Reef Ball Project

Reef balls are one vehicle to restoring our aquatic ecosystems. Reef balls are designed to become elements in artificial reefs, providing a base for aquatic plants and homes for aquatic animals. At Harllee Middle School students are engaged in creating these structures and at the same time applying basic skills and knowledge acquired in the classrooms.
Manatee County and the School Board of Manatee County have entered into a partnership that provides this learning experience and permits our students to have a positive, long term effect on the environment.
Students assemble the molds, mix and pour the concrete, and finish the reef balls once they are taken out of the molds. The learning is active and engaging while at the same time students find uses for traditional lessons. As students prepared to mix a batch of concrete, three buckets sand to two buckets aggregate to one bucket cement, one student made the observation, “This isn’t anything but ratios and proportions.”
Most of the reef balls being created at Harllee are slated to be used in the shallows and canals on the edges of Sarasota Bay. Invertebrates will anchor themselves on the reef balls and filter the surrounding water. Our students will then become part of the group monitoring water quality and the expected improvement that comes with the enhanced environment.

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