Friday, April 21, 2017

79 Projects Receive DEP Environmental Education, Environmental Justice Grants

Gov. Tom Wolf Friday announced 79 projects statewide are receiving almost $1.2 million in Environmental Education Grants, including more than $500,000 in environmental justice grants, from the Department of Environmental Protection in 2017.
“Through the DEP Environmental Education Grants, Pennsylvanians of all ages gain knowledge of the natural world, appreciation for the importance of a healthy environment, and an understanding of the need for environmental protection and sound resource management,” said Gov. Wolf.
Projects addressing water education and climate change were prioritized. In addition, reflecting DEP’s renewed focus on environmental justice, the grants for the first time include funding for activities that educate, empower and enable disadvantaged communities to participate meaningfully in environmental and public health issues.
“A healthy environment isn’t a luxury good. These environmental justice projects reflect the importance of ensuring that all Pennsylvanians, especially those who’ve historically been disenfranchised, are informed about decisions and actions that affect their environment,” said DEP Acting Secretary Patrick McDonnell, speaking at an April 21 event hosted by award recipient Capital Region Water.
A classroom of 10 students who’ll benefit from the grant to Capital Region Water’s K2Career Pipeline programming participated, adding plants to the company’s rain garden.
Several organizations in the Harrisburg area that received grants attended the event, including Central Pennsylvania Conservancy, Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA, Dauphin County Cooperative Extension, and Londonderry and Susquehanna Townships. 
This year’s awards reflect other new developments in the grants program.
For the first time, general grants of up to $50,000 were awarded to projects with a broad or statewide focus, in addition to traditional mini-grants of up to $3,000. Twenty-six general grants and 53 mini-grants were awarded.
Thirty-one environmental justice projects received grants totaling more than $500,000.
A new online e-grants system helped streamline the application process. The system was developed by the Department of Community and Economic Development and deployed by DEP through the Governor’s Office of Transformation, Innovation, Management and Efficiency (GO-TIME).
The Environmental Education Grants Program was established by the Environmental Education Act of 1993, which mandates setting aside 5 percent of the pollution fines and penalties DEP collects annually for environmental education in Pennsylvania.
In its 24-year history, the program has funded more than $11 million in environmental education grants.
Click Here for a list of projects receiving grants.
For more background on the program, visit DEP’s Environmental Education Grants webpage.
(Photo: Learning exercise from the Capital Region Water grant announcement.)

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