As part of its ongoing effort to enhance environmental education in the Pacific Northwest, the Environmental Protection Agency has awarded US$190,000 for education programs in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.
This funding will promote and advance environmental literacy and sustainable practices in the region.
“We are impressed year after year with how much the recipients are able to accomplish with these grants,” said Sally Hanft, EPA’s Environmental Education grant coordinator in Seattle. “This year we awarded nine grants out of 109 applications, which makes 2010 one of the most competitive years we’ve seen.”
These grants are awarded to local organizations, not-for-profit organizations, government agencies, schools and universities whose projects strive to increase knowledge and awareness about the environment. The grant recipients, projects and funding amounts are:
Maniilaq Association - US$40,694
Project Title: The Kobuk School Environmental Learning Lab Project; Reconnecting Students, Families and Community to Nature
Funds will be used to develop the Kobuk School Environmental Learning Lab project to reconnect students, families, and the community to nature. A large portable greenhouse will serve as a learning lab for K-12 students. Five study stations will teach students about composting and waste management, renewable energy, plant propagation and growth, climate change, water quality, gardening, and food preparation. Classes on energy conservation, food production and preservation will also be held for parents and community members. The lab will provide an engaging and fully interactive setting in which to learn and apply natural world knowledge for a better understanding of soil and water quality, renewable and sustainable environmental energies, waste management, arctic horticulture, and climate change.
Idaho Environmental Education Association - US$33,000
Project Title: Building Capacity to Support the Environmental Literacy Planning Process in Idaho
The project will develop an Environmental Literacy Plan (ELP) for the State of Idaho which will provide the framework for school systems to expand and improve their environmental education programs. The funds will support staff time for an ELP director to lead the process of ELP development and recruit an advisory board. The advisory board will develop statewide networks, provide support for the ELP, and draft the initial plan. The networks and the capacity built in the process of developing the ELP will lay the ground work for implementation. Completion of an ELP will qualify Idaho for further Department of Education funds authorized from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. These Department of Education funds will greatly increase the capacity of the EE program in Idaho to support environmental education activities on a broad scale.
Palouse Clearwater Environmental Institute - US$21,815
Project Title: Project FESCUE: Fostering Environmental Sustainability through Community Understanding and Education
The goal of this project is to create a connection to nature, increase knowledge of sustainable living practices and projects, and increase stewardship. This project will provide educational and hands-on experiences that encourage sustainable living practices across multiple generations. Activities include green parenting presentations and family field trips, development of a classroom-based, scientific inquiry lesson for 6th grade classes and a field trip to participate in a water saving service-learning project. Other activities include summer sessions for students to create a “Children’s Discovery Garden” and two day-long sustainability workshops at the center in which community members actively learn how to create water-saving projects for their landscapes and homes.
The Freshwater Trust - US$15,000
Project Title: Oregon Environmental Literacy Plan Development: Feedback Forums
The project will advance the development of a comprehensive, statewide environmental literacy plan (ELP) that serves as a cross-curricular, inclusive framework and unites a broad scope of educational theories and practices including place-based, sustainability, project-based and action education. The plan will include sections on educational standards, diploma requirements, teacher professional development, assessment, and implementation. Five regional feedback forums will be held throughout Oregon to obtain participation from stakeholders on drafting the Oregon ELP. The forums will be held to facilitate connections to and 'buy-in' from these broad-based sectors by allowing representatives to review and comment on a draft Oregon environmental literacy plan. The goal of a final ELP is to ensure that Oregon students graduate with a comprehensive understanding of environmental issues.
Middle Fork Willamette Watershed Council - US$19,254
Project Title: Watershed Rangers
The project targets 550 3rd-6th graders and their teachers in six rural communities in Southwest Oregon. The goal of the project is to foster an ethic of stewardship for the protection and enhancement of natural resources and areas in the local watershed. The objectives are to educate the students and teachers on stewardship by learning concepts of sustainable forest practices, habitat, food webs, invasive species, etc. The participants will learn in the classroom and then explore the concepts in natural areas in their surrounding communities. Through classroom lessons, field trips, a service learning project and teacher training; the project allows students to make the connection between outdoor experiences and environmental issues facing the Middle Fork Willamette watershed. It also addresses the teachers’ need for the necessary tools and resources to adopt watershed education as a part of the required curriculum.
City of Corvallis - US$14,737
Project Title: Researching and Implementing Community Stream Stewards Program
The goals of the project are to research and implement the most effective program to increase Corvallis citizens’ awareness and knowledge about the ways individuals can improve urban stream water quality, while also fostering the community support and skills necessary to improve local stream reaches. The project incorporates community-based social marketing, organization and support of pilot Stream Stewards groups, and a final analysis/report on the best way to continue and maximize the project’s effectiveness. The City of Corvallis will employ a Community-Based Social Marketing (CBSM) strategy that will include a literature review, focus groups and surveys to uncover the knowledge, attitudes, and structural barriers that prevent or motivate people to improve their local urban stream water quality and riparian habitat. The feedback from this pilot project will be used to revise the City of Corvallis’ Stream Steward Program.
West Valley School District #208 - US$21,500
Project Title: West Valley High School – Advanced Placement Environmental Science
The project will create an Advanced Placement (AP) Environmental Science course at West Valley High School. Thirty students will focus on restoring and maintaining fish habitat within the Yakima River watershed. Students will conduct research in the field, such as water quality monitoring. Students will also be required to present what they have learned to younger students and community members. Students will take the AP Environmental Science exam in an attempt to earn college credit for the course or advanced placement at the college level. The goal of this project is to provide high school students with the opportunity, knowledge, and skills to get into college to pursue environmental science education and be environmental stewards in their schools and community.
Nature Vision, Inc. - US$12,000
Project Title: Blue Teams: Youth Watershed Stewardship Projects
This project will include approximately 450 K-12 students from Title 1/Low Income schools throughout King County, 16 teachers and 5-7 Nature Vision Naturalists. The students and teachers will be broken up into 16 groups (Blue Teams) and will focus on a community watershed stewardship project. Students will develop an understanding for their local ecosystems through the personalized education plan, created by one of the Nature Vision Naturalists, which includes classroom work/activities and hands-on field activities. Since these projects are within their local community, students will develop a sense of ownership for their project and will continue doing stewardship projects.
EarthCorps - US$12,000
Project Title: Earth Educator Corps-Conservation Corps Member Lead Student Service Projects
This project will develop and implement a year-long community-based environmental stewardship curriculum for 50 young adults, ages 18-25 enrolled in the organization’s conservation corps. The curriculum will be delivered through classroom instruction, field trips and on-site learning at service projects. The participants will apply their learning through teaching 1,000 K-12 students as part of the school-based environmental service projects. The goals of the project are:
- equip pre-career young adults with the knowledge and skills necessary to complete substantive habitat restoration projects;
- ensure that those young adults have mastered the knowledge to a degree that they can articulate it to volunteers and effectively lead those volunteers in service projects;
- coach the young adults in how to effectively manage youth volunteers, serving as project leaders and role models; and
- flesh out and document EarthCorps’ regionally acclaimed corps member education curriculum using an inquiry-based science approach so that it can be replicated or adopted by other conservation corps.
Currently, EPA does not have an environmental education grant solicitation issued. Please check our national website for up-to-date information – http://www.epa.gov/enviroed/grants.html. Schools, not-for-profit organizations, state and local government education or environmental agencies and tribal education agencies or not-for-profit tribal organizations are eligible to apply. The annual EPA grants program gives financial support to projects that increase the public’s awareness and knowledge about the environment and provide skills to make informed decisions and take responsible action.