The Environmental Literacy Program supports education programs that use NOAA science to promote stewardship and informed decision making.
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. We build capacity for institutions and networks to advance NOAA’s mission through formal (K-12) and informal education at national, regional, and local levels.

2015 program impacts

  • More than 100 science education institutions offered NOAA-supported, compelling, up-to-date information on the ocean, coasts, Great Lakes, weather, and climate to over 60 million people through formal and informal education programs including exhibits such as NOAA’s Science On a Sphere®.
  • More than 200,000 youth and adult learners engaged in NOAA-supported, high-quality learning experiences designed to increase their understanding and ability to apply concepts focused on improving environmental literacy.
  • More than 2,000 formal and informal educators received NOAA-supported professional development using evidence-based practices and conveying Earth system science in compelling and relevant ways.
Since 2005, our program has supported 106 projects through 123 grants totaling more than $67 million. The 2016 Environmental Literacy Grant competition focused on helping communities build the environmental literacy necessary for resilience to extreme weather events and environmental hazards. The response to this competition was large – 170 applications, with a total request of more than $77 million, were submitted from 40 states, the District of Columbia, and three U.S. Territories. This response highlights the need to build a long-term foundation for resilience through education. Environmental Literacy Grant competitions are particularly competitive, with only 9% of the 1,122 reviewed applications (since 2005) ultimately receiving funding. Learn more about the projects funded through our Environmental Literacy Grants through our searchable database of awards.

Advancing the field

NOAA's Office of Education created this program to build capacity within the fields of environmental education and science, technology, engineering and mathematics education to use NOAA assets in educationally effective ways. Projects and partners receiving support from NOAA are evaluated on their use of activity-specific, evidence-based practices. Additionally, projects are expected to conduct comprehensive project evaluation that assesses how well and to what extent the approach achieved the project goals and objectives as well as NOAA’s stated goals. Evaluation reports are reviewed by NOAA and data on outcomes and outputs are collected and aggregated to assess program-level impacts. Program successes and challenges are shared through publications, presentations at professional meetings, and digital libraries specific to the field.