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Two Maine Groups Receive Environmental Education Grants

Release Date: 11/08/2002
Contact Information: Andrew Spejewski, EPA Press Office, 617-918-1014

BOSTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced $175,000 in environmental education grants to New England, including $17,000 for two Maine organizations and $20,000 to the New England Aquarium for a region-wide program. The Northern Maine Development Corporation is receiving $14,414 for education of private well owners in Northern Maine, and The Environmental Schools in Ocean Park, Maine is receiving $2,250 to fund teacher workshops on using environmental education to reach standards in the Maine Learning Results.

"The critical first step to a clean and healthy world is learning about our environment," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator for EPA's New England Office. "These organizations are doing a tremendous job at helping students and citizens learn, and EPA is proud to be able to help fund their work."

The Northern Maine Development Commission's "Safe Home Drinking Water" program is presented to community organizations, family health groups and the general public. Issues covered include contamination threats to groundwater and the potential health issues. It is intended to encourage homeowners to properly maintain septic systems, make wise choices in purchasing and disposing of household cleaners and agricultural chemicals and test drinking wells at least every three years.

The Environmental Schools, in Ocean Park, runs three workshops, for teachers of grades K-2, 3-4 and 5-8. The workshops provide effective, practical activities selected from existing curricula for their ability to reach standards contained in the Maine Learning Results. The activities include briefings on the ecological or environmental science behind each and are accompanied by written materials outlining the activities and additional resources.

The Boston-based New England Aquarium is designing a traveling exhibit and training program on the sources of mercury in New England's environment, how it travels and reaches humans, and what people can do to minimize risks to them and the environment. Aquarium officials expected that 30,000 to 40,000 people will have the opportunity to interact with the exhibit and/or participate in a mercury education.