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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Great Lakes Rocks: Earth Systems Science Teacher Professional Development

Funding: $426,580
Year: 2012
The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (MSI) offers teacher professional development courses geared toward 4-8th grade teachers in high needs schools and with limited experience in science content. Through the Great Lakes Revealed (GLR) education course, teachers explored the interconnectedness of the Earth’s systems through the unique lens of the Great Lakes region, and learned how climate has changed through time.

The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (MSI) offers teacher professional development courses geared toward 4-8th grade teachers in high needs schools and with limited experience in science content. Through the Great Lakes Revealed (GLR) education course, teachers explored the interconnectedness of the Earth’s systems through the unique lens of the Great Lakes region, and learned how climate has changed through time. Through hands-on and inquiry-based activities, MSI Senior Educators guided teacher through lessons and other resources, modeling content and pedagogy best practices, and encouraging knowledge building through a combination of experience, critical thinking and reflection. Participants also interacted with NOAA’s Science on a Sphere, with educators at Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, and with scientists from Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory. Formal evaluation shows that GLR teachers complete the program with substantially improved content knowledge, teaching skills, and confidence in science teaching, many becoming teacher leaders at their schools. The second stage of the GLR program involves a select group of teachers from the first year’s cohort who will deepen their understanding of climate change in the Great Lakes region by engaging in data-driven problem-based activities. Building on teachers’ content knowledge, this program will help teachers develop mechanisms to search, access, and use high quality tabular, graphical, and visual data to support effective climate change education. NOAA’s Science on a Sphere datasets will play a central role as teachers explore and then develop their own problem-based lessons to deliver to their own students during a Student Summit at MSI.

Award Number: NA12SEC0080015
Grant Dates: 08/01/2012 to 07/31/2015
PI: Nicole Kowrach
State: Illinois   County:   Cook District: IL02
Partners: Chicago Public Schools (CPS) · Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) · University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee · NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL) · NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries · National Marine Sanctuary (NMS) / Thunder Bay ·

Teen Advocates for Community and Environmental Sustainability (Teen ACES)

Funding: $498,471
Year: 2016
The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (MSI) developed museum-based education resources to engage high school-age youth in the exploration of climate literacy and Earth systems science through its Teen ACES (Teen Advocates for Community and Environmental Sustainability) project. As the future leaders who will make decisions about the issues they face in their communities, youth participants were positioned to act as advocates for establishing resilient communities in the Midwest.

The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (MSI) developed museum-based education resources to engage high school-age youth in the exploration of climate literacy and Earth systems science through its Teen ACES (Teen Advocates for Community and Environmental Sustainability) project. As the future leaders who will make decisions about the issues they face in their communities, youth participants were positioned to act as advocates for establishing resilient communities in the Midwest. The project utilized a variety of resources, including NOAA Science On a Sphere® (SOS) technology and datasets, Great Lakes and local climate assets from the Midwest Regional Climate Center and Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, and existing local planning guides to develop museum-based youth programming. Teens explored environmental hazards including severe weather events and temperature extremes and considered the impact of the Great Lakes on regional climate. The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, Resilient Chicago, the Institute of Environmental Sustainability at Loyola University Chicago, and the South Metropolitan Higher Education Consortium advised on the project to support the integration of municipal resiliency plans and their related adaptation and mitigation measures into the program. After completing a 30-hour course with MSI, teen participants had the opportunity to facilitate SOS® experiences for museum guests. Teens also shared their learning with the Chicago community through programs at Chicago Public Library branches and Chicago Park District sites. The project revised content for use in 102 after-school science clubs for students from diverse communities across the Chicago area. Educational resources and experiences created through this grant reached nearly 150,000 students, educators and guests over four years.

Award Number: NA16SEC0080001
Grant Dates: 10/01/2016 to 09/30/2020
PI: Marvin McClure
State: Illinois   County:   Cook District: IL02
Partners: Boonshoft Museum of Discovery · Science Central · National Sea Grant College Program / University of Illinois · Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) · Chicago Public Library (CPL) · Chicago Access Network Television (CAN TV) · Hawthorn Hollow Nature Sanctuary & Arboretum · Loyola University · Moraine Valley Community College · NOAA Regional Climate Center / Midwestern Regional Climate Center · City of Chicago · City of Chicago / Chicago Park District · Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago ·

HEARTForce: Resilient Colorado

Funding: $340,239
Year: 2022

Communities in Colorado are increasingly experiencing major disruptions from environmental hazards, such as fire, flood, and drought. Low-income housing neighborhoods and vulnerable community members in under-resourced rural areas are often disproportionately impacted by these hazards. With the rise in hazardous events across the state under a changing climate, there is a pressing need for communities to become more resilient through better preparation and planning.

Communities in Colorado are increasingly experiencing major disruptions from environmental hazards, such as fire, flood, and drought. Low-income housing neighborhoods and vulnerable community members in under-resourced rural areas are often disproportionately impacted by these hazards. With the rise in hazardous events across the state under a changing climate, there is a pressing need for communities to become more resilient through better preparation and planning. The Hazard Education, Awareness and Resilience Task Force (HEART Force) program, located within the NOAA Cooperative Institute for Earth System Research and Data Science (CIESRDS) at CU Boulder, empowers rural secondary students and teachers to act as the change agents to build community resilience against natural hazards. With continued funding, we will continue to support teachers statewide to implement HEART Force curriculum, a place-based curriculum that uses authentic data sources, scenario-based role-play games and the Earth Force process to inspire civic action. We will also be supporting four classrooms across Colorado to go deeper with the curriculum through a quarter or semester-long elective course, by selecting a vulnerable neighborhood to partner with and planning action steps together with more support from CIRES staff, community partners, and local emergency managers.

Award Number: NA22SEC0080002
Grant Dates: 10/01/2022 to 09/30/2025
PI: Anne Gold (Reuther)
State: Colorado   County:   Boulder District: CO02
Partners: Earth Force · NOAA Climate Program Office (CPO) · Gunnison County / Office of Emergency Management · University of Colorado Boulder / CIRES / Education & Outreach · University of Colorado Boulder / CIRES / Western Water Assessment · Western Colorado University · Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition · The Health Partnership serving Northwest Colorado · University of Colorado Boulder / Natural Hazards Center · Williford, LLC. · La Plata County / Office of Emergency Management · Las Animas County / Office of Emergency Management · Moffat County / Office of Emergency Management · NOAA National Weather Service (NWS) Pueblo, Colorado Forecast Office · University of Nebraska-Lincoln / High Plains Regional Climate Center (HPRCC) ·

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) ·

Recharge the Rain: Community Resilience through STEM Education

Funding: $498,575
Year: 2016
Recharge the Rain moves sixth through twelfth grade teachers, students and the public through a continuum from awareness, to knowledge gain, to conceptual understanding, to action; building community resiliency to hazards associated with increased temperatures, drought and flooding in Arizona. Watershed Management Group with Arizona Project WET will utilize NOAA assets and experts from the National Weather Service and Climate Assessment for the Southwest (CLIMAS) to inform citizens and galvanize their commitment to building a community, resilient to the effects of a warming climate.

Recharge the Rain moves sixth through twelfth grade teachers, students and the public through a continuum from awareness, to knowledge gain, to conceptual understanding, to action; building community resiliency to hazards associated with increased temperatures, drought and flooding in Arizona. Watershed Management Group with Arizona Project WET will utilize NOAA assets and experts from the National Weather Service and Climate Assessment for the Southwest (CLIMAS) to inform citizens and galvanize their commitment to building a community, resilient to the effects of a warming climate. Project activities will be informed by Pima County’s hazard mitigation plan and planning tools related to preparing for and responding to flooding and extreme heat. Starting January 2017, this four-year project will 1) develop curriculum with Tucson-area teachers that incorporates systems-thinking and increases understanding of earth systems, weather and climate, and the engineering design of rainwater harvesting systems 2) immerse students in a curricular unit that results in the implementation of 8 teacher/student-led schoolyard water harvesting projects, 3) train community docents in water harvesting practices and citizen-science data collection, 4) involve Tucson community members in water harvesting principles through project implementation workshops, special events, and tours, and 5) expand program to incorporate curriculum use in Phoenix-area teachers’ classrooms and 6) finalize a replicable model for other communities facing similar threats. Environmental and community resiliency depends upon an informed society to make the best social, economic, and environmental decisions. This idea is not only at the core of NOAA’s mission, but is echoed in the programs provided by Watershed Management Group and Arizona Project WET.

Award Number: NA16SEC0080003
Grant Dates: 12/31/2016 to 06/30/2021
PI: Catlow Shipek
State: Arizona   County:   Pima District: AZ02
Partners: Arizona State University (ASU) / Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes · University of Arizona / Water Resources Research Center (WRRC) · NOAA National Weather Service (NWS) Tucson, AZ Weather Forecast Office · University of Arizona / waterWRLD · University of Arizona / College of Agriculture & Life Sciences / Arizona Project WET · University of Arizona / Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science · NOAA National Ocean Service (NOS) / NOAA Planet Stewards · University of Arizona / Climate Assessment for the Southwest (CLIMAS) · City of Tucson / Tucson Water Department · Sunnyside Unified School District / STAR Academic High School · CITY Center for Collaborative Learning / City High School · Catalina Foothills Unified District / Esperero Canyon Middle School · Santa Cruz Catholic School · Tucson Unified School District / Drachman Montessori K-8 Magnet School · University of Arizona / Community & School Garden Program ·