B-WET engages in strategic partnerships to build capacity for Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences.
NOAA Office of Education collaborates with the U.S. Department of Education through their interagency initiative designed to integrate high-quality Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) programming into 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program sites. The 21st CCLC program is the largest out-of-school program in the nation, serving over 1.5 million students in all 50 states. 21st CCLC provide academic enrichment opportunities during out-of-school time for children, particularly students who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools. NOAA and 21st CCLC partner to deliver authentic STEM experiences that use components of the B-WET program’s Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences.
The Chesapeake Bay Program is a regional partnership that leads and directs the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay. Begun in 1983, the Chesapeake Bay Program brings together members of federal and state agencies, local governments, non-profit organizations, and academic institutions to build and adopt policies that support Chesapeake Bay restoration. Partners work toward shared goals, envisioning a watershed with clean water, abundant wildlife, and a vibrant cultural heritage, where people have access to waterways and open space and are engaged in conservation and stewardship. The NOAA B-WET program supports the commitment of the Chesapeake Bay Program to continually increase students’ age-appropriate understanding of the watershed through participation in teacher-supported, Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences and rigorous, inquiry-based instruction, with a target of at least one Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience in elementary, middle, and high school depending on available resources.
The Gulf of Mexico Alliance is a regional ocean partnership working to enhance the ecological and economic health of the Gulf of Mexico through increased regional collaboration. The Gulf of Mexico Alliance is led by the five Gulf states (Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas) with support from federal agencies, academic organizations, non-profits, and businesses in the Gulf. Partners work together to address priority issues that directly affect the Gulf ecosystems and economies. The Gulf of Mexico B-WET program funds local projects that implement meaningful watershed educational experiences to address environmental priorities identified by the Gulf of Mexico Alliance.
The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) accelerates efforts to protect and restore the largest system of fresh surface water in the world, the Great Lakes. Since 2010, GLRI has provided funding to 16 federal agencies, including NOAA, to strategically target the biggest threats to the Great Lakes ecosystem and to accelerate progress towards achieving long-term goals. The Great Lakes B-WET program serves a vital role among NOAA’s GLRI-funded initiatives: supporting environmental education among the region’s youth. GLRI funds helped to establish the Great Lakes B-WET program and they continue to support and strengthen projects to foster the next generation’s engagement in Great Lakes issues.
The Ocean Guardian School program is a grant program that supports hands-on ocean stewardship projects in K-12 public, private, and charter schools. Ocean Guardian schools are awarded annually to fund school- or community-based projects that encourage students to explore their local ecology, learn about their watershed and its connection to the ocean, identify connections between their actions and the health of the environment, and forge a personal sense of stewardship and environmental leadership. Ocean Guardian activities align with the B-WET Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience framework by supporting student stewardship action projects. The program is managed by the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries in coordination with the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation offsite link, with support from the B-WET program.