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U.S. EPA ANNOUNCES ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION AWARDS

Release Date: 10/7/1997
Contact Information: Lois Grunwald, U.S. EPA, (415) 744-1588

     
     (San Francisco)--The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) today announced the award of environmental education grants totaling $190,000 to 25 organizations in the western states. Recipients of the grants include school districts, colleges and universities, non-profit organizations, and city, county, regional and state government agencies.

     "Education gives people the tools they need to make meaningful choices in their lives and communities," said Felicia Marcus, U.S. EPA's regional administrator. "These grants will help young people understand the world around them and lead them to a greater understanding of how we are all linked and responsible for our environments whether they be local or global."

     The grants, awarded under the National Environmental Education Act, will provide funding to support projects that will address significant environmental issues. Each organization will contribute matching funds.

     The grants will fund a variety of projects ranging from the study of snail and earthworm habitats by pre-schoolers to high school students learning to reduce energy consumption through computer analysis of typical household usage.
                           
The recipients are:

AMERICAN SAMOA

     American Samoa Community College, Pago Pago, ($5,000) will provide a field guide for the wildlife that inhabit Samoa's wetlands, rain forests, and coral reefs. The guide will be used  in the field and classroom by school children and adults to identify wildlife species that inhabit protected areas of Samoa.  The guide will include thought-provoking questions and activities to stimulate an understanding of the environmental challenges facing this tiny island ecosystem.

ARIZONA

     Agua Fria/New River Natural Resource Conservation District, Phoenix, ($5,000) will expand the community's outdoor education facility to include a desert tortoise habitat. Also, the curriculum which accompanies the outdoor resource will be updated to include this addition. Teacher training on use of the facility, particularly for faculty new to the area, will be provided.

     Arizona 4H Youth Foundation, Phoenix, ($5,000) will train teenagers to deliver environmental education to schools and community groups. The mentor teens, in keeping with the 4-H "learn by doing" concept,  will organize children in their own and nearby schools to participate in recycling activities. A guidebook for teachers to support the teen activities will be produced.

     Maricopa Community College District, Phoenix, ($23,677) will establish teams of students, teachers, parents, and community members to explore Phoenix' air pollution problems. Twenty workshops for teachers and parents will be conducted to discuss hands-on classroom activities and formats for developing student projects on air pollution issues. The closing event for the project will be a "Fresh Air Fest."

     Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, ($5,000) will bring together faculty and teacher candidates at the university with staff of non-formal education facilities in the Flagstaff area to develop and implement an environmental education curriculum which the teacher candidates will present to school children and visitors to these institutions. Lessons developed for this project will enable students and visitors to examine and identify the ecological, political, economic, social and educational issues which impact each environmental decision.

     Pima Center for Conservation Education, Tucson, ($4,816) will develop resource material for a middle school simulation and role playing project to demonstrate the steps usually taken in an environmental impact study. Over the course of several weeks, students will visit an area that may be environmentally impacted, research the environmental and economic factors, and identify the regulatory, socio-political, and resource constraints of the particular position they will defend. Lastly, the students will effectively communicate their position to the group.

     Pima County Department of Environmental Quality, Tucson, ($4,030) will train 15 Spanish bi-lingual teachers to increase their knowledge of air quality issues. Following the workshop, trainers will work with the teachers in their classrooms to demonstrate ways to integrate air quality lessons into their  schedule.

     University of Arizona, Tucson, ($4,992) will conduct energy awareness and conservation seminars at three Tucson high schools. Using a competition format, teams of 11th grade students will assess various energy saving strategies to reduce utility bills of a prototype residence typical of the neighborhood. Computer analysis will allow students to debate among themselves which plan is most effective before submitting their selection.

CALIFORNIA

     City of Arcata, Arcata, ($4,850) will provide an interpretive exhibit demonstrating the unique features of the community's integrated wetland/wastewater treatment facility. As an example of appropriate wastewater reuse and wetlands restoration technology, the interpretive center and adjacent wildlife sanctuary attract large numbers of visitors. The interpretive displays will focus on the water cycle, human use of water resources, the restored wetlands for wastewater treatment, and wildlife habitats.

     East Bay Asian Youth Center, Berkeley, ($5,000) will provide training for ten high school youth and 24 elementary school teachers to implement compost projects at school sites. Joint workshops for the teachers and teens will employ inquiry models to teach waste reduction, pollution prevention, and health in the context of urban, organic gardening. The high school students will become mentors for their elementary school peers to guide them in understanding the relationship between waste, pollution, and nutrition issues.  

     Friends of Oakland Parks and Recreation/Brookdale Discovery Center, Oakland, ($5,000) will train three high school youth in the Courtland Creek neighborhood to become training assistants to work with their peers, their families, and the community to increase awareness of the importance of a healthy creek habitat. The project will focus on educating teachers, students, parents, community leaders and the public about human health threats from pollution by working to keep toxic substances out of the creek, restoring native plants to the area, and reintroducing native amphibians if water quality proves satisfactory for their survival.

     George Washington Elementary School/Burbank Unified School District, Burbank, ($5,000) will develop an environmental science native plant garden on the school campus. Students will learn to identify native plants, cultivate conditions that enhance their growth, and maintain journals on their activities. Information about the progress of the project will be disseminated in newsletters to parents, through the local media, and on the school web page.
                           
     Inyo County Office of Education, Independence, ($5,000) will provide a five day resident environmental study of water use issues for 60-80 high school youth recruited from Inyo, Mono, and Los Angeles Counties. Students will become involved in an intensive study to assess vegetative health, soil conditions, air and water quality, and the water and power infrastructures. They will shadow and interact with resource managers and scientists as they practice using on-site investigative tools and laboratories.

     Los Angeles Educational Partnership, Los Angeles, ($18,870) will conduct training for 120 teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District to foster an awareness among their students regarding the interrelationship and interdependency of  the ecosystems that surround the city. Using the Internet to  acquaint students with environmental issues impacting local habitats, the project will provide students with current resources and lead them in investigations, virtual field trips, and environmental action projects. The program will enable students to make decisions to act responsibly and to take action in the community to improve the environment.

     Monterey Regional Waste Management District, Marina, ($5,000) will implement a comprehensive outreach program to the schools in their service area to prompt students to become active participants in waste reduction. Teachers will be trained and materials will be developed for classroom use with the purpose of encouraging students to design and manage recycling programs at their school sites. Students will be invited to visit the waste management facility to learn first hand about waste related activities.  

     Oakland Arts Magnet/Far West School, Oakland, ($10,000) will conduct an integrated recycling and yard waste composting project as a model for the school district in educational reform. Under the leadership of a Recycling Coordinator, teams of students will undergo extensive training to participate in educating the rest of the students, faculty, and staff about the concepts and practice of recycling and composting. Once the program is in place, the goal is for it to become self-sustaining to ensure that 90 percent of all recyclable materials will continue to be diverted from the waste stream.

     Pacific Oaks College, Pasadena, ($5,000) will provide six hours of environmental education staff development for 75 teachers of pre-school age children. Training will enable participants to use simple activities based on habitats of land snails and earth worms to allow 3-5 year olds to come into contact with the world around them. Follow up support for workshop participants will be available by telephone and on-line computer consultation.                                            
                                                                     
Resource Conservation District of Greater San Diego County, Econdido, ($4,570) will expand the Water Awareness: Keeping San  Diego Bay Clean program to an additional 51 sixth grade classrooms in the region. Through classroom presentations using a watershed model, students and teachers will learn about watershed health by understanding the causes of watershed pollution and examining ways to prevent pollution that runs off the land into rivers, lakes, and streams in the San Diego Bay watershed.    

     San Francisco Recycling Center, San Francisco, ($5,000) will increase participation in school recycling efforts by training a corps of middle and high school youth to conduct service learning activities in their own and neighboring schools.

     Save San Francisco Bay Association, Oakland, ($5,000) will target the subsistence fishing population in six Bay Area counties to acquaint them with contaminants in bay waters and about ways to minimize health threats from fish consumption. The delivery system will include presentations in classrooms, community meetings, health clinics, libraries, and one-on-one outreach to the fishing population.

     Shasta County Office of Education, Redding, ($16,016) will provide two five-day workshops for 100 teachers, classroom aides, community coordinators, and natural resource professionals. Workshop participants will be trained to use environmental education curricula of Adopt-a-watershed, Project Wild, Project Learning Tree, A Child's Place in the Environment, and the California State Environmental Education Guide.

     Water Education Foundation, Sacramento, ($5,000) will provide training for 100 primary grade teachers in Sacramento, San Diego, and San Francisco school districts to learn about water resources and conservation.

NEVADA

     Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Carson City, ($4,500) will offer a two-day teacher workshop in water resources and conservation, initiate a course on water issues for teacher candidates at the University of Nevada, Reno, and expand a website to include Project Wet activities. Using the format of traditional environmental education training projects, participants of the workshop will develop critical-thinking skills particularly regarding human impact upon environmental pollution. The College of Education at UNR will collaborate with the department in offering the 15 hour course, taught by Project  Wet facilitators and state agency professionals, to 30 aspiring teachers. The department's website will link with the Water Education site of Utah State University and will allow Water Planning Division professionals to respond to questions posed by students.
 
     University of Nevada, Las Vegas, ($23,679) will organize clusters of 15-25 students enrolled in the same sections of three courses for students enrolled in the environmental studies degree program. The project will bring together elementary, secondary, and college students working with environmental professionals to determine the feasibility, through water quality monitoring, of raising endangered fish species in ponds created by wastewater treatment in Boulder City's wetland park.

     Washoe County School District, Reno, ($5,000) will provide teacher training for 700 elementary school staff to integrate concepts of environmental and cultural diversity found in the Great Basin Project across all curricular areas.


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