The Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation’s (RBFF) Take Me Fishing campaign and Discovery Education have named six schools and educators across the country as winners in the first annual Explore the Blue Water Challenge and Explore the Blue Educator’s Sweepstakes awarding winners with trips, grants and other prizes to foster water conservation efforts in the United States. Both the Challenge and Sweepstakes launched this fall as part of ExploretheBlue.com, Take Me Fishing and Discovery Education’s free, comprehensive resource empowering K-8 teachers and parents to reinforce the importance of outdoor recreational activities, such as boating and fishing, and to foster an appreciation for the protection and conservation of America’s lakes, rivers, streams and oceans.
Members of Team Arsenic Arresters of Whiteface Middle School in Whiteface, TX have been selected as the Grand Prize Winners of this year’s Explore the Blue Water Challenge for their project detecting and addressing arsenic levels in local soil and drinking water. For the Challenge, middle school students from across the country were asked to choose a local waterway or water-related issue in their community, conduct research, develop and implement an action plan and reflect on their findings in a two- to five-minute-video. Team Arsenic Arresters has won a water-based adventure trip to Sanibel Island, Florida to visit the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge with outdoor adventure activities sponsored by Tarpon Bay Explorers Nature Tours and Rentals, a $5,000 school grant to continue working on their project and a $1,000 scholarship for each of the three student team members.
"Students across the country are becoming involved in many projects that save the waterways of their communities. We feel extremely honored to have been chosen from among such excellent entries as the Grand Prize Winner!” said Laura Wilbanks, teacher mentor for Team Arsenic Arresters. “The grant money will allow my students to develop outreach materials and an outdoor classroom for the purpose of teaching others about playa wetlands and ways to control the arsenic levels found in them. Thank you, Explore the Blue, for this opportunity to make a difference!"
Team Comanche Indians of Comanche Middle School in Comanche, OK and Team Phragmite Fighters of Kemps Landing Magnet School in Virginia Beach ,VA are awarded 2nd and 3rd place in this year’s Explore the Blue Water Challenge and will receive scholarships and teacher awards for their local water conservation efforts.
Take Me Fishing and Discovery Education have also named Robin Ehrlich, a gym teacher at WW Keysor Elementary School in Kirkwood, MO, as the Grand Prize Winner of the Explore the Blue Educator’s Sweepstakes. As the Grand Prize Winner, Ehrlich’s class has won a one-day outdoor fishing field trip as well as outdoor exploration kits for the classroom and a $250 teacher award.
Cynthia Kennedy of Peeples Elementary School in Jackson, MS and Ira Siebert of View Ridge Elementary School in Everett, WA, the Sweepstakes’ runners-up, have also won outdoor exploration kits for their classrooms as well as $100 teacher awards.
“Discovery Education is thrilled to work alongside RBFF to offer prizes to students that are taking their interest in science to the next level with service-based learning projects,” said Mary Rollins, vice president, Discovery Education. “These students are using what they’ve learned in the classroom and taking it farther – they’re detecting arsenic in drinking water and saving local waterways –it’s an incredible example of the power of hands-on learning.”
“We’re delighted to see students and teachers take an active interest in aquatic conservation, and are extremely pleased they will be rewarded for their efforts with some quality time on the water,” said RBFF President and CEO Frank Peterson. “Our partnership with Discovery Education helps reach the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts, providing opportunities to engage in boating, fishing and other outdoor activities, and fostering an appreciation for our natural world for years to come.”
For more information or to access additional resources, visit ExploretheBlue.com.
About the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF)
Celebrating 15 years in 2013, RBFF is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to increase participation in recreational angling and boating, thereby protecting and restoring the nation’s aquatic natural resources. RBFF developed the award-winning Take Me Fishing™ campaign to create awareness around boating, fishing and conservation, and educate people about the benefits of participation. Take Me Fishing helps boaters and anglers of all ages and experience levels learn, plan and equip for a day on the water. The campaign website, TakeMeFishing.org, features tips and how-to’s that can be used all over the country, tools to compare different styles of boats, information on how to get a fishing license and boat registration, and an interactive state-by-state map that allows visitors to find local boating and fishing spots.
About Discovery Education
Discovery Education is the global leader in standards-based digital content for K-12, transforming teaching and learning with award-winning digital textbooks, multimedia content that supports the implementation of Common Core, professional development, assessment tools, and the largest professional learning community of its kind. Available in over half of all U.S. schools, community colleges and in 50 countries around the world, Discovery Education partners with districts, states and like-minded organizations to captivate students, empower teachers, and transform classrooms with customized solutions that accelerate academic achievement. Discovery Education is powered by Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), the number one nonfiction media company in the world, Explore the future of education at www.discoveryeducation.com.