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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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Convening Young Leaders for Climate Resilience in New York State

Funding: $493,868
Year: 2017
The Wild Center’s Convening Young Leaders for Climate Resilience in New York State project increased climate literacy among high school students and teachers in New York City, the Catskills and the Adirondacks and gave students the leadership skills to help their communities respond to the impacts of climate change.

The Wild Center’s Convening Young Leaders for Climate Resilience in New York State project increased climate literacy among high school students and teachers in New York City, the Catskills and the Adirondacks and gave students the leadership skills to help their communities respond to the impacts of climate change. The program worked with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Delaware County, the Kurt Hahn Expeditionary Learning School in Brooklyn, and Action for the Climate Emergency (formerly known as Alliance for Climate Education), along with NOAA, the New York State Office of Climate Change and NYSERDA. In the three project regions of New York State, project partners established Youth Climate Summits and Youth Climate Leadership Practicums as well as built on educators’ interests through Teacher Climate Institutes and communicated climate change science and resilience through community outreach activities. By the conclusion of the project, we had worked directly with 3,126 high school students, 1,124 teachers and 2,333 members of the public, each of whom gained a better understanding of the impacts of climate change in New York State, a greater capacity to make informed decisions about the threats to their own regions, and a stronger connection with other community members and ongoing resiliency work. Convening Young Leaders demonstrated significant leadership in connecting with New York State’s Climate Smart Communities program. Seven small, rural communities across New York State engaged in Climate Smart Communities (CSC) due to youth involvement. This emerged after partners at the NYS Office of Climate Change offered to present on CSC at multiple Youth Climate Summits. Students attended the CSC workshop, incorporated CSC into their climate action plans, contacted their local government, and encouraged them to join the program. Reaching out to municipal officials and presenting at community board meetings were tremendous learning opportunities for students, regardless of whether the municipalities joined the program. In 2020, two particularly engaged communities, Saranac Lake and Homer, received Bronze Certification through the CSC program and were formally recognized for their accomplishments. This unique partnership was documented in our Climate Smart Communities video www.wildcenter.org/climatesmart.

Award Number: NA17SEC0080002
Grant Dates: 10/01/2017 to 12/30/2021
PI: Jen Kretser
State: New York   County:   Franklin District: NY21
Partners: NOAA Climate Program Office (CPO) · Action for the Climate Emergency · Cornell Cooperative Extension of Delaware County · New York City Public Schools / Kurt Hahn Expeditionary Learning School · New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) · New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) / Office of Climate Change (NYSOCC) · NYC Outward Bound Schools · Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) of New York State · Finger Lakes Institute at Hobart and William Smith College · Climate Generation · Wyckoff House Museum ·

Empowering Rural Youth for Community Climate Resilience in New York State

Funding: $449,278
Year: 2020
Empowering Rural Youth for Community Climate Resilience in New York State is a three-year project led by The Wild Center in partnership with the Finger Lakes Institute at Hobart and William Smith College and the Alliance for Climate Education, which builds on the achievements of Convening Young Leaders for Climate Resilience, a project previously funded by NOAA. Today’s youth are deeply concerned about the impacts of climate change in their communities and increasingly demand positive action and a role in decision-making.

Empowering Rural Youth for Community Climate Resilience in New York State is a three-year project led by The Wild Center in partnership with the Finger Lakes Institute at Hobart and William Smith College and the Alliance for Climate Education, which builds on the achievements of Convening Young Leaders for Climate Resilience, a project previously funded by NOAA. Today’s youth are deeply concerned about the impacts of climate change in their communities and increasingly demand positive action and a role in decision-making. The proposed collaboration will support the development of leadership skills for rural youth by creating programming that demonstrates best practices for students and teachers to engage and partner with local municipalities on climate resilience planning. The project will also increase awareness of the NY State Climate Smart Community (CSC) program, a national model. Over the next 3 years the project will: 1) Develop pathways for young people--specifically in rural areas--to effectively partner with decision-makers in their home communities through partnering with the NY State Climate Smart Community (CSC) program; 2) Increase climate literacy, education and action among high school students through place-based Youth Climate Summits and intensive Youth Climate Leadership Retreats; 3) Increase teacher comprehension and confidence to prioritize climate change education instruction and mentor students; and 4) Formalize the NY State Youth Climate Summit network by establishing a community of practice centered on sharing best practices and actions that align with NY State climate change adaptation and resilience planning. This project aligns with NY State’s climate resiliency planning by building on successful and current partnerships with the NY State Office of Climate Change, NY State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and NOAA’s Climate Program Office to connect project participants with cutting edge science, hazard assessments, and established community climate resilience programs. The project will serve 700-800 high school students, 60-80 high school teachers, and 60 youth leaders in New York State. The project is also designed to reach a much wider audience, including 30 rural decision-makers and community members, as well as 50-60 formal/informal educators. Project documentation includes a Guide to the NY State Climate Smart Community Program for Students and Educators, and a Youth and Local Government for Climate Resilience Workshop Module, which will benefit other Youth Climate Summits and be disseminated through the online toolkit and through the national network of youth climate summits. Additionally, the project will support a community of practice for informal and formal educators across NY State who are working on new and existing Youth Climate Summits to provide the opportunity to align with the CSC program, collaborate on best practices, and co-create strategies for engagement.

Award Number: NA20SEC0080004
Grant Dates: 12/31/2020 to 12/30/2023
PI: Jen Kretser
State: New York   County:   Franklin District: NY21
Partners: NOAA Climate Program Office (CPO) · National Wildlife Federation (NWF) / Northeast Regional Center · Action for the Climate Emergency · New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) · New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) / Office of Climate Change (NYSOCC) · Finger Lakes Institute at Hobart and William Smith College · Ecology & Environment, Inc. · WSP New York · Adirondack Watershed Institute · North Country School · State University of New York (SUNY) / Environmental Science and Forestry / Center for Native Peoples ·

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: NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory · NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) · 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) ·

Community Partnership for Resilience

Funding: $481,110
Year: 2017
The New England Aquarium worked with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council to establish Community Partnerships for Resilience (CPR) starting in 2017. CPR created partnerships in three Boston-area communities that face severe risk from a changing climate – Chelsea, Hull, and Lynn, MA. Project leads worked with local professionals with diverse and relevant expertise in climate science, engineering, community planning and community action, as well as representatives from local schools or school-based educational programs serving youth in Grades 4 through 8.

The New England Aquarium worked with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council to establish Community Partnerships for Resilience (CPR) starting in 2017. CPR created partnerships in three Boston-area communities that face severe risk from a changing climate – Chelsea, Hull, and Lynn, MA. Project leads worked with local professionals with diverse and relevant expertise in climate science, engineering, community planning and community action, as well as representatives from local schools or school-based educational programs serving youth in Grades 4 through 8. Partners determined the most critical, climate-related hazards for their area that would benefit from public involvement and understanding. With a focus on extreme heat, inland flooding and storm surge, project leads, and educators developed a curriculum framework. The framework was used as a guide for the creation of a unit that had students explore the identified hazards and create a Public Education Project (PEP) to communicate with community stakeholders to drive both understanding and action. Through a series of collaborative working Summer Institutes, project partners led teachers on an exploration of the framework materials, relevant science content, and a crash course on Project Based Learning techniques. Implementation of the unit in the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 school years led to further refinement of the curriculum framework, insight on the need for further teacher supports, and improved relationships and connections with municipal and community contacts. The resulting curriculum framework was finalized alongside partner teachers in the spring and summer of 2020 and can be adapted to different climate resilience topics and PEPs, as driven by student interest. 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. Teacher resources also include a rubric to evaluate PEP plans to meet project objectives, resources on trauma-informed teachers from colleagues at Riverside Trauma Center (Needham, MA), instructional and motivation videos from educator partners on key unit phases, and a beta version of a mapping portal developed with partners at Metropolitan Area Planning Council using layered data across a variety of sources. As a result of this project, participating educators showed an increase in knowledge and awareness about climate change on a broad level, as well as local impacts in their specific Massachusetts region. CPR participation also made educators more comfortable collaborating with other educators and inviting outside expert voices for lessons. By working collaboratively, participating teachers felt they were able to better support their students to impact their communities in a positive way. CPR provided the opportunity to have students work together to communicate with the public using PEPs, allowing students and community members to collaborate in “a common effort to increase climate resilience.” As a result of this, CPR was able to expand the group of change agents who could tackle critical environmental challenges and strengthen their communities.

Award Number: NA17SEC0080001
Grant Dates: 10/01/2017 to 09/30/2020
PI: Rebekah Stendahl
State: Massachusetts   County:   Suffolk District: MA08
Partners: NOAA Climate Program Office (CPO) · Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) · National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) / Greater Atlantic · Girls Incorporated of Lynn · Museum of Science Boston · 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 · 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) ·