Explore awards

Use the filter menu and interactive map to explore the past competitions offered and grants awarded through the Environmental Literacy Program.

To learn more about project findings and outcomes, view the summaries of our grantees’ summative evaluation reports.

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Summer Science in New England: Ocean Education through Informal Science Centers

Funding: $342,232
Year: 2009
The Summer Science in New England project has established a regional network of summer camp programs grounded in ocean science. In year one, six institutions - New England Aquarium, Northeastern University's Marine Science Center, University of Rhode Island's Alton Jones Camp, the University of Connecticut's Project Oceanology, the Seacoast Science Center in NH, and the Marine Environmental Research Institute in Maine - work alongside research scientists to engage campers, ages 14 and up, in near-shore biodiversity monitoring.

The Summer Science in New England project has established a regional network of summer camp programs grounded in ocean science. In year one, six institutions - New England Aquarium, Northeastern University's Marine Science Center, University of Rhode Island's Alton Jones Camp, the University of Connecticut's Project Oceanology, the Seacoast Science Center in NH, and the Marine Environmental Research Institute in Maine - work alongside research scientists to engage campers, ages 14 and up, in near-shore biodiversity monitoring. In years two and three, the number of partners increases to 10, then 12. The project provides a citizen science experience across a wide geographical area, supports and trains informal science center staff to incorporate citizen science while using environmental literacy principles with teens, and offers opportunities for all participants to share findings with peers at annual forums.

Award Number: NA09SEC4690039
Grant Dates: 11/30/2009 to 11/29/2013
PI: William "Billy" Spitzer
State: Massachusetts   County:   Suffolk District: MA08
Partners: Sea Research Foundation / Mystic Aquarium · Seacoast Science Center · BOAT CAMP, Inc. · Downeast Institute · Marine Environmental Research Institute · Suffolk University · University of Rhode Island (URI) / Environmental Education Center (EEC · Northeastern University (NU) / Marine Science Center (MSC) · Project Oceanology ·

A National Coalition of Aquariums Educating About Climate Change

Funding: $507,083
Year: 2009
This collaboration led by three major national aquariums - Monterey Bay Aquarium (MBAq), National Aquarium in Baltimore (NAIB), and New England Aquarium (NEAq) - is developing a leadership initiative to build capacity within aquariums and related informal science education institutions nation-wide, enabling education staff to engage and inspire millions of visitors to take action about climate change and the ocean.

This collaboration led by three major national aquariums - Monterey Bay Aquarium (MBAq), National Aquarium in Baltimore (NAIB), and New England Aquarium (NEAq) - is developing a leadership initiative to build capacity within aquariums and related informal science education institutions nation-wide, enabling education staff to engage and inspire millions of visitors to take action about climate change and the ocean. The project increases climate literacy among informal science educators by: 1) creating a national network for training, resource sharing and support; 2) developing climate change activity carts to support exhibit interpretation; 3) providing training for youth interpreters; and 4) hosting regional and national summits to strengthen collaboration and showcase and disseminate model programs. Outcomes for educators include increased knowledge of climate change science; knowledge of strategies, tools and materials for educating about climate change; and confidence in their ability to communicate about climate change.

Award Number: NA09SEC4690047
Grant Dates: 10/01/2009 to 09/30/2013
PI: William "Billy" Spitzer
State: Massachusetts   County:   Suffolk District: MA08
Partners: North Carolina Aquarium Society / North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island · California Academy of Sciences · Monterey Bay Aquarium · National Aquarium / National Aquarium In Baltimore (NAIB) · Seward Association for the Advancement of Marine Science / Alaska SeaLife Center · Florida Aquarium · National Association for Interpretation (NAI) ·

Visualizing Change: Training and Tools to Support Informal Educators

Funding: $518,066
Year: 2013
A consortium of Aquarium of the Pacific, National Aquarium in Baltimore, New England Aquarium and Seattle Aquarium will build educator capacity in the aquarium community and informal science education field to more effectively communicate about climate change and its impact on coastal zones and marine life. The project will utilize NOAA datasets and visualizations in providing interpreters with training and strategic framing communication tools based on the best available social and cognitive research.

A consortium of Aquarium of the Pacific, National Aquarium in Baltimore, New England Aquarium and Seattle Aquarium will build educator capacity in the aquarium community and informal science education field to more effectively communicate about climate change and its impact on coastal zones and marine life. The project will utilize NOAA datasets and visualizations in providing interpreters with training and strategic framing communication tools based on the best available social and cognitive research. The objectives of the project are to: (1) develop and test four exemplary interpretive “visual narratives” that integrate research-based strategic communication with NOAA data visualization resources; (2) test the application of the visual narratives in a variety of geographic regions and institution types (aquarium, science center, etc.) using multiple technology platforms; (3) build a professional development program for climate change interpretation with data visualization; and (4) leverage existing networks for dissemination and peer support. Other key partners include the NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory (VisLab), the NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL), the Exploratorium in San Francisco, the Ocean Explorium in southern Massachusetts, and FrameWorks Institute.

Award Number: NA13SEC0080010
Grant Dates: 10/01/2013 to 09/30/2017
PI: William "Billy" Spitzer
State: Massachusetts   County:   Suffolk District: MA08
Partners: Aquarium of the Pacific · Exploratorium · Monterey Bay Aquarium · National Aquarium / National Aquarium In Baltimore (NAIB) · Science Museum of Minnesota · Seattle Aquarium · Buttonwood Park Zoological Society · Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) · NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory · NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) ·

Community Partnership for Resilience

Funding: $481,110
Year: 2017
The New England Aquarium will work with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council to establish Community Partnerships for Resilience (CPR), which will create community partnerships in three Boston-area communities that face severe risk from a changing climate – Chelsea, Hull, and Lynn, Massachusetts. CPR will facilitate ‘Community Teams’ of local professionals with diverse and relevant expertise in climate science, engineering, community planning and community action, and representatives from local schools or school-based educational programs serving youth in grades 4 through 8.

The New England Aquarium will work with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council to establish Community Partnerships for Resilience (CPR), which will create community partnerships in three Boston-area communities that face severe risk from a changing climate – Chelsea, Hull, and Lynn, Massachusetts. CPR will facilitate ‘Community Teams’ of local professionals with diverse and relevant expertise in climate science, engineering, community planning and community action, and representatives from local schools or school-based educational programs serving youth in grades 4 through 8. Each team will identify the most critical, climate-related issues for their area that would benefit from public involvement and understanding. Then they will inform the design of learning activities and youth-focused climate resilience toolkits; serve as resources for teachers and students; and facilitate student-led projects to engage parents, peers, and other community members. Students themselves represent a key constituency – they will be most directly impacted by future changes and they will need civic capacity to foster positive change. Project evaluation will assess student learning and indicators of community engagement to provide both formative feedback and summative assessment of the project impacts.

Award Number: NA17SEC0080001
Grant Dates: 10/01/2017 to 09/30/2020
PI: Rebekah Stendahl
State: Massachusetts   County:   Suffolk District: MA08
Partners: Girls Incorporated of Lynn · Museum of Science Boston · NOAA Climate Program Office (CPO) · Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) · Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) · Harwood Institute · City of Chelsea / Planning & Development Department · Chelsea Public Schools · Hull Public Schools · Town of Hull / Community Development & Planning Department · National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) / Greater Atlantic · Barr Foundation · University of Massachusetts Boston / School for the Environment · City of Lynn / Public Health Division · Lynn Public Schools · GreenRoots · Hull Lifesaving Museum (HLM) · Neighbor to Neighbor (Lynn) ·

HEARTForce: Hazard Education, Awareness & Resilience Taskforce

Funding: $500,000
Year: 2018
Communities in Colorado are increasingly experiencing major disruptions from environmental hazards, such as fire, flood, drought and extreme heat. With this rise in hazardous events, there is a pressing need for communities increase their resilience. An interdisciplinary team from the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) Education & Outreach Program at the University of Colorado at Boulder is developing and implementing an innovative, action-oriented youth engagement project targeting rural Colorado students, teachers and communities.

Communities in Colorado are increasingly experiencing major disruptions from environmental hazards, such as fire, flood, drought and extreme heat. With this rise in hazardous events, there is a pressing need for communities increase their resilience. An interdisciplinary team from the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) Education & Outreach Program at the University of Colorado at Boulder is developing and implementing an innovative, action-oriented youth engagement project targeting rural Colorado students, teachers and communities. Our engagement model empowers youth i) to envision community resilience through immersive scenario-based role play based on a solid understanding of the relevant science, ii) to learn about natural hazards through engaging Colorado-focused lessons, iii) to initiate conversations about hazard preparedness from within communities, and iv) to develop and implement student-led resilience action projects. The project team is developing instructional materials for middle and high school students: four lesson plans focused on different hazards (fire, flood, drought, extreme heat), four complementary scenario-based role-play games with a focus on youth empowerment and a teacher workshop based on these materials. Each school implementation follows a sequence in which the lesson plan activities are conducted, followed by a scenario-based role play game and reflection. Building on their experience with the game, students develop resilience strategies for their community and present those at a community Resilience Expo. The project has the following three objectives: 1) Increase Colorado secondary teachers’ knowledge and confidence to teach about local natural hazards, and to facilitate discussions about community resilience; 2) Increase Colorado youth’s understanding of natural hazards, their community’s vulnerability, and their involvement in resilience planning efforts, and 3) Enhance the capacity and empowerment of young people in Colorado to engage in dialogue with their peers, families, and community stakeholders about community resilience issues and identify, develop, and implement resilience actions. A needs assessment disseminated to Colorado teachers guides the project team in the development of all instructional materials and allows for customizing the content to teacher needs. The project evaluation explores the efficacy of the program model and studies the impact of the project activities on students and teachers. Specifically, the evaluation studies students’ confidence and ability to engage in dialogue around community resilience, level to which students increase their understanding of natural hazards and resilience planning, and the ways in which teachers increase their content knowledge and confidence in teaching about natural hazards. The project fills a critical gap in Colorado’s resilience planning which does not include teachers and youth. The project is guided by partners from the NOAA RISA program Western Water Assessment, seven NOAA science advisors, Science on the Sphere collaborators, and is being implemented together with over 20 community partners, school partners and collaborators from across Colorado. Over the course of the three-year program, the project activities will train and support 140 teachers, engage 400+ students and result in 11 Resilience Expo events across Colorado, from primarily rural communities. The instructional units and the games will be used in classrooms with 600+ students.

Award Number: NA18SEC0080007
Grant Dates: 10/01/2018 to 10/31/2022
PI: Anne Gold (Reuther)
State: Colorado   County:   Boulder District: CO02
Partners: Earth Force · NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) · Natural History Museum of the Adirondacks / The Wild Center · NOAA Climate Program Office (CPO) · NOAA National Weather Service (NWS) Boulder, Colorado Forecast Office · NOAA National Weather Service (NWS) Pueblo, Colorado Forecast Office · NOAA National Ocean Service (NOS) / NOAA Planet Stewards · Foothills United Way · City of Boulder / Office of Emergency Management · University of Massachusetts (UMASS) Lowell / Climate Change Initiative · Wild Rose Education · Roaring Fork School District No. Re-1 / Glenwood Springs Middle School · Montrose County Re-1j School District / Montrose High School · Gunnison Watershed Re1J School District / Gunnison Middle School · Early College of Arvada · St. Vrain Valley Re 1j School District / Westview Middle School · Estes Park R-3 School District / Estes Park High School · Estes Park R-3 School District / Estes Park Middle School · Garfield County / Community Development · Gunnison County / Office of Emergency Management · City of Arvada / Office of the City Manager · City of Longmont / Public Works & Natural Resources · Larimer County / Office of Emergency Management · City of Boulder / Resilient Boulder · Colorado Department of Public Safety · Colorado Department of Natural Resources · Colorado Department of Local Affairs · University of Colorado Boulder / CIRES / Education & Outreach · Mountain Studies Institute · University of Colorado Boulder / CIRES / Western Water Assessment · Adams State University / Luter Bean Museum / Salazar Rio Grande del Norte Center · Northeast Colorado BOCES · Western Colorado University · Republican River Water · Colorado State University / Colorado Water Center (CoWC) · Lower South Platte Water Conservancy District · Grand County Wildfire Council · Upper Colorado River Watershed Group · NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) / Chemical Sciences Laboratory (CSL) · NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) / Physical Sciences Laboratory (PSL) ·