementary School in Cape Coral for “Fourth Grade Patriots Under Construction,” Pelican Elementary School in Cape Coral for “Catching the Wind: Designing Windmills” and “Science Changes to Watch,” Precious Cargo Academy in Naples for “The Learning Garden,” Robinson Littleton Elementary School in North Fort Myers for “TWEET for the Birds,” Royal Palm Exceptional School in Fort Myers for “ABC: Animals Behavior and Conservation,” Trafalgar Elementary School in Cape Coral for “Save Today Preserve Tomorrow!” and Renaissance Montessori School in Fort Myers for “Discoveries of Relevance.”

“This is the ninth year the Society has awarded these conservation teacher grants, but the first year we extendaed it to a five-county area,” says Doris Hardy, DDWS president and education committee chair. “To date, we have awarded nearly $48,000 in teacher grants. We were so impressed by the great projects our teachers and their students imagined this year. The society is pleased to help out the future of conservation stewards in this important way.”

Grant recipients report back on their projects to the society and refuge, often sending pictures and thank-yous from the students, upon completion in May 2014.

In 2015, DDWS will again be awarding up to $10,000 in teacher conservation grants for schools in Charlotte, Collier, Desoto, Hendry, and Lee Counties. The grants are funded by monies received from the DDWS Conservation Education Endowment Fund earmarked specifically for education.

For information on next year’s grants, contact Ranger Becky Wolff Larkins at (239) 472-1100 ext. 237 or Hardy at hardydd@comcast.net, or visit www.dingdarlingsociety.org/grants after Jan. 1, 2015.

About DDWS

As a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, DDWS works to support J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge’s mission of conservation, wildlife and habitat protection, research, and public education through charitable donations and Refuge Nature Shop proceeds.

To join DDWS and support the refuge with a tax-deductible gift, visit www.dingdarlingsociety.org or contact Birgie Miller at (239) 292-0566 or director@dingdarlingsociety.org.