Thursday, April 22, 2021

Gov. Wolf Announces $459,823 In Grants To Support Local Environmental Education Projects Across The State

On April 22, Gov. Tom Wolf announced $459,823 in
Environmental Education Grants to 51 projects addressing environmental justice, climate change, and water quality. 

Eighty-eight percent of grant funds will support projects that engage youth and adults living and/or working within Environmental Justice areas.

“These grants support projects that increase the environmental knowledge of community members statewide,” said Gov. Wolf. “This year’s awardees underscore the values of our Earth Week theme: Protect the Environment for All Pennsylvanians.”

Grants were awarded by the Department of Environmental Protection to schools, institutions, conservation districts, and environmental and community organizations. 

Thirty-four local projects received mini grants of up to $3,000. Sixteen projects with a broad or statewide reach received general grants of up to $20,000 and one project, designed to engage students and teachers at the local, state, and national levels, received a grant of $80,219.

The grants program prioritizes projects that--

-- Educate and engage disadvantaged communities in developing meaningful solutions that address environmental and public health issues;

-- Educate the public on emissions reduction, energy conservation, renewable energy, and climate adaptation; and

-- Educate local officials, business owners, homeowners, and the general public about reducing point and nonpoint source pollution, watersheds, abandoned mine drainage, cold water habitats, and other aspects of water quality.

“These DEP-funded projects addresses issues such as climate change, water, and environmental justice that have a positive impact on the environment while improving environmental literacy across the Commonwealth for citizens of all ages,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell.

The Environmental Education Grants Program was established by the Environmental Education Act of 1993, which mandates setting aside five percent of the pollution fines and penalties DEP collects annually for environmental education in Pennsylvania.

Grants Awarded

The projects receiving grants by county include--


-- Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania: Create 105 Certified Backyard Habitats and deliver habitat-focused programs to adults and youth residing in the City of Pittsburgh and over 25 municipalities. ($19,997)

-- Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation: Host public habitat and green-industry training programs. Participants and volunteers will install a demonstration native plant habitat garden. ($3,000)

-- Grounded Strategies: A habitat-based program that exposes K-8 students to career opportunities, integrates technology components, and explores connections to the larger urban community. ($10,375)

-- Pittsburgh Technical College-Oakdale: Educate secondary students about environmentally themed careers by promoting STEM skills in the areas of water and climate change. ($2,156)

-- The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh: Engage students with autism and multiple disabilities in the development and maintenance of accessible community gardens and green spaces. ($2,947)

-- Tree Pittsburgh: Develop Urban Forest Education Loan Kits for local schools and community partners that inspire hands-on, interactive classroom, and outdoor learning. ($10,710)

-- Venture Outdoors: Engage low-income youth in outdoor experiences that create environmental community leaders. The project will act as a pipeline to an environmental field mentoring program designed for young adults of color. ($20,000)


-- Berks County Conservation District: Mobilize student and adult volunteers through hands-on trainings to convert vacant city lots to community gardens and/or implement stormwater Best Management Practices. ($19,615)

-- St. Catharine of Siena School: Students will establish a system to collect and monitor stream data and notify local municipalities of their findings. ($3,000)


-- Cambria County Conservation District: Conduct urban rain barrel workshops on how to conserve water and reduce storm water runoff. ($2,892)

-- Greater Johnstown School District: Engage students in outdoor activities to develop interests in environmental stewardship through inquiry, experimentation, and experiential learning. ($3,000)


-- Penn State, Eberly College of Science, Office of Science Outreach: Expand the Nature Explorers’ water monitoring curriculum and engage 2nd-4th graders in real data collection and entry. ($1,045)


-- Stroud Water Research Center (two projects): Create a mobile watershed education lab for students having limited access to transportation and/or technology and an online platform to engage 4th-middle school students in virtual stream study field notebook lessons. ($20,000); and implement a Fish and Wildlife Management merit badge hybrid program for BSA boys and girls. ($3,000)


-- Columbia County Conservation District: Conduct workshops providing information and equipment essential for proper maintenance, testing, and protection of residential wells and groundwater resources. ($2,997)


-- Allegheny College: Creek Connections 2021-2022: Provide resources, including outdoor “grab-and-go” Creek Kits, for teachers to provide Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences to their students. ($3,000)


-- Sprocket Mural Works, Inc.: Create a public mural, informational signs, and social/ traditional media outreach, to educate the community about climate change, the decline of the honey bee, and positive human actions. ($3,000)


-- Villanova University (two projects): Workshops for Hispanic community adults and students that help establish citizen scientists who will monitor water and air pollution (19,085); and Develop a carbon eco-labeling program menu at the University’s dining facility. Program includes a kickoff event explaining the labeling and estimated carbon savings. ($3,000)


-- Elk County Conservation District: Climate change education workshops addressing water quality and quantity and host an educational Conservation Carnival at the West Creek Wetland Learning Center. ($2,433)


-- Regional Science Consortium: Construct an Interactive Wetland Model to support K-12 non-formal programming focused on water quality and the function and value of wetlands. ($20,000)

-- School District of the City of Erie: Establish two middle school greenhouses to serve as outdoor classrooms addressing climate change impacts, environmental justice and diminishing local food access. ($2,997)


-- Greene County Conservation District: Support student-driven, place-based stream investigations and watershed assessment to connect local water quality issues with watersheds and land use. ($1,400)


-- Juniata County Conservation District: Provide an environmental education camp experience involving hands-on rotational stations for 1st-4th graders ($1,530); and provide 9th-12th grade students with formal classroom education in raising American eels for release into local waters. ($2,150)


-- Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13: Conduct a five-day summer institute for K-12 teachers to develop Environmental Literacy curriculum-aligned units and Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences. ($20,000)


-- McKean County Conservation District: Implement an environmental education series for elementary through high school students, connecting local forests with protecting and improving watersheds. ($3,000)

-- Pennsylvania State University: Educational series, including interactive, standards-based lessons and educational games that teach about local and global impacts of our changing climate. ($3,000)


-- Montgomery County Conservation District: Multiple urban agricultural and stormwater best management practices events, integrating climate change, local water issues, and the no till drill rental program. ($2,945)

-- Ursinus College: Develop a student peer to peer climate change education program addressing waste diversion, energy conservation, and local foods. ($3,000)


-- Nurture Nature Center: Engage high school youth in an education and leadership program including a youth Climate Summit, a youth art exhibition, and a 10-part Climate Leadership series. ($3,000)


-- Northumberland County Conservation District: Engage the community in planting native trees/shrubs to help mitigate the impacts of acid mine drainage and provide awareness though educational signage. ($3,000)

-- Shamokin Creek Restoration Alliance: Field day for middle and high school students focused on coal mining history and water quality. Students will plant trees, erect bird houses, and install signage. ($3,000)


-- After School All-Stars Philadelphia-Camden: Increase youth civic/environmental engagement by helping them find their voice, improve where they live, raise community awareness, and motivate behavior change. ($16,000)

-- Friends of the Heinz Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum: Provide youth with an inquiry, standards-based environmental education program to increase environmental literacy and outdoor comfort along with teacher workshops about engaging students in outdoor science education and Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences. ($18,700)

-- Philadelphia Solar Energy Association: Develop curriculum and educational programs for middle school students which deepens their understanding of solar energy and climate change mitigation. ($19,876)

-- World Renew: Teach home energy efficiency strategies; implement a solar installation vocational education program; and build strategic pathways connecting youth and adults with solar training programs. ($20,000)


-- Pocono Environmental Education Center: Support interactive and virtual watershed education using an Augmented Reality Watershed Sandbox and microscopes. ($2,993)


-- Snyder County Conservation District: Provide an environmental education camp experience involving hands-on rotational stations for 1st-4th graders. ($1,425)


-- Warren County Conservation District: Hold 2 virtual non-point source workshops and a rain barrel painting contest. ($3,000)


-- Washington County Conservation District: Hold a stormwater management workshop, distribute rain barrels and follow-up with residents to support implementation of stormwater management practices. ($3,000)


-- Westmoreland County Conservation District (2 projects): Develop a handy pocket guide on 20 typical construction site erosion best management practices for contractors, landowners, and others performing earth disturbance. ($2595); and Create a homeowner’s guide and provide a virtual education program to homeowners on how to improve and maintain their unpaved driveways and lanes to effectively reduce non-point source pollution and improve water quality. ($3,000)


-- York City School District’s Edgar Fahs Academy: 5th and 6th grade classes will help develop an interactive website and public relations campaign that promotes the adoption of city storm water drains. ($2,405)

-- York County Conservation District: Produce a virtual watershed tour and multimedia presentations, brochures, and infographics highlighting  stream restoration projects and riparian buffer plantings. ($2,143)

Multiple Counties

-- Benscreek Canoe Club: Engage underserved youth, ages 14-18, in Somerset and Cambria counties. Students will explore waterways, become environmental stewards, and create watershed films. ($2,718)

-- National Audubon Society (Audubon, Pa): Young leaders from Montgomery and Philadelphia counties will explore environmental issues, co-create programming, learn conservation action skills, and make informed decisions related to climate change, water, and environmental justice. ($20,000)

-- Pennsylvania Envirothon: Statewide project that encourages high school students’ exploration of environmental issues and provides tools to help them implement community stewardship actions. Students and teachers will interact at the county state and national levels. Existing program materials will be analyzed and modified to help expand engagement of teachers and youth in environmental justice areas. ($80,219)

-- Pennsylvania Resources Council: Backyard composting workshops and webinars held in Allegheny, Fayette, Delaware, and Montgomery counties to minimize home waste and heighten environmental literacy involving topics such as climate change, water pollution, soil health, and gardening. ($14,520)

-- The Pennsylvania State University: Deliver climate change education that stimulates pro-environmental leadership behavior among youth located in Lackawanna, Northampton, Susquehanna, and Wyoming counties. ($20,000)

For more information on this program, visit DEP’s Environmental Education Grants webpage.

Related Articles This Week:

-- First Lady Frances Wolf Recognizes Earth Day In Virtual Celebration Honoring 50th Anniversary Of PA Green Amendment 

-- Gov. Wolf, Chesapeake Conservancy & Partners Announce Initiative To Restore 30 Agriculturally Impaired Streams By 2030; Recognized Champions Of Chesapeake

-- PennVEST Announces Investment Of $117 Million For 25 Water Infrastructure Projects In 19 Counties; Approves PFAS Funding Program 

-- PennVEST Now Accepting Applications To Fund Public Water Supply PFAS Remediation Systems 

-- PA Lake Management Society Accepting Applications For Lake, Reservoir Water Quality Improvement Mini Grants 

-- NRCS-PA Seeks Proposals For Innovative Approaches To Conservation On Agricultural Lands 

-- Commonwealth Financing Authority Announces $15+ Million In Act 13 Funding For 135 Environmental, Water Infrastructure Projects 

-- Gov. Wolf Announces Multimodal Transportation Project Funding, Including 13 Trail, Bike, Walking Path Projects

-- PA Organization For Watersheds & Rivers Announces Sojourn Grant Awards; Sojourn Schedule 

-- CFA OKs $4.4 Million In Grants For 5 Natural Gas Service Pipeline Projects

[Posted: April 22, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

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