The LEEF Mini-grant Program was established to promote environmental education and conservation through projects of formal and non-formal educators and organizations. This special round of 2024 LEEF Mini Grants is supported by Clay Electric Utility's Operation Round Up program.
We received many excellent applications , with $4,000 of funding to allocate. Congratulations to the following winners:
Fishing For Success, UF School of Forest, Fisheries and Geomatic Sciences received $2,000 to expand their Aquatic Education program, providing free Family Fishing Days and outdoor learning classroom activities.
FFS is a multifaceted environmental education program at the UF School of Forest, Fisheries, and Geomatics Sciences. Community members gather monthly for free Family Fishing Day events. Schools, camps, and other youth organizations attend field trips to the outdoor classroom. Hands-on activities stimulate their passion for the natural world as future stewards of our planet. The interactive booth engages the public in aquatic ecology and wetland conservation at large community festivals and expositions. Support of their programs has an exponential impact.
Live invertebrates attract curious crowds to our aquatic ecology booth. Portable aerators will allow them to add fish to our traveling aquarium and safely transport and house aquatic organisms for display at events.
Most biodiversity occurs at the microscopic level. Many people have not had the opportunity to discover the intriguing world inside each drop of pond water. A light microscope and viewing screen will not only allow their participants to observe living microorganisms, but also distinguish characteristics when teaching youth to identify aquatic invertebrates, fish, and plants. They support student success on Florida’s state testing, which includes standards on microscopes, Kingdom Protista, taxonomy, and dichotomous keys.
Thousands of visitors pass the large kiosk located between the parking lot and the ponds each year. It currently contains posters that are too faded to read. With funding, they will create a new poster that uses this space to inform the public about the significance of Florida’s wetlands and their inhabitants, while also thanking LEEF and Clay Electric for their generous support of the program.
East Marion Elementary, in partnership with Sliver River Museum, will receive $2,000 to support the revitalization of their partnership with the East Marion Silver River-lution program.
Being just a few short miles away, this grant will assist in transportation to and from the Silver River, supply students with materials needed for hands-on lab experiences, and will enlighten our small school community of the science behind our river's environment. EME (East Marion Elementary) staff and Silver River experts will meet and collaborate to supply students with standard-based Science education and exploration. This partnership will greatly benefit the community around us and bridge the gap between education, the real world, and the future scientists on our campus. This partnership seeks to enhance the engagement of our community as a whole in environmental education. When students are given the opportunity learn hands on and build connections with the world around us, student achievement will increase. East Marion Elementary has historically had such a program on campus, but funding and the COVID-19 Pandemic have halted the partnership. This grant would facilitate a revitalization which will engage families and their learners.