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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Ocean Interpretive Stations: A Pilot Program for Coastal America Coastal Ecosystem Learning Centers

Funding: $443,671
Year: 2007
This project creates a pilot program to deliver ocean literacy learning opportunities to 7 million people across the country through installation of dynamic Ocean Interpretive Stations at five Coastal America Coastal Ecosystem Learning Centers: the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, CA; the J.L.Scott Marine Education Center in Ocean Springs, MS; the John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, IL; the National Aquarium in Baltimore, MD; and the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium in Dubuque, IA.

This project creates a pilot program to deliver ocean literacy learning opportunities to 7 million people across the country through installation of dynamic Ocean Interpretive Stations at five Coastal America Coastal Ecosystem Learning Centers: the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, CA; the J.L.Scott Marine Education Center in Ocean Springs, MS; the John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, IL; the National Aquarium in Baltimore, MD; and the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium in Dubuque, IA. These Interpretive Stations present vital messages of ocean literacy to the broad public using and expanding on a proven product in a free choice learning environment in four key sites across the country. The pilot kiosks provide the regional stories of Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic, the Great Lakes, the Mississippi River watershed and the Gulf of Mexico, and the Pacific. The Ocean Interpretive Stations enhance ocean literacy among museum goers through multimedia offerings, providing current, newsworthy and foundational ocean topics to encourage visitor learning. The project has the potential to be disseminated to 18 other Coastal Ecosystem Learning Centers throughout the United States, with the possibility of reaching over 25 million visitors. The project outcomes are: Increased awareness of ocean issues on the part of visitors; increased knowledge of regional ocean issues; increased capacity of sites to provide additional resources to teachers in the four regions; and encouragement of additional partnerships in the future.

Award Number: NA07SEC4690005
Grant Dates: 10/01/2007 to 09/30/2011
PI: Jerry Enzler
State: Iowa   County:   Dubuque District: IA01
Partners: Aquarium of the Pacific · John G. Shedd Aquarium / Shedd Aquarium · National Association for Interpretation (NAI) ·

Building Environmental Literacy: How the Ocean Community Can Connect More Effectively With the American Public

Ocean Foundation / The Ocean Project offsite link · Washington, District of Columbia
Funding: $375,100
Year: 2007
In 1999, The Ocean Project completed a comprehensive opinion research on public attitudes, perceptions, and knowledge of the ocean ever conducted. The research identified a broad vacuum in public understanding of the ocean; a fundamental issue of ocean literacy. To further increase effectiveness in building ocean literacy, this project updates and expands The Ocean Project's research to create a more highly detailed database of public awareness, knowledge, and attitudes about the ocean and the impact of climate change on the ocean.

In 1999, The Ocean Project completed a comprehensive opinion research on public attitudes, perceptions, and knowledge of the ocean ever conducted. The research identified a broad vacuum in public understanding of the ocean; a fundamental issue of ocean literacy. To further increase effectiveness in building ocean literacy, this project updates and expands The Ocean Project's research to create a more highly detailed database of public awareness, knowledge, and attitudes about the ocean and the impact of climate change on the ocean. It develops recommendations to enable free-choice learning educators to improve the ocean and climate literacy of their visitors. The study includes a comprehensive review of existing literature, qualitative and quantitative research, analysis of the data, and publication and broad dissemination, including recommendations for programs and content that build ocean and climate literacy. The work done by The Ocean Project is helping the ocean education community better understand the motivations, psychology, and emotions behind segments of the public's attitudes toward the ocean. These data are essential as the institutions, agencies and organizations of the ocean community work together and independently to engage people, inform decision-makers, and enhance ocean and climate literacy throughout the Nation.

Award Number: NA07SEC4690007
Grant Dates: 10/01/2007 to 09/30/2010
PI: William Mott
State: District of Columbia   County:   District of Columbia District: DC00
Partners: California Academy of Sciences · Monterey Bay Aquarium · National Aquarium / National Aquarium In Baltimore (NAIB) · Tennessee Aquarium · Texas State Aquarium · John Ball Zoological Garden · Antioch University New England · NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries · NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research · NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program ·

Here to the Ocean, a nationally traveling museum exhibition

Sciencenter offsite link · Ithaca, New York
Funding: $750,000
Year: 2008
The Sciencenter seeks to develop a 1,500-square-foot traveling exhibition, called "Here to the Ocean," on how activity in inland watersheds affects the health of the ocean, and therefore the planet. The unifying theme of the exhibition is "What we do here, has an impact there," and the key take-home message for museum visitors is that ocean water quality is not just a coastal issue.

The Sciencenter seeks to develop a 1,500-square-foot traveling exhibition, called "Here to the Ocean," on how activity in inland watersheds affects the health of the ocean, and therefore the planet. The unifying theme of the exhibition is "What we do here, has an impact there," and the key take-home message for museum visitors is that ocean water quality is not just a coastal issue. This exhibition will travel to museums throughout the United States, reaching an estimated 200,000+ visitors annually for at least seven years, resulting in an estimated total impact of 1.5 million visitors in at least 20 U.S. cities. The core audience of this exhibition will be families with children ages 6-12, and children visiting museums in school groups. "Here to the Ocean" will feature interactive open-ended exhibits that bring watershed science to life, including an immersive experience allowing visitors to conduct their own virtual underwater tours of watersheds by stepping inside and operating a submersible research vehicle on an expedition from a backyard creek all the way to the ocean. This and other exhibits will feature stunning high-definition video footage depicting fauna from various water ecosystems, as well as human activities that affect watershed health. Additional hands-on exhibits will help visitors to understand how watersheds are connected to the ocean, basic concepts in hydrology, the impact of pollution, and what science offers in the way of solutions to watershed problems. Exhibits will be designed to inspire visitors to adopt behaviors that protect their local watersheds. Visitors experiencing this exhibition will: 1) leave with an increased understanding of watershed science that will help them make informed, data-driven decisions on issues relating to watersheds; 2) have an increased awareness of the importance of watershed health and positive attitudes about the need to protect local watersheds; 3) have an increased understanding of the value of science in solving environmental problems and will be inspired to stay involved in science through school and/or career; and 4) feel an increased sense of personal watershed stewardship which they will share with others.

Award Number: NA08SEC4690025
Grant Dates: 06/01/2008 to 09/30/2012
PI: Charles Trautmann
State: New York   County:   Tompkins District: NY23
Partners: Cornell University / Cornell Lab of Ornithology ·

Applying Social Research to Build Environmental Literacy and Public Engagement in Protecting Ocean Resources

Ocean Foundation / The Ocean Project offsite link · Washington, District of Columbia
Funding: $1,117,002
Year: 2010
This project will expand and enhance an initiative that offers zoos, aquariums, and science museums the market research they need to engage and motivate the public on issues related to the ocean and climate change. The three-year project will measure changes in public awareness and action on ocean and climate-related issues.

This project will expand and enhance an initiative that offers zoos, aquariums, and science museums the market research they need to engage and motivate the public on issues related to the ocean and climate change. The three-year project will measure changes in public awareness and action on ocean and climate-related issues. It will integrate these research findings into recommendations offered to staff working at zoos, aquariums, and science museums as well as to the ocean conservation community and provide professional development for staff members at these institutions in order to support and shape public outreach efforts that connect climate change, the ocean and individual actions, especially among our nation's youth.

Competition: 2010: NOAA Broad Agency Announcement for FY 2010 - 2011
Award Number: NA10SEC0080029
Grant Dates: 10/01/2010 to 09/30/2013
PI: William Mott
State: District of Columbia   County:   District of Columbia District: DC00
Partners: Aquarium of the Pacific · North Carolina Aquarium Society / North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher · California Academy of Sciences · Exploratorium · Monterey Bay Aquarium · National Aquarium / National Aquarium In Baltimore (NAIB) · New England Aquarium Corporation / New England Aquarium (NEAq) · Science Museum of Minnesota · Sea Research Foundation / Mystic Aquarium · Seattle Aquarium · John G. Shedd Aquarium / Shedd Aquarium · Tennessee Aquarium · Florida Aquarium · Pacific Science Center · Association of Zoos and Aquariums · Detroit Zoological Society · Fresno Chaffee Zoo · Gladys Porter Zoo · Texas State Aquarium · Aquarium of the Bay · Lincoln Park Zoo · Oregon Coast Aquarium · Virginia Aquarium · Utah's Hogle Zoo · Philadelphia Zoo · Woodland Park Zoo · Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum · Georgia Aquarium · New York Aquarium · Cabrillo Marine Aquarium · Disney’s Animal Kingdom · San Antonio Zoological Society · YouthMuse · Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) · Brevard Zoo · Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium · Chicago Botanic Garden ·

Summer Research Program for Science Teachers

Funding: $87,971
Year: 2010
This project that will increase the knowledge and research skills of middle and high school earth science and environmental science teachers. By doing so, these teachers will be better able to elevate their students' overall interest and literacy in science, improve their understanding of ecosystem and sustainable development principles, and improve their stewardship of ecosystems. The teachers will learn how the tools, techniques, and information services are used by NOAA and its partners to improve ecosystem-based management.

This project that will increase the knowledge and research skills of middle and high school earth science and environmental science teachers. By doing so, these teachers will be better able to elevate their students' overall interest and literacy in science, improve their understanding of ecosystem and sustainable development principles, and improve their stewardship of ecosystems. The teachers will learn how the tools, techniques, and information services are used by NOAA and its partners to improve ecosystem-based management. This will enable students to appreciate better the dynamism and excitement of these disciplines. This program targets schools with under-served minority populations.

Competition: 2010: NOAA Broad Agency Announcement for FY 2010 - 2011
Award Number: NA10SEC0080034
Grant Dates: 10/01/2010 to 09/30/2012
PI: Samuel Silverstein
State: New York   County:   New York District: NY13
Partners: Columbia University / Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory / Earth Institute ·

Secondary Analyses of the National Environmental Literacy Assessment: Phase I & II Students, Teachers, Programs and School Survey

Funding: $151,699
Year: 2012
Phase Three of the National Environmental Literacy Assessment (NELA) will analyze the relationship between middle school students' scores on the MSELS and other measured variables that may have critically impacted the development of environmental literacy in these students. Phases One and Two of the National Environmental Literacy Assessment (NELA) relied on four data collection instruments: The Middle School Environmental Literacy Survey (MSELS), the School Information Form, the Program Information Form, and the Teacher Information Form.

Phase Three of the National Environmental Literacy Assessment (NELA) will analyze the relationship between middle school students' scores on the MSELS and other measured variables that may have critically impacted the development of environmental literacy in these students. Phases One and Two of the National Environmental Literacy Assessment (NELA) relied on four data collection instruments: The Middle School Environmental Literacy Survey (MSELS), the School Information Form, the Program Information Form, and the Teacher Information Form. The primary outcomes of these phases were to identify general levels of environmental literacy (measured by the MSELS) and to compare these levels both within and across the studies. Through the comparison of these data sets, we could identify schools in which grade level cohorts of students displayed markedly higher levels of environmental literacy variables than their peer cohorts at other schools. However, questions remain concerning the magnitude and influence of variables that were reported on those survey forms, as well as the relationships among variables measured by the MSELS scales. The major research questions that will guide this Phase are: 1) To what extent do the variables measured by these Forms during Phase One and Two appear to have contributed to or influenced students' environmental literacy scores; 2) How do these variables appear to interact with each other; and 3) What are the relative contributions of knowledge, affect, and skill variables to actual commitment or behavior. The resulting analyses of this study will be shared both through peer-reviewed publications as well as appropriate professional conferences.

Competition: 2010: NOAA Broad Agency Announcement for FY 2010 - 2011
Award Number: NA12SEC0080018
Grant Dates: 05/01/2012 to 04/30/2014
PI: William McBeth Ph.D
State: District of Columbia   County:   District of Columbia District: DC00
Partners: University of Wisconsin (UW–Platteville) ·