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06/26/2020

DEP Awards over $434,000 in Environmental Education Grants to Benefit Youth, Adults Statewide

Seventy-seven percent of funding supports projects in Environmental Justice areas

Harrisburg, PA - The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today awarded $434,168 in Environmental Education Grants to 55 projects that will engage youth and adults in Environmental Justice (EJ), climate change, and/or water quality improvement, expanding their understanding of these issues in Pennsylvania and providing skills to take responsible action to protect their environment.

“This impressive list of funded projects speaks to the innovation and dedication of Pennsylvania’s environmental educators and their significant reach in helping to develop environmental stewards among Pennsylvanians of all ages and backgrounds,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell.

“We’re especially excited that not only is every region of the state represented, but 77 percent of the grant funding supports 33 projects that will engage Pennsylvanians who live or work in EJ areas, as DEP continues to strengthen its outreach and partnership with EJ communities.”

Grants were awarded to schools and colleges, environmental and community organizations, and conservation district offices who applied in 2019 and met project criteria for funding.

Thirty-nine projects with a local community focus received grants of up to $3,000. Fifteen projects that have a broader or statewide reach received grants of up to $20,000. The Pennsylvania Envirothon, which engages students and teachers at the local, state, and national levels, received a grant of $78,297.

The Environmental Education Grants Program supports:

  • Education and empowerment of disadvantaged communities to develop meaningful solutions to environmental and public health issues;
  • Public education on greenhouse gas emissions reduction, energy conservation, renewable energy, and climate adaptation; and
  • Education of local officials, business owners, homeowners, and the general public on reducing runoff water pollution, water quality monitoring, cold water habitats, and other aspects of water quality.

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. Since 1993 DEP has awarded 2,020 Environmental Education Grants totaling more than $11 million.

Grouped by county, the 2020 Environmental Education Grant funded projects are as follows.

Allegheny

  • Etna Community Organization: Multiple public events to educate the community on stream studies and water monitoring ($3,000).
  • Group Against Smog: Development and distribution of climate change and air quality education tool kits for middle school students ($17,497).
  • Pennsylvania Association of Environmental Educators: Stormwater workshops for educators reaching youth in Environmental Justice areas ($3,000).
  • Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy: A series of activities, including urban gardening and outdoor explorations, for teens and adults ($20,000).
  • Steel City Rowing Club: Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences summer camp activities for youth ages 9-11 and 12-14 ($2,999).
  • Women for a Healthy Environment: An after-school enrichment program teaching elementary students inquiry-based learning and providing student-driven sustainability projects ($2,998).

Bedford

  • Pennsylvania Envirothon Program: Planning, educational resource development, and logistic support to enable high school teams to compete in five natural resource categories at the local, state, and national levels. Envirothon prepares youth to live in a more environmentally responsible manner; engages students from Environmental Justice areas; and fosters natural resource and environmental leadership skills. Originally founded in Pennsylvania, Envirothon now involves students from 46 states, Canada, and two Chinese provinces ($78,297).

Bucks

  • Snipes Farm and Education Center: A series of three classroom presentations and two local field experiences, called “Where Does Stormwater Go: Linking a School, a Town, and a Farm,” that provides hands-on environmental education to high school students in an Environmental Justice area and what citizens can do to effect positive change in their community’s environment ($3,000). 

Butler

  • Butler Area School District: Development of outdoor classrooms and teacher professional development for new hands-on learning methodologies, focused primarily on pollinators and habitats for students at six elementary schools ($7,850). 

Centre

  • Penns Valley Conservation Association: Development of curriculum toolkits on climate and incorporation into existing watershed education programs for students in grades 5-6 and high school ($7,609).
  • Pennsylvania State University: Energy education program engaging university students and kindergarten to grade 12 students ($3,000).

Chester

  • Green Valleys Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania: Interactive stations to engage fourth grade students in watersheds, water use, and water pollution ($1,221).
  • Nobel Learning Communities: Education on watersheds and wetlands, water conservation, and water pollution through hands-on activities, technology-driven research, and field experiences ($2,200).
  • Stroud Water Research Center (two projects): Watershed environmental science, technology, engineering, and math education for kindergarten through grade 12 girls in Environmental Justice areas across southeastern Pennsylvania ($19,748); Brandywine Watershed Discovery Camp for underserved youth ($3,000).

Columbia

  • Columbia County Conservation District (two projects): Stream conservation and water quality presentations, using a stream table model, for schools, municipalities, and public events ($3,000); climate resiliency education projects for the public ($3,000).

Clinton

  • Clinton County Conservation District:  Workshops for teachers, pre-service teachers, and nonformal educators on climate change and water-related topics ($2,050).

Cumberland

  • Cumberland County Conservation District: Nonpoint source water pollution workshops, using Rain to Drain and a stream table model, for environmental teachers, municipal stormwater coordinators, watershed associations, and others ($2,942).

Crawford

  • Allegheny College: Hands-on, inquiry-based science to teach middle and high school students about local waterways ($3,000).

Dauphin

  • Dauphin County Conservation District: Rain barrel stormwater management workshops for homeowners ($3,000).
  • Harrisburg University Science and Technology: Summer enrichment activity for youth ages 13-16 engaged in Harrisburg’s Environmental Teen Corp leadership program ($1,844).
  • One Water, One Story: Development of online modules, including videos and photographs, for watershed organizations and K-12 educators ($3,000).
  • Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts: Development of interpretive sign templates for conservation districts to educate the public on completed stream restoration projects ($3,000).

Delaware

  • Villanova University: Program in which college students will engage high school students in environmental monitoring projects in the areas of climate change, water and air quality, and Environmental Justice ($19,938).

Erie

  • Erie County Conservation District: Installation of interactive signage at Headwaters Park to educate the public on lakeshore habitat, history, and species ($3,000).
  • School District of Erie: Development of two middle school curriculum units connecting elementary programs with high school career tracks ($2,908).

Fayette

  • Connellsville Area School District: Program in which students develop underwater robots to monitor water quality, share data online, and report findings to local government agencies ($2,991).

Juniata

  • Juniata County Conservation District: Stormwater management workshops for small property owners and demonstrations at community events ($1,589).

Lancaster

  • Pequea Valley School District: Program partnering students and township leaders and residents to explore stormwater best management practices ($3,000).
  • Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology: Incorporation of the Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professional Certification Program into the Water and Environmental Technology associate degree program curriculum ($16,287).

Lawrence

  • Lawrence County Conservation District: Installation of a green alley and delivery of workshops on stormwater and green infrastructure ($19,999).

Luzerne

  • Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation: “AMD STEAM in the Streams” watershed education program for sixth graders, including stream investigations and water quality monitoring ($3,000).

Mercer

  • Buhl Park Corporation: Workshops on water conservation, stormwater management, and nonpoint source pollution and distribution of rain barrels ($3,000).

Monroe

  • Monroe County Conservation District (two projects): Watershed education programs using a “Shaping Watersheds” augmented-reality sandbox ($2,289); a stormwater rain barrel workshop for residents ($2,410).

Montgomery

  • Let’s Go Outdoors: Hands-on activities and field experiences addressing climate change and water issues for students in grades 7-10 who live in Environmental Justice areas ($19,539).
  • Montgomery County Conservation District: Conservation and Water Pollution Prevention Workshop for homeowners, emphasizing stormwater management practices ($2,997).
  • Norristown Area School District: Hands-on science activities and nature discovery for third and fourth grade students in Environmental Justice areas ($3,000).
  • Riverbend Environmental Education Center: A STEM-based aquaponics program to build environmental literacy through teacher professional development and student lessons ($20,000).
  • Souderton Area School District:  New plant science course for high school students using a campus greenhouse ($3,000).

Northampton

  • Nurture Nature Center: Development of a statewide Watershed Friendly Properties certification program ($19,998).

Northumberland

  • Northumberland County Conservation District: Field day focused on coal mining history and water quality and tree planting activities for middle and high school students ($3,000).

Philadelphia

  • Friends of the Heinz Refuge at Tinicum: “Watershed Stewardship in Action” project to educate and empower youth, educators, and young professionals ($17,970).
  • Land Health Institute:  Six-month program providing middle and high school students in distressed Philadelphia neighborhoods with immersive, hands-on experiences in natural and built environments ($8,985).
  • Overbrook School for the Blind: Farm to table summer program and a “Waste Warriors” pilot program, focused on cafeteria composting, for student interns ($2,055).
  • Philadelphia Solar Energy Association: Solar energy education program in which middle school students from disadvantaged communities design, build, and race solar-powered cars ($3,000).
  • Schuylkill River Development Corporation: Workshops delivered in Environmental Justice areas that provide hands-on activities and tours about the impacts of human actions on water quality, including drinking water ($1,050).
  • The Franklin Institute: Engagement of grades 8-12 school teams and community-based organizations in Environmental Justice areas in climate action planning and collaboration ($17,328).
  • The U School: Development of an “Urban Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources” club and introduction of 10th and 11th graders to career paths in sustainability ($2,998).

Pike

  • Pike County Conservation District: Stream monitoring workshops for middle schools and a “Train the Trainer” workshop for teachers and the public ($2,973).

Potter

  • Potter County Conservation District: Family-friendly backyard conservation workshops providing activities to increase climate change knowledge as it relates to water quality and pollinator health ($1,860).

Somerset

  • Benscreek Canoe Club: A series of hands-on workshops to develop underserved youth ages 14-18 into proficient paddlers and environmental stewards through including tree planting, water sampling, and stream biology ($2,718).

Wayne

  • Lacawac Sanctuary Foundation Environmental Education Center: Watershed field investigations for fourth and fifth grade students in Wayne and surrounding counties ($3,000).
  • Wildlands Conservancy: Two “sense of place” watershed education field studies for students in grades 6-7, including options for community action projects in Environmental Justice areas ($18,031).

MEDIA CONTACT: Deb Klenotic - (717) 783-9554

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