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2002 News Releases


Nine Massachusetts 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 announced today that nine Massachusetts groups are among those receiving $175,000 in environmental education grants in New England. The grants, totaling $72,527 in Massachusetts, will cover projects ranging from a traveling mercury education exhibit to working with inner-city children in Brockton to a project on transportation for Greenfield schoolchildren.

"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 Boston-based New England Aquarium received a $20,000 grant to design 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 expect that 30,000 to 40,000 people will have the opportunity to interact with the exhibit and/or participate in a mercury education.

"The New England Aquarium is excited to partner with the EPA to create a traveling exhibit program that will educate the public about mercury pollution and what they can do to help," said William S. Spitzer, Ph.D, vice president for Programs & Exhibits at the New England Aquarium. "Mercury pollution is a very real threat to New Englanders, particularly toddlers, babies, and the fetuses of pregnant women. However, families can protect their health by making smart household choices about fish consumption, household waste, and electricity use."

The other Massachusetts organizations receiving grants are:

The Boston Harbor Association, Boston Amount $5,000
"Summer on the Harbor" program. Through a series of interactive activities, field trips, and hands-on science, middle and high school age city youth learn about the complex environment associated with Boston Harbor and the Boston Harbor Islands. The underlying goal of the program is to promote long-term environmental stewardship of Boston Harbor among inner-city youth. Students will participate in restoration activities and projects, and learn about environmental and public health issues, and environmental career opportunities associated with the Harbor.

Cohasset Public Schools Amount: $3,892
"Assessing the Gulf River - Student Monitoring of Water Quality in the Cohasset, MA South Coastal Watershed". This grant enables Cohasset Middle High School students to work as Summer Institute interns re-establishing water quality monitoring in the Gulf River and to assist the Gulf Association in its goal of conducting a Natural Resources Inventory of the Gulf River Watershed.

Housatonic River Restoration, Inc. Amount: $13,835
"Housatonic River Restoration Environmental Education Network". The network establishes a regional partnership of classroom educators and environmentalists to create quality, place-based water resource education and ensure a responsible and knowledgeable constituency of river uses. It supports and provides curriculum guides and training for classroom teachers so that they might facilitate the use of the Housatonic River as a teaching laboratory for their students, and at the same time help implement curricula that are compatible with the Massachusetts State Education Frameworks.

Keep Lowell Beautiful, Inc. Amount: $5,000
The "Keep Lowell Beautiful Litter Reduction" project combines interactive education programs and hands-on cleanups in the most highly-littered areas of the city, where 20,000 Spanish and Khmer-speaking people reside. These neighborhoods have community organizers and active groups. The initiative is being undertaken to raise awareness of the negative impacts of litter, develop solutions to the issue of litter in the neighborhood, and to promote a behavioral change toward litter.

Nashua River Watershed Association (NRWA), Groton Amount: $5,000
In the "Ayer Nature Trail and Watershed Monitoring Project", 100 fifth grade students and six middle school teachers work directly with the NRWA Scientist-in-residence. Once a month the NRWA scientist visits each class, and hands-on participatory activities take place in the forest and pond sites. Also, 25 parent chaperones participate in the Explore-A-Pond Program, and adults often learn just as much as the students.

Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA), Greenfield Amount: $5,000
The grant will expand the "Earth Smart Travel" environmental education pilot project to 20+ additional schools. NESEA does this by providing support and training to environmental education organizations like Massachusetts Community Water Watch and Tanglewood 4-H Camp and Learning Center on environmental transportation issues. In turn, each year these organizations bring these program activities to the schools and students they currently work with. In this way, NESEA involves at least 24 new schools and 2,100 new students annually in inter disciplinary education on transportation issues.

Old Colony YMCA, Brockton Amount $4,800
"Project LEAP (Learning Environmental Awareness and Positive Attitudes)" is an ongoing environmental education program for at-risk youth ages 12-21. The grant will help the YMCA, partnering with Champion Charter School and Youthbuild Brockton, to provide 80 students from alternative classrooms the opportunity to learn outdoor skills that encourage healthy active lifestyles and that develop a better understanding of environmental issues such as water quality and urban open space.

Stonehill College, Easton, Amount: $10,000
"Creation of the Campus Classroom: Development of the Woodlands of Stonehill College as an Environmental Education Resource for K-12 and College Students". This project makes the wild spaces on Stonehill's campus available for educational efforts of the college and the K-12 school systems in the surrounding area. Five Stonehill undergraduates, working for 10 weeks in Stonehill's summer research program, will produce a Field Guide to Stonehill available online and in print. Ten teachers from local school districts will be trained in a summer workshop focusing on the use of the Guide. Teaching collaborations between these teachers and Stonehill will be developed, which in turn will bring K-12 classes onto Stonehill's campus for education in environmental sciences.