Choctawatcee Basin Alliance

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A Great CBA Summer

By: Elana O. a former student of CBA

Every year, Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA) staff travel to schools and Boys and Girls Club programs around Okaloosa and Walton Counties, with smooth cordgrass plants loaded into truckbeds. Through CBA’s Grasses in Classes program, students not only learn how to care for the plants, they also participate in nature-focused activities and eventually plant the grasses in living shorelines along the Choctawhatchee Bay. In the fall season alone, CBA and students worked together to plant 10,000 grasses.
Elana O. participated in the 2017 program through the Boys and Girls Club, and wrote about her experiences.
This summer at Boys & Girls club, I participated in a program called Grasses in Classes, and we all did many fun activities. I will tell you about two of them.
We painted oyster shells. We got to use many different colors and googley eyes, different shapes like the ones you put on string and hang on the Christmas tree. The scientific name for oyster shells is Crassostreas. This is important because Crassostreas help filter more than 50 gallons of water in one day. Oysters use their gills to absorb oxygen and strain food out of the water.
Additionally, we did another pretty fun activity. We went down to the bay and planted smooth cordgrass, which has a scientific name of Spartina alterniflora. Everyone who wanted to do it went down to the bay on a bus. Then, we got put into groups. Next, we went and put Spartina Alterniflora, also known as smooth cordgrass, in a burlap sack and sand then walked down to the bay and put them along the bay. Spartina Alterniflora is a perennial deciduous grass which is found in wetlands. The purpose of these bags was to make sure the water does not rise over the bags.
In conclusion, this summer was a really great summer. I can’t wait for next year to do it again!
Hands-on field experiences like the one Elana participated in through Boys and Girls Club teach students how to be environmental stewards in their hometowns. From art activities to shoreline plantings, Grasses in Classes reaches over 2,000 students every year. The Choctawhatchee Bay is the heart of both our community and our economy, and now Elana and her classmates have played an active role in its restoration!

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