HARRISBURG, PA — The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) 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.
The 2020 Environmental Education Grant funded projects specifically in Chester County are:
- 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).
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