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BAY GRASSES IN CLASSES
Connecting Education to Restoration
Tampa Bay Watch's Bay Grasses in Classes (BGIC) program began 20 years ago and is program that seeks to facilitate youth involvement in habitat restoration efforts. At each school wetland nursery, students plant, maintain, and harvest salt marsh (Spartina alterniflora) grasses to be replanted into targeted coastal areas. These salt marsh plants will act as filtering agents for storm water runoff, stabilize shorelines, and buffer uplands from storms, while offering foraging and sanctuary for many species of fish and wildlife. The BGIC program provides a regular source of native wetland plants for use in habitat restoration projects around Tampa Bay and replenishes marsh habitat.
The on-campus nurseries provide an excellent educational resource for participating students who work side-by-side with local scientists involved with the restoration of the bay, gaining valuable ecological and agricultural knowledge while experiencing environmental stewardship in its purest form.
Interested in joining the BGIC program? If you are a middle school or high school science/agriculture program, just click here to download our questionnaire.
What Do the School Nurseries Provide?
- Restored 171.93 acres of wetland habitat
- Planted 350,000 plugs of school-grown plants
- 82,000 students and 4,000 teachers have participated since the program began 20 years ago
- The program has saved over $1,400,000 to government agencies for restoration
Benefits of the Wetland Nursery Program
- Salt marsh plants filter storm water runoff, serve as a link in the marine food web, stabilize shorelines, and buffers uplands from storms.
- Planting activities give students and the public an opportunity to take an active role in restoring the environment while promoting environmental education of the bay's problems and solutions.
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