The grants provide funding to public and incorporated private schools, colleges and universities, county conservation districts, incorporated nonprofit organizations, along with incorporated conservation and education organizations and institutions, businesses, municipalities and municipal authorities to create or develop projects that support environmental education.
Grants will provide environmental education on timely and critically important topics, including the following:
-- Chesapeake Bay and Watershed Education—Organizations are encouraged to develop environmental education programs that promote the reduction of nonpoint source pollution, such as nutrient and sediment loads, along with other water-related education programs.
-- Air Quality—Organizations are encouraged to develop air quality education and outreach programs.
-- Energy Education—Organizations are encouraged to develop educational programs on energy efficiency and conservation, as well as natural gas, coal, wind, solar and other energy sources and technologies.
-- Brownfields—Organizations are encouraged to develop education and outreach programs for students, youth, educators, community members, community groups, developers, property owners and others that are interested in brownfield redevelopment and sustainable communities, along with developing green spaces.
-- Environmental Literacy Planning and Programming—Organizations are encouraged to engage educators and stakeholders in content standards and field-based environmental education. Areas of specific focus should include: graduation requirements, professional development on environmental education content knowledge and field-based pedagogy, assessment and evaluation, partnering to build capacity, identifying existing resources and sustainability of programs.
Additionally, projects may focus on high performing green schools and buildings; providing high quality programming for children, youth or adults, or both (programs to include STEM, outdoor education, service learning, ensuring access for participants with disabilities); professional development for formal and nonformal educators; environmental service learning programs for youth and adults; and environmental careers/green jobs.
-- Formal and Non-formal EE Certification—Organizations are encouraged to develop and implement institutionalized and community-based certification programs designed for teachers, naturalists and educators working in schools and environmental education facilities at parks, county conservation districts, nature/EE centers, conservancies and more. It gives educators in these arenas access to a formal credential that standardizes and upgrades professional development, allowing educators to address academic standards in a meaningful and relevant way.
-- STEM Education—Organizations are encouraged to develop environmental education programs integrating STEM program instruction (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) into programs.
-- Curriculum Integration Projects—Organizations are encouraged to articulate the Academic Standards for Environment and Ecology into the formal K-12 curriculum, including Energy Education, for the entire school district, private school or charter school, using the model developed by the Department of Education's Office of Environment and Ecology.
-- Curriculum Revision Projects—Organizations are encouraged to revise current (or write new) lesson plans or units to meet the changes identified in the alignment to the Environment and Ecology Standards, Energy Education and provide a means for classroom assessment.
-- Outdoor Learning Resource Projects—Organizations are encouraged to develop resources such as trails, agricultural demonstration areas, energy demonstration areas, ponds, wetland areas, sheltered learning stations, and the like, as well as similar nearby community resources as a framework within which students can learn about natural systems and the interrelationship among natural and man-made communities.
The Program was established by the Environmental Education Act which mandates setting aside 5 percent of the pollution fines and penalties collected annually by the Department for environmental education in this Commonwealth.
Environmental Education Grant awards are limited to $7,500.Applications for the 2013 program will be available on DEP’s Environmental Education webpage or by contacting the Department of Environmental Protection, Environmental Education Grants Program, P. O. Box 2063, Harrisburg, PA 17105-2063 or call 717-772-1828.