May was Grasses in Classes field trip month for the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance! Nearly every day, CBA staff and AmeriCorps team members met 3rd and 5th graders across the Choctawhatchee Bay to plant smooth cordgrass and participate in fun, educational nature games.
CBA’s Grasses in Classes is a hands-on, environmental education program that gives students a direct role in the restoration of Choctawhatchee Bay. In partnership with AmeriCorps and with partial funding from the USFWS Coastal Program and the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, CBA provides teachers in Okaloosa and Walton Counties the equipment and materials required to grow shoreline grasses at their school. At the end of the school year, Grasses in Classes culminates with students planting their shoreline grasses at one of our salt marsh restoration sites along Choctawhatchee Bay as part of our living shoreline initiative. The program instills a love of local habitat, restores shoreline, and inspires the next generation of watershed stewards.
This year, nearly 2,000 students from 117 classes planted 655 bags of grasses at Lincoln Park, Florida Park, Cessna Landing, White Point, and more. In addition to planting, the “exploration station” remained a highlight with each group, as students could wade into the shallows of the bay to net native fish, crabs, and shrimp.