Tacoma announces winners of Make a Splash environmental grants

How would you protect precious surface water resources in Tacoma with $2,500 or less? Installing rain barrels, hosting science day camps and educating students about water quality are just a few ideas from the 19 individuals and groups awarded 2004 Make a Splash grants from City of Tacoma Surface Water Management.

Surface Water Management, a division of Public Works Environmental Services, awarded about $40,000 in grants for projects designed to educate residents and protect surface water resources within Tacoma city limits.

Started in 2003, the City’s Make a Splash program awards up to $50,000 a year in environmental grants. The grants are supported by surface water utility rates.

This year’s winners and grant plans include some of the following organizations:

Blueberry Park Volunteers — The group plans to build a trail and remove non-native vegetation, clearing a large area for outdoor activities. Removing the non-native vegetation will allow for better drainage and provide growing space for existing blueberry bushes.

Boys and Girls Clubs, Gonyea Branch — The branch will create an environmental club and provide environmental education for youth ages 6-12.

Citizens for a Healthy Bay — The non-profit organization will use its grant for tools and supplies to educate volunteers about habitat issues through its Adopt-a-Wildlife Area program.

Divers’ Ecological Society — The society will provide environmental stewardship programs for divers and beachcombers.

Down to Earth Gadgets and Gizmos — The small business that specializes in rain barrels will use its grant to install rain barrels at select Tacoma sites, conserving water and keeping the reusable water out of the City’s stormwater system.

Environmental Education Association of Washington — The non-profit organization will use its grant to host a professional development workshop to provide local teachers and environmental educators with water quality monitoring skills and field training opportunities at several sites in Tacoma.

First Presbyterian Church School — The school will host three field trips for Tacoma students in grades K-3 to educate them about runoff pollution, erosion, deforestation and watersheds.

Indochinese Cultural and Service Center — The Indochinese Cultural and Service Center (ICSC) will fund its Southeast Asian Youth Curricula Development Project, which will educate youth about protecting surface water resources.

Lowell Elementary School — Fourth-grade students at Lowell Elementary School will partner with a member of the Puget Creek Restoration Society and two University of Puget Sound professors to produce a general field guide of macro invertebrates for Puget Creek.

My Service Mind — The non-profit organization will provide cultural and language-specific water quality education to members of the Asian community.

Pierce Conservation District Stream Team — The Pierce Conservation District Stream Team will produce a trail guide and informational brochure about Swan Creek, highlighting ways people can help preserve this natural resource.

Puget Sound Car Wash Association — The association will use its grant to increase awareness among Tacoma residents that wash water from parking-lot car washes contains pollutants that can flow directly into the stormwater system and into our waterways.

Tacoma Community House –Tacoma Community House, a nonprofit organization that provides education, employment and immigration services to limited-English speakers in Pierce County, will educate adult immigrants and refugees about water quality and waste disposal.

Tacoma Nature Center — The Tacoma Nature Center will use its first grant to create an interactive exhibit called “Water Quality Begins at Home” demonstrating how everyday choices and actions affect local watersheds. The center will use its second grant to offer two free week-long, science day camps at Swan Creek for kids ages 13-16.

Tacoma School of the Arts Partners — The school will use its grant for a student project involving scientific research and an artistic presentation of the findings to the community.

Tahoma Audubon Society –The society will use its grant to hold a nature mapping workshop for area educators.

For more information on the grant program, send an e-mail message to makeasplash@cityoftacoma.org.