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2018-2019 Environmental Literacy Grants

For a fourth year, NOAA’s Environmental Literacy Program provided funding to communities across the country to help them build the environmental literacy necessary for resilience to extreme weather events and other environmental hazards.

The nine projects, receiving a total of $3 million in funding and covering 8 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands, establish education as the foundation for a resilient community.

Many U.S. communities are contending with issues related to preventing, withstanding, and recovering from disruptions caused by environmental hazards. Typically, communities work to combat these issues by asking scientists and municipal planners to explore the hazards the community faces, assess specific vulnerabilities and risks, consider options, prioritize and plan, and take action (U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit). However, in order for resilience to take root more permanently, members of a community must also be involved in this process. NOAA’s Environmental Literacy Program works to fill this gap by using education as a tool to empower community members, including children and youth, to mitigate hazards both at the individual and the community level.

The 2018 funding competition received 237 pre-applications from 45 states, the District of Columbia, and three U.S. territories, totalling over $100 million in requested funds. This highlights the wide-ranging need for resilience education support. Out of the 237 pre-applicants, 59 were asked to submit a full proposal for review. The nine final grantees were selected through rigorous peer review 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 about this competition are available in the Federal Funding Opportunity Announcement (NOAA-SEC-OED-2018-2005455), and resources for preparing an application are available on the apply page.

The 2018 funded projects build off of existing local resilience plans while also creaing new partnerships between K-12 schools, informal education institutions, governments, and nonprofit organizations working on resilience planning and implementation. Each project tackles the most pertinent current and future environmental stresses facing its particular community. These hazards include sea level rise, severe storms, flooding, drought, and extreme heat. All projects use NOAA assets, base their projects on established scientific evidence, and consider socio-economic and ecological factors in their decision-making. While each funded project builds resilience slightly differently, many incorporate the following approaches:

  • Educators and students working with expert planners to develop community-based resilience plans that protect vulnerable households and neighborhoods

  • Students leading resilience action projects

  • Rural students learning about resilience through both traditional ecological knowledge and Western science

  • Empowering underserved community members as environmental leaders and change agents

Awards

The nine selected projects are building the foundation for resilient communities through education in Louisiana and Alaska, in the cities of Easton, Pennsylvania; Detroit, Michigan; Boulder, Colorado; and San Diego, California; and across the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Fond du Lac Reservation, which spans Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

RECIPIENT

PROJECT

LOCATION

AMOUNT

Chugach School District

Environmental Literacy for Alaskan Climate Stewards (ELACS)

Anchorage, AK

$499,888

Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College

Climate Strong-Building Tribal Youth Leadership for Climate Resiliency

Cloquet, MN

$499,407

Museum of Science

Citizen Science, Civics, and Resilient Communities (CSCRC)

Boston, MA

$500,000

Nurture Nature Center

CREATE Resilience: Creating Resilience Through Education, Art, Technology and Engagement

Easton, PA

$429,420

Ocean Discovery Institute

Empowering Climate Change Resiliency through Education in an Underserved Community

San Diego, CA

$500,000

The Regents of the University of Colorado

Colorado Youth Empowerment and Community Resilience

Boulder, CO

$500,000

The Regents of the University of Michigan

Climate resilience from the youth up

Ann Arbor, MI

$497,658

University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

R4 Ed: Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships in Coastal Louisiana Resilience Education

Boulder, CO

$389,427

University of Virgin Islands

U.S. Virgin Islands Storm Strong Program

St. Thomas, VI

$499,998

The 2018 awards will be added to the searchable awards database soon.

Funding amounts listed above are full federal award amounts for all years of the award.  Abstract summaries for the funded proejcts are available here.

These nine new projects are part of a growing cohort of NOAA-funded resilience education projects that includes two projects funded in 2017, five projects in 2016, and six projects in 2015. For more details about the ELP’s awards, please visit the awards webpage.