Coed, independent, PK3-12th grade school in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Eighth Grade Bay Grasses in Classes
by Kathryn Jeakle, Eighth Grade Marine Science Teacher
Shorecrest eighth graders have been maintaining seashore paspalum - salt marsh grass - on campus since September of this year. They pulled invaders, tested water quality, and got very, very muddy all for the sake of native bay grasses.
Shorecrest Middle School has been part of the Bay Grasses In Classes program for over ten years. It is a community restoration program in which students grow grasses on Shorecrest grounds and eventually transplant them to support the Bay and its ecosystem. As part of the program this year, they transported 981 plugs of grass they had tended to Terra Ceia Preserve in Manatee County on December 14, 2021. A total of 72 eighth graders, 1 junior, 7 teachers, 2 representatives from Southwest Florida Water Management District, and 3 representatives from Tampa Bay Watch worked together to support the local environment.
After planting the grasses, students were able to collect invertebrates in the area and visit the Manatee Viewing Center at the Teco Power Station in Apollo Beach.
The Chargers have worked hard to complete this community restoration project. Restoring coastal zones with native plants will help eliminate toxins from the water, control erosion, serve as habitats for local species, and serve as carbon sinks to control atmospheric carbon dioxide.