BAY GRASSES IN CLASSES
Schools in the Program
The BGIC program gives students the opportunity to learn about the Tampa Bay estuary by growing and maintaining on-campus salt marsh nurseries. It also provides hands-on opportunities for students to appreciate and learn about the importance of salt marsh vegetation to the estuarine ecosystem. Currently, there are 15 schools and 19 nurseries that are part of the BGIC program. These schools helped to restore six acres of shoreline around Tampa Bay in the last year!
Sickles High School
Sickles High School has completed the first cycle of the BGIC process with recycling their nursery after planting 1,500 plugs of salt marsh in early April at the Rock Ponds Ecosystem Restoration Site.
Sickles joined the program during the 2013/2014 school year, constructing the nursery and harvesting their salt marsh toward the end of 2013. Tony Leotta, Sickles’ lead BGIC teacher, incorporates the BGIC nursery into his aquaponics program. The students learn about the importance of a healthy marsh as it relates to locally important species—such as redfish—which they grow as part of the program.
Mr. Leotta and the students also created a system using a rain barrel to mix and distribute salt in the nursery, more effectively maintaining salinity and conserving water.
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