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Nearly $188,000 is awarded to Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington for Environmental Education

Release Date: 07/21/2009
Contact Information: Sally Hanft, EPA Env. Ed.Grant Coordinator, (206) 553-1207, hanft.sally@epa.gov Tony Brown, EPA Public Affairs, (206) 553-1203, brown.anthony@epa.gov

(Seattle, Wash. July 21, 2009) As part of its ongoing effort to enhance environmental education in the Pacific Northwest, the Environmental Protection Agency has awarded $187,994 for education programs in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.

This funding will promote and advance environmental literacy and sustainable practices, according to Sally Hanft, Environmental Education Grants Coordinator in EPA’s Seattle Office.

“These grants support projects that allow students, teachers, and citizens to learn more about habitats around them and ways to restore them, watersheds, recycling, and sustainability education," said EPA's Hanft. “We are impressed year after year with how much the recipients are able to accomplish with these grants. With environmental education grants, we get a great bang for our buck. This year we awarded eight grants out of 103 applications, which make it one of the most competitive years ever.”

These grants are awarded to local organizations, not-for-profit organizations, government agencies, schools and universities whose projects strive to increase people’s knowledge and awareness about the environment and its associated challenges. The grant recipients, projects and funding amounts are as follows:

Alaska

Alaska Bird Observatory/Creamer’s Refuge – $31,000 – Tricia Blake, (907) 451-7159, 418 Wedgewood Drive Fairbanks, Alaska 99701 - Project Title: Increasing Education Opportunities at Creamer’s Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge in Fairbanks - The project is to increase the existing school programs on Creamer's Refuge in Fairbanks by incorporating additional inquiry-based lesson choices for schools; correlating existing programs with curriculum standards; making the refuge curricula available to educators and parents on the web; increasing professional development opportunities for teachers; and initiating a student internship program for 20 students. Two, 3-day professional development workshops will be offered to K-12 teachers where they will be introduced to the natural and human history of Creamer’s Refuge, and where they will be offered a menu of lesson choices so that they may design a program that is best-suited to their classroom study. Through the project, the grantee hopes to reach approximately 80 classes/year (2,000 students, educators, and parents) through field trips and associated pre and post classroom lessons.

Copper River Watershed Project - $15,000 – Kate Alexander, (907) 424-3334, P. O. Box 1560 Cordova, Alaska 99574 - Project Title: Watershed Stewardship Campaign - The Watershed Stewardship campaign will promote the health of the Copper River Watershed by educating residents and visitors about the watershed. The campaign will use a multi-faceted approach including school year field trips with elementary and high school students, summer camp field trips, educational activities at community festivals, engaging community members in citizen science monitoring programs and bringing together community partners to create educational signage on watershed ecosystems to display throughout the watershed. The goal is to get the community and visitors to the area to think about a watershed as an entire interrelated ecosystem, rather than as separate independent rivers, streams and lakes. The project will reach around 80 3-6th graders and three teachers; 50 students in grades 8-12 and two science teachers; around 50 community members engaged in citizen science projects; and 500 participants benefiting from watershed education displays and activities at community festivals.
Idaho

Idaho State University (ISU) – $14,041 – Dr. Donna Lybecker, (208) 282-3331, 921 S 8th Avenue STOP8046 Pocatello, Idaho 83209 - Project Title: Framing Citizenship with Recycling: Educational Programs at ISU - Idaho State University (ISU) will survey a sample of their students, faculty, and staff to find which view of citizenship (duty-based or engaged citizen) is in the ISU community and how they view a "frame" (recycling). Once the results are compiled, educational materials, informational booths, activities and signage regarding recycling will be tailored to the different views of citizenship. A post-survey will be conducted to determine if the materials are educating people on recycling. In addition, tracking will also be done monthly on the amount of recycling ISU is doing and comparing it to the amount they had previously recycled. The grantee wants to be able to expand this program to the city of Pocatello and to the nearby Tribe.

Salmon Valley Stewardship $19,484 – Gina Lynn Knudson, (208) 756-1686, 513 Main Street Salmon, Idaho 83467 - Project Title: A Sense of Salmon: Connecting Children to Lemhi County’s Rich Environmental Heritage Through the Arts - The Sense and Sensibility project will focus on children 6-12 years of age in Lemhi County and Ft. Hall Shoshone-Bannock Reservation. It will include "River of Raptors" and "Sagebrush Adventures" classes that will each run for six half days on Friday's during the school year; "Trees, Please" and "Mountains of Wool" are day-camps that will each run for five half days during the summer; and a two day Salmon River raft trip in August for children entering the sixth grade. Each piece of the Sense of Salmon project will weave together science, culture, and art using an interdisciplinary approach. Approximately 10-25 children are expected for each Friday program, 25-40 for the summer day camps, and 45-55 for the two-day float trip on the Salmon River. Students will engage in hands-on inquiry activities to learn about local natural environments, traditional uses and interactions with that environment, and implications of those actions on the future. They will then communicate what they have learned to the community through creative arts and writing and on-the-ground stewardship projects.

Oregon

International Sustainable Development Foundation – $26,000 – Lori Stole, (503) 279-9383, One World Trade Center 121 SW Salmon Street - Suite 210 Portland, Oregon 97204 - Project Title: Teaching “Sustainability” in our Schools - The goal of the project is to increase the capacity of Oregon’s Educational Service Districts to support K-12 education for sustainability with a special focus on how sustainability education can support career and technical education and support state economic needs. Teams from four of the 20 Oregon’s Educational Service Districts (ESDs) will participate in one of four education sustainability workshops. Each ESD will form a team with at least 8 members (teachers, district staff, college staff, sustainability consultants, and community leaders) and apply to participate. The products of the workshops include 1) a list of opportunities for ESDs to provide sustainability education services to the district, 2) ESD sustainability education action plans, and 3) how to implement the action plans. The results will be presented to all ESDs at the annual conference. ESDs will compile results, and the products will be shared across the state with the hopes of being incorporated into education curriculum.

Institute for Applied Ecology – $15,000 – Jennie Cramer, (541) 753-3099, P. O. Box 2855 Corvallis, Oregon 97333 - Project Title: The Restoration and Reintroduction Education Partnership (RARE) Partnership: Connecting students and nature through Stewardship - The RARE Partnership is an environmental stewardship program that pairs local schools with neighboring restoration sites where students interact and connect with nature through stewardship. For this project, around 500 elementary, middle, and high schools at eight local schools will be focusing on restoring the habitat for the Fender’s Blue butterfly, an endangered animal of the Willamette Valley prairies. The applicant works closely with students and teachers, instructing the students in Willamette Valley ecology, botany, and horticulture. They provide the students with the necessary skills and tools to understand and reintroduce endangered species and restore habitat in the Willamette Valley prairies. The students are actively involved in the restoration and inquiry process, collecting seeds of the targeted species from nearby healthy populations and growing them experimentally in school greenhouses. In the spring, the students plant the fruits of their labor and monitor the success of their restoration efforts. As a result, students build their sense of place and stewardship, and cultivate valuable restoration skills as they work to save imperiled species.

Washington

Education Service District #101– $26,469 – Steve Witter, (509) 789-3540, 4202 S. Regal Spokane, Washington 99223 - Project Title: Eastern Washington Environmental Education Stewardship - The purpose of this project is to provide hands-on environmental education for 150 students (grades 5-8), who will conduct and document stream testing and restoration on the Palouse River and Hangman Creek watersheds in Eastern Washington. The second purpose is to promote long term environmental awareness and stewardship by enhancing the knowledge and skills of K-12 teachers, and creating opportunities for students, parents, teachers and communities to learn and work together in environmental settings. Two staff development programs on water quality will be created and offered to 60 teachers in all of the ESD 101 school districts. A project website will be created for the students to share information. Community members will be recruited to assist in planting trees for stream bank restoration and to be guest speakers in the classrooms to discuss local water quality issues.

Environmental Education Association of Washington – $41,000 – Abigail Marie Ruskey, (360) 943-6643, P.O. Box 6277 Olympia, Washington 98507 - Project Title: Schools for the Future: Sustainable Design Projects (SDP) - The Sustainable Design Project will recruit and train 12 teachers from different Washington state school districts to actively and effectively utilitize the people, tools, and resources available for sustainability education. It will support a cadre of teacher leaders in school districts by engaging in professional development on sustainability education, forming sustainability teams, implementing and teaching sustainable design project units in classrooms, and creating a learning community network. These teacher leaders will attend the 2009 Sustainability Education Summer Institute at Islandwood this summer. Each teacher will develop and teach a sustainable design project unit to at least 50 students and will lead and support at least three other teachers in his/her school district to implement the same project with their students, reaching a total of 2,400 students. Then around 48 of these teachers will attend the Team Leaders Summit to be held in 2010.

Currently, EPA does not have an environmental education grant solicitation issued. Please check our national website for up-to-date information – http://www.epa.gov/enviroed/grants.html. Schools, not-for-profit organizations, state and local government education or environmental agencies and tribal education agencies or not-for-profit tribal organizations are eligible to apply. The annual EPA grants program gives financial support to projects that increase the public’s awareness and knowledge about the environment and provide skills to make informed decisions and take responsible action.

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