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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Aquarium-wide Climate Change and the Ocean Initiative: Public Engagement from Awareness to Action

Monterey Bay Aquarium offsite link · Monterey, California
Funding: $915,885
Year: 2009
As part of its on-going commitment to engage, inform, and inspire visitors around issues of critical importance to ocean conservation, the Monterey Bay Aquarium opened the nation's first live aquatic animal exhibition on climate change and the ocean. This award supports a comprehensive and integrated suite of associated informal educational activities, designed to extend the exhibit experience and allow visitors to explore this critically important topic in more depth during their visit and after leaving the Aquarium.

As part of its on-going commitment to engage, inform, and inspire visitors around issues of critical importance to ocean conservation, the Monterey Bay Aquarium opened the nation's first live aquatic animal exhibition on climate change and the ocean. This award supports a comprehensive and integrated suite of associated informal educational activities, designed to extend the exhibit experience and allow visitors to explore this critically important topic in more depth during their visit and after leaving the Aquarium. These activities include: community engagement events, virtual reality auditorium programs using Google Earth, musical theater presentations, and exhibit interactives that allow audiences to discuss solutions to ocean issues. Over the course of three years, this initiative will reach more than 4.5 million people and: 1) raise public awareness about the connection between climate change and ocean health; 2) demonstrate that public actions do have an impact on climate change (and therefore ocean health); and 3) encourage meaningful action to address climate change.

Award Number: NA09SEC4690040
Grant Dates: 10/01/2009 to 09/30/2013
PI: Cynthia Vernon
State: California   County:   Monterey District: CA20
Partners:

A National Coalition of Aquariums Educating About Climate Change

Monterey Bay Aquarium offsite link · Monterey, California
Funding: $505,679
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: NA09SEC4690045
Grant Dates: 10/01/2009 to 03/31/2013
PI: Cynthia Vernon
State: California   County:   Monterey District: CA20
Partners: North Carolina Aquarium Society / North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island · California Academy of Sciences · National Aquarium / National Aquarium In Baltimore (NAIB) · New England Aquarium Corporation / New England Aquarium (NEAq) · Seward Association for the Advancement of Marine Science / Alaska SeaLife Center · Florida Aquarium · National Association for Interpretation (NAI) ·

Teen Conservation Leadership

Monterey Bay Aquarium offsite link · Monterey, California
Funding: $453,622
Year: 2010
Teen Conservation Leadership is a major integration and expansion of the Monterey Bay Aquarium's existing teen education programs (Student Oceanography Club, Young Women in Science and Student Guides).

Teen Conservation Leadership is a major integration and expansion of the Monterey Bay Aquarium's existing teen education programs (Student Oceanography Club, Young Women in Science and Student Guides). The project is growing and enhancing these programs through the following activities: Service Learning and Leadership Activities – including: 1) Guest Service Track: professional development and training as interpreters 2) Camp and Club Track: serving as a mentor for other participants 3) Program Track: assisting in the delivery of programs - Conservation and Science Activities, including participating in and leading projects with local organizations, and participating in technologically facilitated outdoor learning experiences – Teen Network and Technology Activities, including onsite networking and information sharing through Web 2.0 technology The project will reach 930 teens. Each teen will provide 200 service-learning hours per year. The sequential nature of this project will encourage many teens to participate for multiple years.

Award Number: NA10SEC0080022
Grant Dates: 10/01/2010 to 09/30/2013
PI: Rita Bell
State: California   County:   Monterey District: CA20
Partners: Fresno Chaffee Zoo · Save the Whales · Wild Farm Alliance ·

Building Ocean Awareness Together (BOAT)

Monterey Bay Aquarium offsite link · Monterey, California
Funding: $390,249
Year: 2012
A consortium of Alaska SeaLife Center, Florida Aquarium and Monterey Bay Aquarium with their partner National Association for Interpretation will increase the effectiveness of informal science educators (ISE) to promote public understanding of three complex topics that impact the ocean (oil spills, ocean acidification, and energy literacy) and encourage stewardship of ocean and coastal resources. This project will have a direct impact on 252 interpreters in and around Alaska, California, and Florida through 12 weeklong trainings.

A consortium of Alaska SeaLife Center, Florida Aquarium and Monterey Bay Aquarium with their partner National Association for Interpretation will increase the effectiveness of informal science educators (ISE) to promote public understanding of three complex topics that impact the ocean (oil spills, ocean acidification, and energy literacy) and encourage stewardship of ocean and coastal resources. This project will have a direct impact on 252 interpreters in and around Alaska, California, and Florida through 12 weeklong trainings. Groups of interpreters will develop, assemble and produce online training toolkits, all of which will be widely disseminated to the ISE community. Each toolkit will utilize NOAA multimedia content, data visualization products, expertise and other relevant resources. Project participants – who interact with a diverse mix of local, regional, national and international visitors (including underserved local populations) – will provide enhanced training content for their colleagues through professional trainings, presentations, and online networks.

Award Number: NA12SEC0080025
Grant Dates: 10/01/2012 to 03/31/2015
PI: Cynthia Vernon
State: California   County:   Monterey District: CA20
Partners: Aquarium of the Pacific · California Academy of Sciences · New England Aquarium Corporation / New England Aquarium (NEAq) · Seward Association for the Advancement of Marine Science / Alaska SeaLife Center · Florida Aquarium · California State University at Monterey Bay · Association of Zoos and Aquariums · Fresno Chaffee Zoo · National Association for Interpretation (NAI) · U.S. National Park Service · Aquarium of the Bay · University of Alaska (UA-Fairbanks) · NOAA Office for Coastal Management (OCM) / Pacific Islands · NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) · NOAA Climate Program Office (CPO) · National Marine Sanctuary (NMS) / Channel Islands · NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries · Woodland Park Zoo · National Marine Sanctuary (NMS) / Florida Keys · NOAA Habitat Conservation · Prince William Sound Science Center (PWSSC) · NOAA Research Lab / Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory · Oil Spill Recovery Institute (OSRI) · Seymour Marine Discovery Center · Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium · U.S. National Wildlife Refuge / Don Edwards San Francisco Bay · Brookfield Zoo · California State Parks / Point Lobos State Natural Reserve · U.S. National Parks / Golden Gate · Central Coast Aquarium · National Marine Sanctuary (NMS) / Monterey Bay · National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) Elkhorn Slough · Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History · Monterey Bay Whale Watch (MB-WW) · Coyote Hills Regional Park · Cook Inlet Regional Citizens Advisory Council ·

Families by the Seaside: Building Community-based Outdoor Ocean Science Learning Experiences

Seacoast Science Center offsite link · Rye, New Hampshire
Funding: $489,574
Year: 2010
This 2-year program will advance the way informal ocean science education institutions reach underserved/underrepresented families by facilitating and formalizing relationships between informal science education centers and community based organizations. Project teams in five New England communities will collaborate to create a practicable, outdoor ocean-science learning experience specifically designed for families in their shared service area.

This 2-year program will advance the way informal ocean science education institutions reach underserved/underrepresented families by facilitating and formalizing relationships between informal science education centers and community based organizations. Project teams in five New England communities will collaborate to create a practicable, outdoor ocean-science learning experience specifically designed for families in their shared service area. Building on a needs assessment produced through target-audience focus groups, the program will combine coastal field experiences with web-based interactive and participatory learning activities developed and tested by the Encyclopedia of Life (EOL; www.eol.org/) and the Northeast Regional Association for Coastal and Ocean Observing Systems (NERACOOS) to support in-field and ongoing learning. Science content will be informed and vetted by NOAA research scientists and work between the science centers and community organizations will be professionally facilitated. Formats and effectiveness will be evaluated by external evaluators and revised throughout the project.

Award Number: NA10SEC0080026
Grant Dates: 11/01/2010 to 09/30/2014
PI: Wendy Lull
State: New Hampshire   County:   Rockingham District: NH01
Partners: New England Aquarium Corporation / New England Aquarium (NEAq) · Sea Research Foundation / Mystic Aquarium · BOAT CAMP, Inc. · Girls Incorporated of Lynn · JumpStart Youth Connection · U.S. Navy / Naval Submarine Base / New London · Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal Ocean Observing Systems (NERACOOS) · Portsmouth Housing Authority · Center for Teen Empowerment · Harvard University / Encyclopedia of Life · Northeastern University (NU) / Marine Science Center (MSC) ·

Bringing Knowledge of Planet Earth to a Wider Audience and Bringing a Diverse New Group to Careers in Science Teaching

Funding: $99,966
Year: 2006
Science On a Sphere (SOS) at Fiske Planetarium will raise awareness and understanding of Earth system science for over 30,000 visitors per year, using student docents and newly-developed, tested pedagogy. SOS will enhance Fiske’s ability to engage 3,000 university students and 30,000 K-12 students and members of the public. A student docent program will transform the traditionally passive experience of a planetarium visit into an interactive learning opportunity.

Science On a Sphere (SOS) at Fiske Planetarium will raise awareness and understanding of Earth system science for over 30,000 visitors per year, using student docents and newly-developed, tested pedagogy. SOS will enhance Fiske’s ability to engage 3,000 university students and 30,000 K-12 students and members of the public. A student docent program will transform the traditionally passive experience of a planetarium visit into an interactive learning opportunity. The docents will be drawn from two sources: undergraduates who will be future science teachers, who we take from a selective CU program called "STEM-TP", and Hispanic university and high school students taught by Fiske's planetarium manager Francisco Salas. Docents will talk with visitors and help them understand key science issues that affect the earth, leading to more informed decision-making. Fiske will develop bilingual pedagogical material and new data sets, and share them with NOAA and SOS sites. To support the docents, and visiting students and teachers, Fiske Education Manager Traub-Metlay will lead development of explanatory materials that challenge visitors and provide context for what they are seeing. These will be translated into Spanish by Fiske Manager Salas. New data sets, contributed by faculty members, will expand the range of SOS, into space, adding solar interior models, the celestial sphere, and the cosmic background radiation from the Big Bang, along with new terrestrial data such as the worldwide distribution of forest fires. SOS will become a focal point in Fiske's longstanding tradition of teacher workshops, which are often done in cooperation with the University of Colorado and NOAA scientists and highlight NOAA’s role monitoring the earth and sun. It also will be integrated with a small suite of hands-on exhibits we are installing that explains how observations can be made in infrared, ultraviolet, and X-rays in addition to visible light. These would complement SOS, which features multi-wavelength data. Fiske and its Boulder Colorado-area partners have raised $75,000 to cover the full cost of SOS hardware, and have formal institutional commitments to long-term program development. This award from NOAA will go into materials development, evaluation, and student pay. Colorado communities are aware of NOAA’s important work and the nearby David Skaggs Center, but security measures make it difficult to visit there. Fiske is much more accessible. Fiske will improve the usefulness of all SOS sites by conducting formative evaluation to assess what kinds of SOS presentations work best with public and school audiences, giving feedback to NOAA and all SOS users.

Award Number: NA06SEC4690012
Grant Dates: 10/01/2006 to 09/30/2007
PI: Douglas Duncan
State: Colorado   County:   Boulder District: CO02
Partners: Nature Conservancy Headquarters · University of Colorado Boulder / Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) ·

Science on a Sphere - Upgrade 2009

Funding: $75,790
Year: 2009
This project works to: (1) Continue to develop software that allows a docent to easily control Science on a Sphere from a small touchpad computer while interacting with visitors. (2) Continue to develop software that allows easy "drag and drop" construction of playlists. (3) Put kiosk control of the sphere, already developed as a student project, into a real kiosk. (4) Assess the use of wireless response devices or "clickers" to enhance audience interaction, learning, and enjoyment, and gather information from visitor responses and share all these improvements with the network.

This project works to: (1) Continue to develop software that allows a docent to easily control Science on a Sphere from a small touchpad computer while interacting with visitors. (2) Continue to develop software that allows easy "drag and drop" construction of playlists. (3) Put kiosk control of the sphere, already developed as a student project, into a real kiosk. (4) Assess the use of wireless response devices or "clickers" to enhance audience interaction, learning, and enjoyment, and gather information from visitor responses and share all these improvements with the network. (5) Improve the resolution of the 4 projectors of our SOS installation, in anticipation of new data on the moon and Mars coming to our university, which has been selected to lead NASA moon and Mars missions, and add flat screen TVs for the presentation of auxiliary data.

Award Number: NA09SEC4810032
Grant Dates: 08/01/2009 to 07/31/2010
PI: Douglas Duncan
State: Colorado   County:   Boulder District: CO02
Partners: University of Colorado Boulder / Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) ·