SARASOTA, FL – The Sarasota Bay Estuary Program (SBEP) received an EdExploreNEXT Grant to support environmental education benefiting local students. The $25,000 grant was awarded by the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County to support the SBEP PIER Education Program. PIER stands for Protection, Involvement, Education and Restoration. More than 40,000 students from public and private schools have participated in the program since 2003.
SBEP partners for the grant include Sarasota County Natural Resources and Around the Bend Nature Tours. The grant will be used to purchase equipment that teachers can use in their classroom to enhance student activities. PIER includes field trips and curriculum lesson plans benefiting students of all ages.
The EdExploreNEXT Grants are part of a larger focus by The Patterson Foundation to support community education. The initiative includes EDExploreSRQ.com, a public website hosted by the Sarasota School District that’s designed to give teachers access to learning opportunities. All of the content supports Florida’s Subject Area Benchmarks. Local partners for the initiative include the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County, the Science and Environmental Council of Southwest Florida, the Education Foundation of Sarasota County, and Sarasota County Schools.
The Sarasota Bay Estuary Program is dedicated to restoring the area's greatest natural asset—Sarasota Bay. Its unique program strives to improve water quality, increase habitat and enhance the natural resources of the area for use and enjoyment by the public. Sarasota Bay is one of 28 protected estuaries in the U.S. The SBEP was founded in 1989 and its partners include Sarasota County, Manatee County, City of Sarasota, City of Bradenton, Town of Longboat Key, Southwest Florida Water Management District, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.