WEST CHESTER, PA — Educational programs that teach young people about the value of local watersheds and watershed protection will receive $26,100 in state grant funding, state Senator Andy Dinniman announced.
“Raising and educating responsible young people who understand the very real and potentially very serious impacts of the environment on our daily lives is crucial to our future health and economic success,” Dinniman, who serves on the Senate Environmental Resource and Energy Committee, said. “These programs help prepare the next generation of Pennsylvanians to value and safeguard not only our pristine waterways, but also the important role of science and data in decision making.”
The grants, which come through the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Environmental Education Grant Program, are as follows:
- $19,748 for the Stroud Water Research Center for a program that will expand meaningful and inclusive educational opportunities in watershed-focused environmental science, technology, engineering, and math for girls in kindergarten through 12th grade across southeastern Pennsylvania. The project will deliver education programs; pilot initiatives in Environmental Justice communities; and grow capacity for long-term engagement and empowerment of future female leaders through partnerships with six regional organizations.
- $3,000 for the Stroud Water Research Center for the Brandywine Watershed Discovery Day Camp for Underserved Youth. This immersive summer enrichment nature-based experience will help 24 youth in fourth through sixth grade gain knowledge about local watersheds and inspire responsible stewardship.
- $2,200 for Chesterbrook Academy Elementary School for an Environmental Education Curriculum that will deliver lessons on local wetlands and watersheds, water conservation, water pollution, and ways in which students can protect their local environment. Classes combine hands-on activities, technology driven-research, and community-supported field trips. Through lessons based on PA Next Generation Science Standards, students will develop solutions in addressing water conservation and water collection issues on school grounds.
- $1,221 for the Green Valleys Association of Southeastern PA for the Water Works Watershed Education Program. The program features interactive stations to engage students in learning about watershed dynamics, including water pollution sources and water use within their local communities. Some activities will be sourced from the Project WET and Wonders of Wetlands. This non-formal education program will serve 4th-grade students in six elementary schools in two school districts.
The Chester County grant projects come as part of more than $434,000 in state grant funding awarded to 55 environmental education programs across the state.
Schools, libraries, universities, nonprofits, conservation district offices, and environmental and community organizations are eligible to apply for funding.
The grant program prioritizes projects that:
- Educate and empower disadvantaged communities to participate meaningfully in environmental and public health issues;
- Educate the public on emissions reduction, energy conservation, renewable energy, and climate adaptation;
- Educate local officials, business owners, homeowners, and the general public about reducing nonpoint source pollution, water quality monitoring, cold water habitats, and other aspects of water quality.
The grants are funded by the Environmental Education Act of 1993, which sets aside 5 percent of the pollution fines and penalties collected annually for environmental education. Since 1993. DEP has awarded 2,020 Environmental Education Grants totaling more than $11 million.
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