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University of Virgin Islands Environmental Education Project Gets Big Boost from EPA; Project Receives More than 14,000 in Funding from EPA

Release Date: 07/24/2001
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(#01087) San Juan, Puerto Rico -- Demonstrating its continuing commitment to education about the importance of a clean environment, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has given $14,130 to fund an environmental education project developed by the University of the Virgin Islands in St. Thomas. Each year, the Agency helps fund projects that foster an understanding and respect for the environment.

"Even with all the progress we’ve made in cleaning up our environment in the past few decades, the future of our environment still very much depends on the knowledge and skills of individuals and their ability to understand how people interact with the environment," said William J. Muszynski, Acting EPA Regional Administrator. "By getting involved in hands-on projects like these, students of all ages will learn the lesson that we didn’t fully grasp just a few generations ago – that we are inextricably connected to and dependant upon the environment."

The environmental education project, called the V.I. Home and Farm Water Quality Assessment Education and Outreach, expands on the existing VI*A*Syst (Virgin Islands Home and Farm Water Quality Assessment) Program. Using materials that speak to the special needs of Virgin Island communities, this project educates residents about water quality, how to detect contaminants in drinking water and the practices that can cause destruction of the important marine and terrestrial ecosystems in the Virgin Islands. Through educational materials, workshops and site visits, program participants are encouraged to adopt practices in and around the home and farm that protect their health and safeguard water quality. The program, promoted by a multi-media campaign, also provides residents, whose drinking water comes from cisterns, with low-cost water test kits and training in their use.

EPA’s grant program supports environmental education projects that enhance the public’s awareness, knowledge, and skills, enabling them to make informed decisions that affect environmental quality. Since 1992, EPA has awarded $ 20 million in grants. For more information on EPA’s Environmental Education Grant program and how to apply for a grant, visit the Web site at: http://www.epa.gov/enviroed/grants.html.