Grasses in Classes
Sea Grant Extension Agent
Due to the tropical storm and hurricane activity of the past decade, native plants are in great demand to speed recovery of natural areas. The Grasses in Classes Program is a partnership that includes the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the West Florida Regional Planning Council, UF-IFAS and Sea Grant Extension, County governments, and others to provide plants for these ecosystem restoration projects.
At least two schools in each county from Escambia through Bay County currently participate in the program. Students raise plants including smooth cordgrass, saltmeadow cordgrass, black needle rush, and sea oats. During the growing process, students learn horticulture techniques and may conduct growth rate and other experiments as part of their science classes. At the end of the school year, many students participate in field trips to transplanting their plants at local ecosystem restoration sites.
Escambia County’s Pine Forest High School transplanted their first season of plants to the Project GreenShores site in Pensacola Bay last spring. The students also conducted seining activities and examined oyster reefs to learn about aquatic species utilizing the area. Pine Forest is now growing three salt marsh species for the 2009-2010 school year.
If your school would be interested in participating in Grasses in Classes, contact your nearest Sea Grant Extension agent to discuss how to get started.