The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation and Ocean Research & Conservation Association (ORCA) announced a new ‘Living Lagoon’ school program partnership that will expand access to hands-on programs for middle-school students living near the Indian River Lagoon. The ‘Living Lagoon’ program engages students with hands-on environmental education that helps address impairment issues along the lagoon while inspiring the next generation of stewards for Florida's waterways.
Program participants benefit from in-class STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) activities and lessons throughout the school year. They also gain exposure to the world of conservation and living shorelines through onsite school nurseries where they grow native vegetation to be planted along impaired areas of the Indian River Lagoon. Living Lagoon is the evolution and expansion of ORCA’s established technology, research and education programs.
“Our local community relies heavily on the environmental and economic benefits provided by the Indian River Lagoon. What better way to preserve it than by involving students directly in its restoration?” said Dr. Edith Widder, ORCA CEO and Senior Scientist. “With this continued multi-year funding from The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation, we will extend the Living Lagoon program to two additional classrooms at Forest Grove Middle School in St. Lucie County.”
Since 2014 ScottsMiracle-Gro and its Foundation also have supported ORCA’s independent research to map and monitor the sources of nutrients flowing into the Indian River Lagoon. This research aims to focus public and private investments on the highest priority actions that might improve and protect water and wildlife in the lagoon.
“With this partnership, we continue our strong commitment to enhancing Florida’s environment, especially the Treasure Coast and its water resources,” said Jim King, President of The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation. “Through the Living Lagoon program, ORCA is implementing effective water protection projects while engaging the next generation with hands-on learning and stewardship.”