2016 Environmental Literacy Grants

Community Resilience
❮Environmental Literacy Awards

Competition overview

NOAA’s Office of Education offered funding for a second year focused on building environmental literacy in support of community resilience to extreme weather events and environmental hazards. In 2016, five projects were selected for funding following a highly competitive request for applications in which communities highlighted their need for education projects that build resilience. We received 170 applications from 40 states, the District of Columbia, and 3 U.S. Territories, with a total request of more than $77 million. These applications were reviewed by a group of experts representing the fields of science education, resilience planning, and education evaluation and included individuals from academia, community-based non-profit organizations, local and state governments, and K-12 schools.
Additional details of the “Strengthening the Public’s and/or K-12 Students’ Environmental Literacy for Community Resilience to Extreme Weather Events and Environmental Hazards” competition are available in the Federal Funding Opportunity Announcement (NOAA-SEC-OED-2016-2004737). Also, resources for preparing an application are available on the Apply page.


The five selected projects will build the foundation for a resilient community through education in Chicago (IL), Brooklyn (NY), Norfolk (VA), Tucson and Phoenix (AZ), and Fairfield County (CT). These projects are based on local resilience plans and will create new partnerships between K-12 and informal education institutions and government and non-profit organizations working on resilience planning and implementation. The most pertinent current and future natural hazards and stresses facing these communities are the focus of these projects, including sea level rise, severe storms, drought, and extreme heat. All projects use NOAA assets and are based on established scientific evidence and consider socio-economic and ecological factors. While the selected projects incorporate a variety of approaches, a few themes stand out: empowering youth and adults to increase their understanding of locally relevant natural hazards and stresses; giving youth a voice in resilience planning; and student-led vulnerability assessments of their schools and communities.
These are the five institutions receiving awards totalling approximately $2.5 million:
  • Brooklyn College/City University of New York, Brooklyn, NY
  • Elizabeth River Project, Norfolk, VA
  • Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk, Norwalk, CT
  • Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, IL
  • Watershed Management Group, Tucson, AZ
Project descriptions are located on our searchable list of awards page. These five new projects are part of a growing cohort of NOAA-funded resilience education projects that includes six projects funded in 2015.

More about this program

NOAA’s Environmental Literacy Program provides grants and in-kind support for programs that educate and inspire people to use Earth systems science to improve ecosystem stewardship and increase resilience to environmental hazards. Environmental Literacy Grants (ELG) are a subcomponent of this program. Resilience became the focus of ELG beginning in 2015. These first few years of investment will create new models for how education can improve community resilience. The goal of the 2015 and 2016 investments is to strengthen the public’s and/or K-12 students’ environmental literacy to enable informed decision-making necessary for community resilience to extreme weather events and other environmental hazards. Funded projects build geographic awareness and an understanding of Earth systems and the threats and vulnerabilities that are associated with a community’s location.