CRPS Eel Grass Planting at Hunter Springs

CRPS Eel Grass Planting at Hunter Springs Park
Posted on 05/19/2023
Planting Eel Grass

For many students across the nation, school usually ends with final exams. But these 5th graders at Crystal River Primary School are hands on protecting their environment and making sure our waterways will still be here when they grow up and have families of their own.

For the 8th year in a row, around 120 CRPS students traveled to Hunter Springs Park to plant their classrooms’ eelgrass in the waterfront park’s sandy shallows off of King’s Bay.

This planting marked the culmination of the school’s EcoWeek curriculum, a program supported by Save Crystal River, Sea & Shoreline, the Citrus County Education Foundation, and other local businesses. Save Crystal River, its community partners and the school have hosted this annual event before to stress environmental protection and advocacy to the students.

Primary school teachers and SCR volunteers spent the semester educating students about the impacts of the King’s Bay Restoration Project, and how the replacement of unsightly and harmful plant life with self-sustaining and native seagrass boosts a marine ecosystem.

During the field trip, students broke off into groups and spent time at different educational stations around the park including a virtual reality station, manatee bones station, and how anchors can damage the seagrass.

“These real-life activities for our students are a lifelong learning experience,” says Superintendent Sam Himmel.  “It’s important for them to see the entire process and how they are making a lasting impact. Our students are learning to respect the environment in which they live and make a positive change. Our hope is that they take what they’ve learned home with them and share with others.”

The eelgrass is not only food for manatees and turtles, but it filters the water giving oxygen for the fish and creating healthy water quality.

We want to thank all our community partners for continuing this program year after year and working with our students giving them the hands-on experience about the importance of their environment.